Cannabis Colleges Crop Up: New Institutions for 'Higher' Learning

Graduates of Tennant's college won't be leaving their training to set up mass dispensaries. Under Michigan law, state-registered caregivers are only allowed to provide marijuana to a maximum of five patients.

In California, students of cannabis colleges have a few more options, Ibrahim said. Students come from out-of-state to become lobbyists, dispensary managers as well as caregivers.

"They can do whatever they want to do," she said.

Trey Daring, 26, moved to Daly City, Calif., after graduating from Old Dominion University, in Virginia, to work as an advocate for the cannabis movement.

His favorite course is advanced horticulture -- it's the most useful, he said. He'll graduate in mid-December.

Parents 'Not Necessarily Proud' of Cannabis College Certification

Daring's parents are uneasy about his advocacy of the drug because marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law, the government's most restrictive category that also includes LSD, ecstasy and heroin, he said.

"I feel like they're understanding now but not necessarily proud," he said.

His classrooms are not that much different from ones he had in high school and college: dry-erase boards, PowerPoint presentations and knowledgeable instructors.

Perhaps the part that's most different is his classmates.

"There are a lot more people over 30 than probably outsiders would believe," he said.

Med Grow students also run the demographic gamut. Tennant said his pupils include 18-year-old high school graduates, a 60-year-old pastor and former clients of his old auto-detailing business, some of whom find themselves struggling to keep their own businesses afloat.

His instructors stress that their curriculum is for medicinal purposes only, not recreational tips, he said.

"I run a very tight operation here," he said.

The medical marijuana industry could potentially help Michigan's battered economy, provided it is not abused, Tennant said.

Ibrahim of California's Oaksterdam University also sees cannabis as a way to contribute positively to a state's economy. Oaksterdam's Oakland campus recently moved into a 30,000-square-foot building and, she said, the school expects to educate about 1,000 students a month, double the capacity of the previous space.

"It really is flourishing in this economy," she said. "We're evidence of it. We just moved into a larger facility when everything else seems to be downsizing."

ABCNews.com contributor Katie Sanders is part of the University of FloridaABC News on Campus program.

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