In an effort to provide a pathway for minorities who want to establish themselves in New Jersey’s emerging legalized cannabis industry, Rutgers Law School is teaming up with the Minority Cannabis Academy (MCA) to offer its cannabis and business certificate program at no cost to students.
In a Dec. 7 press release announcing the collaboration, the law school’s co-dean, Rose Cuison-Villazor, said they are “incredible excited” to follow up MCA’s professional and technical training by providing students with a legal education program.
Founded earlier this year by two New Jersey entrepreneurs, Brendon Robinson and Stanley Okoro, MCA is a workforce development program focused on equipping disenfranchised communities with the career skills related to the business and science of cannabis.
During the eight-week program, participants get a hands-on experience of what it’s like to work in the cannabis industry and gain skills to prepare them for a wide range of positions, including as chief executive officers, store managers and cultivation directors.
Following the inaugural cohort this summer, 92% of students graduated, according to the MCA.
At Rutgers, over the next six months those students will receive a foundation in the rules and regulations of New Jersey’s cannabis industry — ensuring that people entering the market or stepping up to managerial roles have the information they need to run legally compliant businesses.
Rutgers Law Co-Dean Kimberly Mutcherson said, “This partnership highlights the law school’s commitment to social justice and expanding access to legal educational programs to broader communities.”
Robinson described working with Rutgers as “an industry defining moment, in an industry that hasn’t been defined.”
“Providing disenfranchised communities with upper-echelon education, tools and resources is something that we’ve built our foundation on, and partnering with Rutgers Law School will enable us to continue to build on that foundation,” Robinson stated.
Okoro said the collaboration “will not only broaden the scope of education that our students have access to, but most importantly the opportunities.”
“Through this certification program at Rutgers Law, Minority Cannabis Academy students will be learning cannabis law and business from one of the most reputable law schools in the state. With this partnership we continue to ensure that our community not only has access to enter, but the resources needed to thrive in the evolving industry,” Okoro added.
According to Rutgers, the new partnership “greatly extends the financial support” the school is providing via scholarships from law firm sponsors Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, CSG Group, Greenbaum Rowe Smith & Davis LLP and Green Check Verified, while backing for the MCA comes from Genova Burns and Financial Resources Federal Credit Union.l