/ Modified dec 16, 2010 12:38 p.m.

Majoring in Marijuana

Trade school in California offers an education in marijuana--and enrollment is growing

Students attend trade schools or universities to learn a variety of topics, such as science, computers or carpentry.

But in recent years, thousands have been focusing on marijuana. They are taking topics like marijuana horticulture, retail operations and production management at Oaksterdam University in California.

The school was founded by a man who visited a cannabis college in Amsterdam, Holland and wanted to open something similar in Oakland, thus the name for the school.

It was founded in 2007 and has since proved very successful: it's presently in its third facility because it has outgrown the previous two. This 30,000-square-foot building used to be a charter school and provides multiple classrooms, two auditoriums, a theater and a growing lab for the plants.

Dale Jones is Oaksterdam's spokesperson and she says present students and recent graduates have ranged in age from 18 to 86. They've come from every state in the union and multiple countries. Since Arizona voters narrowly approved Proposition 203, the Medical Marijuana Act, enrollment in neighboring California is expected to increase.

In fact, Oaksterdam has three campuses in California and one in Michigan, but administrators are planning to expand and Arizona may provide a prime location.

"We’ve been contacted by several excited individuals in Arizona to try to branch out also before this election, to try to educate people on how to work with their local government and how to get the law passed," says Jones. "It's important for many states to look at that and I think Arizona is definitely at the top of the list as a great contender for the first half of 2011."

The Arizona Department of Health Services is in charge of implementing the new law in Arizona and various meetings are being scheduled so officials can move forward with plans for dispensaries and other post-Prop 203 details.

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