University of Mississippi students can earn a Master of Science in Dietary Supplements and Medical Cannabis starting in fall 2024 pending final approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The program would provide advanced training for people who are seeking jobs or looking to advance their current careers in dietary supplements.
“There’s a tremendous need for people who work in dietary supplements, (and) you can’t just go and get an undergraduate degree in it,” UM Director for Online Graduate Programs’ Biomedical Sciences Department David Colby told the Mississippi Free Press. “(This is needed) for the businesses to be successful, which is important for maintaining employment so that people can be successful and move ahead in this industry—so that people who want to launch those businesses in our state can achieve those objectives.”
Dietary supplements are gaining popularity, especially as many states have legalized marijuana for recreational and medical use. Mississippi passed the Medical Cannabis Act in 2022 permitting the use of medical cannabis to treat certain debilitating medical conditions. Since then investors have begun opening growing companies, testing labs and dispensaries.
Colby said UM has also seen an increased interest in pharmacy courses on medical marijuana. A recently added elective course in medical cannabis filled quickly, leaving students on the waitlist.
“When the legislation changed in the state of Mississippi, we saw major needs in the workforce and an opportunity for us as instructors to help people in the state of Mississippi reach their career goals as well as for those companies to be successful,” Colby said. “That’s why we started this plan to build this curriculum at our school.”
‘Bud Tending’ Pays Well
Because cannabis is a new industry in Mississippi, the state has a growing need for workers. Many facilities currently either hire someone from out of state or train them on the job once they obtain a work permit from the Mississippi Department of Health. UM’s new program will educate people who want to pursue roles in research, product development or formulation, and it may attract potential workers interested in regulatory affairs and marketing.
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