The Business of Cannabis: Opportunities and Risks in an Emerging Market

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Winter 2018 quarter

Taught by


This program will provide students with an overview of the emerging and evolving cannabis marketplace and what one can expect to find there. Students will consider historical perspectives on cannabis culture, production, consumption, and regulation as well as a look at the history of legal and legislative treatment of other drugs and intoxicants. This program will also explore regulatory and approval processes in the emerging cannabis industry. Given the changing legal environment for cannabis, students will evaluate the legal and ethical issues pertaining to cannabis, including considerations of gender and racial equity. As part of their studies, students are likely to have opportunities to visit and hear about cannabis-related businesses via field trips and various invited guest speakers.

We will examine economic and tax impacts, as well as financing and operating challenges for medical and recreational based cannabis businesses. Through seminar texts, writing assignments, in-class group projects, independent research, and student presentations, students will be exposed to contemporary social, health, and policy issues that are relevant to cannabis in Washington and beyond. Students leaving this program should be better equipped with entrepreneurial skills in the conduct of business and public policy. They should also be better prepared to identify and appreciate various stakeholder perspectives, as well as navigate the regulatory requirements of business and government.

Students will work independently and in small groups, collaboratively focusing on improving critical reading, thinking, and analytical skills. Throughout the quarter, they will present their work in both written and verbal forms. For a capstone project, students will undertake extensive, independent projects focusing on an aspect of cannabis, concluding with a presentation of their findings to the rest of the program. Credit will likely be awarded in business regulation, entrepreneurship, and the social history of cannabis. Although a major goal of this class is to develop practical business skills, it is NOT a how-to guide for establishing a cannabis-based business, but the study of an emerging marketplace.

Program Details

Fields of Study

business and management law and government policy

Preparatory For

business and management and law and government policy.


Winter Open

Location and Schedule

Final Schedule and Room Assignment

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

Saturday and Sunday 9am-5pm

Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online


2017-10-05New Winter Quarter Offering Added