Groups offer $1M in cannabis scholarships to Virginia students

At one point in time getting an education in cannabis also known as marijuana was unheard of.
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 5:45 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2022 at 6:48 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - At one point, getting an education in cannabis, also known as marijuana, was unheard of.

“I think this is a period of change. I think this is a period of growth,” Dr. Bobby Vincent III said.

Dr. Vincent is a cannabis pharmacist treating patients at Beyond Hello Cannabis Dispensary in northern Virginia. He’s among the first country to receive a master’s degree in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics.

It’s a groundbreaking degree he hopes more students who look like him will have access to.

“Once I graduated, I actually looked more into this medical program, but also as I get into these rooms, I saw that even though it is emerging, I’m still the only African-American in this room right now,” Vincent said.

The Virginia Cannabis Association and non-profit group Educapital Foundation are working to change that through scholarship.

“A lot of people have 20,30, 40 years of being incarcerated right now for a plant that a lot of people are making money off of,” Juan Silva said. He’s the director of community outreach with Educapital.

Eligible students can receive a one-time $1,000 scholarship through the program.

Silva says low-income students who are disproportionately impacted by marijuana can benefit while boosting their local economy.

“We have cannabis culinary, the business of cannabis, pharmacy tech, and then certified grower which extends into the master’s program also,” Silva said.

The course is now being offered online through the Mitchell School of Business and Greenleaf University, but there are plans to work with Virginia Tech and other Virginia schools in the future. Upon graduation, students will be selected to receive up to $50,000 for their startup business.

It’s a unique opportunity Dr. Vincent wishes he had.

“Ultimately, it’s also a period where we can see some economic opportunities for our state. So I’m excited to see what this looks like for Virginia in the next two to three years,” Dr. Vincent said.

There is still time to apply for the scholarship.