LOWER MANHATTAN (PIX11) — The arc of marijuana’s journey in the United States has been extensive and controversial.

“It’s part of the American culture. A lot of people smoke weed. Cannabis was the reason blacks keep getting locked up,” said marijuana smoker Henry Cai.

It’s a journey that began a half-century ago with disproportionate criminalization but now bends toward acceptance.

“i do see people that could be businessmen, people that were hustlers on the street, because they didn’t have another alternative. I think we’ve come a long way, said marijuana smoker Shear Jasub Ammi.

Cannabis is a teachable subject, if you can believe it – in a college classroom.

BMCC, the Borough of Manhattan Community College, recently introduced two new tracks of cannabis industry education.

“i think it’s more of like a social thing. I don’t think of it like anything bad,” said BMCC freshman Tyler Schneiderman.

The first curriculum consists of paid, online, non-credit courses focused on cultivation, dispensary retail training, and product development.

Green Flower CEO Max Simon said they’re available – right now.

“These are 100-percent online, ten-week programs designed to help people find their place in this new emerging cannabis industry within one of these three sectors,” said Simon.

BMCC’s second cannabis course load – which kicks off later this month, will be free to accepted applicants – and geared toward on-the-job, continuing education and training – for adults.

BMCC Cannibas workforce development director Floyd Jarvis said providing upscaled training for adults with their general security license – is just the beginning.

“we’re beginning with our first-course offering, Oct. 17, cannabis security solutions training. At the top of the year – January 2024, we’re going to start with cannabis retail dispensary associate, as well as cannabis manufacturing technician training,” said Jarvis.

Jarvis says BMCC is already working on a bigger plan to build out the existing, state-funded cannabis adult education course offerings and fully transition them, with the potential of one day offering a minor or even a full associate’s degree tied to the cannabis industry.