Tacoma Community College to offer ‘comprehensive’ courses in cannabis

TACOMA, Wash. -- Marijuana is big business in Washington state, and now that business is extending into the classroom.

Two courses at Tacoma Community College this winter will focus on the cannabis industry, as well as the history of marijuana and its health benefits.

“These two classes are going to be a comprehensive overview of the cannabis industry and the most up-to-date information in medical cannabis,” instructor Lukas Barfield said.

Cannabis Industry and Trends will be offered at the college’s main campus in Tacoma. Health Benefits of Cannabis will take place at the Gig Harbor campus.

Barfield has been a teacher for years. He turned to medical marijuana in 2013 to help with vision impairment, he said. Since 2014, he’s been researching cannabis and writing about the subject. He also hosts a radio show in Tacoma about marijuana.

The Tacoma classes will include instruction on safe storage, packaging, the study of the plant itself and where to find jobs in the industry, he said.

“I want to spark a discussion in our community about cannabis,” Barfield said. “This is something that is in our community. It has been in our country and the northern hemisphere for hundreds of years and since it’s been federally illegal … the information about cannabis has really been pushed underground.”

Recreational marijuana has been legal in Washington for more than six years.

In 2017, the state treasurer reported collecting $319 million in legal marijuana income. That number grew by $130 million from the prior year.