(CNN) - Students at Lake Superior State University have had the unique opportunity to pursue a degree in cannabis chemistry since 2019. Now, they can also get cash to do it.
The university in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, is offering its first cannabis chemistry scholarship.
Steadfast Labs, a cannabis testing facility in Hazel Park, Michigan, is funding an annual $1,200 scholarship for students pursuing a degree in cannabis chemistry at LSSU.
"We're committed to encouraging and supporting the best scientific talent," Avram Zallen, founder and CEO of Steadfast Labs told CNN. "We believe that education is the key to raising the level of safety and integrity in the industry -- education of the consumer and education within the industry."
"The scholarship reinforces key components of our vision statement: being vanguard-focused and driving social mobility," LSSU President Dr. Rodney S. Hanley said.
Applicants must be at least sophomores and have a GPA of at least 3.0. Preference will be given to students living in the Detroit area, which is where the company's service areas are located.
This isn't the school's first time serving as a trailblazer in the cannabis industry. In 2019, it opened the first cannabis chemistry program in the nation, according to the university's news release.
Enrollment in the program has been "growing exponentially," College of Science and the Environment Dean Steve Johnson told CNN.
In February 2020, LSSU opened its cannabis chemistry facility. Students use real cannabis buds as opposed to plant surrogates. LSSU says it remains "fully compliant with all legal requirements for the limited use of regulated materials in an educational setting." Recreational and medical marijuana use is legal in Michigan.
While LSSU says it created the first program in the US "focused squarely on cannabis chemistry," universities across the country have been starting to offer classes on marijuana in recent years.
LSSU claims the cannabis industry is projected to create more than 500,000 jobs by 2022. The school's website says students that graduate with a cannabis degree will be equipped for jobs in "emerging cannabis markets of law enforcement laboratory scientist, public health and safety, regulatory management, and business applications." Positions students would be qualified for include clinical chemist, food safety & quality assurance chemist, and formulation/process development scientist.
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