POMONA, N.J. – From the start, the organizers of a cannabis studies minor at Stockton University said the program was about the biz, not the buzz.

Starting in 2019, a cannabis business group will help support the program. The New Jersey CannaBusiness Association (NJCBA) recently announced a collaboration with the southern New Jersey university, which will include training, research opportunities, and education. There are also plans for guest lecturers and internship opportunities starting with the spring 2019 semester.

University officials say several similar partnerships are in the works.

“NJBCA is one of several partnerships we expect to announce soon,” said Stockton University spokesperson Diane D’Amico.

This is the first semester for the cannabis minor at Stockton. The university has discussed the program for some time, according to faculty coordinator Ekaterina Sedia, an associate professor of biology. The minor launched in September 2018.

Planned classes include an introduction to medical marijuana and cannabis law, and internship preparation, which includes cannabis research and basic small-business operations. Students can intern in areas such as cultivation, energy efficiency, business and retail operations, communications, social media, and patient research. The program also offers an elective, which can include hydroponics, courses in the holistic health minor, and botany, according to Sedia.

Under Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, New Jersey has seen considerable expansion in medical marijuana in terms of its availability, the illnesses it is approved to treat, and the number of patients using it. With a bill under consideration to legalize adult use statewide, the cannabis industry could see an even bigger boost, potentially launching a new billion-dollar industry in the state.

“New Jersey is on the cusp of legalization, and as we get closer to that day, it is important that we prepare young people on how to be successful and involved in this rapidly evolving industry,” Scott Rudder, president the NJCBA, said in a statement.

“Stockton University should be praised for its forward thinking and preparedness. We are excited to be collaborating with Stockton and we look forward to bringing industry subject matter experts to the classroom. I hope other colleges and universities will learn from this example.”