Medgar Evers College’s new cannabis education program will benefit students


Joel Bautista | The Ticker

Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant

New York recently declared recreational marijuana legal within its borders, hopefully ushering in a new day and age when communities of color would reap the economic benefits of its legalization. Medgar Evers College is taking the rightful next step by teaching the next generation about the cannabis industry while debunking myths about marijuana as well.

On Aug. 26, Medgar Evers College announced that their campus will offer a “cannabis minor degree program” to students. It will serve as CUNY’s first program to tackle cannabis education.

Students who wish to take part in the program can enroll in “Introduction to the World of Cannabis,” a class that serves as a prerequisite to most of the 13 courses offered in the program.

The introductory course will be taught by Michael Zaytsev, who has experience writing about the marijuana business and is the founder of the networking community, High NY.

“Whether you’re passionate about art, business, climate change, criminal justice reform, healthcare, or even pop culture, cannabis significantly impacts all of the above and more,” Zaytsev said.

Dr. Patricia Ramsey, current president of Medgar Evers and a botanist, expressed excitement in a statement regarding the new program coming to the campus.

“As a botanist, I’m particularly pleased to see that the institution that I’ve been selected to lead is on the cutting edge of providing educational opportunities to learn about the many beneficial uses of plants such as cannabis and to provide the training necessary for our students to be able to compete for burgeoning opportunities in this new industry,” Ramsey said in a press release.

Ramsey echoed the most important reason as to why the minor program should be implanted and supported by stating, “Education is a key step in raising awareness of the non-recreational benefits of plants such as cannabis.”

CUNYs newest program comes as New York continues to lay out the groundwork for the regulated adult-use cannabis economy. It was only a few months ago that former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation into law, making recreational marijuana use legal.

The idea for Medgar Evers College to take charge of cannabis education is an ideal scenario, considering it is located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where the neighborhood is home to a huge African American population. Medgar Evers also serves as a Predominantly Black Institution, or PBI.

Education will remain incredibly important when it comes to the study of cannabis if the plant is going to continue to merge into modern-day medicine and recreational usage.