Posted on

Temple University plans on offering a marijuana communications course to students this spring that will center around marijuana policy and its history.

The course is designed to extend a deeper analysis of marijuana policy and the history of its prohibition for communications students. The class will also focus on the difference between cannabis and hemp, the history of its cultivation, the effect it has on a human body, its medical uses, and its integration into pop culture. The marijuana communications course is expected to include and feature aspiring journalists, public relations specialists or advertising executives — who will “theoretically” encounter the issue in their work.

“But it’s not a how-to course,” Professor Linn Washington mentioned.

Washington is partnering with Chris Goldstein, Philly420 columnist and marijuana activist, to teach the Marijuana in the News class in the spring 2017 semester.
“It’s complex: What the plant is, the details of the patchwork of state and local laws, and then how it intersects with public policy, medicine, criminal justice, pop-culture,” Goldstein said. “If you’re going to work in communications, quite frankly, you’re going to encounter marijuana in the course of your work at some point.”

Washington, who started writing about the subject as a news reporter in the 1970s, has been a dedicated follower of Goldstein’s involvement in marijuana legalization efforts for many years.

“We started having conversations and this class grew out of those conversations,” Washington said.

There are various other universities across the country also planning to provide courses that focus on marijuana policy as part of a journalism curriculum, including the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Denver.

Temple’s marijuana communications course, which fortunately will be available to both undergraduate and graduate students at the university’s Center City campus, is entirely based on enrollment. If minimum registration requirements aren’t met, the class would be canceled.

The class will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays on Temple’s Center City campus. Goldstein says he and Washington are hoping for at least 50 students to enroll, but he expects interest will be high.

“Not only will the students get a good sense of the subject,” Goldstein says, “but there are some skills within it I hope to bring about, like data research and criminal justice investigation.”

“But we’re looking forward to a high enrollment,” Washington deadpanned.

(Photos Courtesy of The Inquisitr)