Article by Devon Scoble, Leafly
Majoring in weed” used to be shorthand for slacking off, but thanks to legalization, Canadian postsecondary and continuing education students can study cannabis within a variety of disciplines, from sociology to agriculture, chemistry, business, and beyond.
It’s serious stuff, but if you’re lucky enough to study with one of these six instructors, you can rest assured that it’s also still incredibly cool.
Assistant Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary
Specialities: Sociology, public health, harm reduction, and drug policy
Before becoming an academic, Dr. Rebecca Haines-Saah was better known for her role as Kathleen Mead on Degrassi, the series that laid the groundwork for the re-booted Degrassi: The Next Generation—you know, the one that launched Drake’s career. Some would even say that without Haines-Saah and her cohort, there would be no Drake.
Not that you’ll hear Haines-Saah arguing that, she’s far too busy researching the culture and context of youth cannabis use, reminding academics how class privilege colours their worldview, and creating tools for honest cannabis conversations with young people. If you’re lucky, you might catch her demonstrating her encyclopedic knowledge of 90s hip-hop lyrics, too.
Students interested in studying with Dr. Haines-Saah can reach out through her University of Calgary faculty page, or for a faster response, through Twitter.
Haines-Saah also encourages up and coming cannabis researchers to join her at the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids annual conference in Banff next March. “If you are new to cannabis research, this is a great chance to get immersed in the field,” she says, noting that the sessions will also include a trainee spotlight.
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Toronto
Specialties: Cannabis legalization; race, crime, and criminal justice
Do you want to explore the racist and classist history underpinning drug enforcement? Do you want to learn from a professor students call“amazing” and “engaging” and who is also a Broadbent Policy Fellow and Massey College Senior Fellow?
Then you should sign up for a course with Dr. Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, who credits his parents for fostering the sense of social justice that inspires his academic work.
“I think it’s great to see the excitement and opportunity that surrounds the huge cultural shift that is cannabis legalization,” he says. “I hope the chance to benefit from legalization is shared across our society.”
Dr. Owusu-Bempah welcomes supervision requests from graduate and post-doctoral students—find everything you need here. Not a U of T student? That’s alright. Follow Owusu-Bempah on Twitter to learn about upcoming public lectures and read his commentary in news stories, to which he contributes frequently. Or, check out his TED Talk here.