The Uncommon Core: Oaksterdam University & The Academics Of Cannabis

Mar 5, 2015

Credit Sara Plourde / NHPR

When Executive Chancellor Jones mentioned she'd be "all ears" if someone were to work on a fight song for Oaksterdam, we saw that as an opportunity. 

Watch the Dartmouth Glee Club sing the fight song producer Taylor Quimby came up with for Oaksterdam, with a whole lot of music-writing help from the group's director, Louis Burkot.

One of my biggest opponents in the field of cannabis policy reform has told me that we’re not a real school until we have a fight song and a football team, so anyone out there who wants to work on that for me, I’m all ears.

"With respect to the business classes, we’re not trying to recreate the wheel. You still need to get an MBA if that’s the type of education you’re trying to achieve. What we’re here to do is teach you how to apply a business skill set to the cannabis industry. 

You have social risk, political risk, but the hardest part is the legal risk. You’re up against the wall with not being able to actually deduct normal business costs and practices – overhead, things like rent and employees, that any normal business should be able to deduct, and so it’s up to you to understand how to navigate both the federal ridiculousness that’s currently going on with this federal versus state law issue, but also how to navigate your local community." 

"We at our school have a rule that the employees themselves actually voted on to say that they don’t want to allow people to work while they’re on edibles or right after they’ve dabbed, because it tends to kind of zonk you a little bit. However many of our employees happen to be patients, and so we don’t have a zero tolerance policy on cannabis but we do have a responsible use policy at the school."

"The first two classes are Politics and History, so you can understand how you got here, how we got here. And then your second class, Legal: Federal vs. State Law, followed up quickly by Civics – you very quickly understand that this is not for the faint-hearted. In fact this is for the very brave. We have had students over the years walk out after the first two hours because they’ve realized it’s not for them. But I’ve also found that the folks who come in just wanting to make money very quickly grow a heart. Because they realize who it is they’re helping, and it’s very hard to ignore that when it’s staring you in the face." 

"We’ve had several conversations with different colleges over the years and quietly worked together on several different projects. Eventually, they will take on this curriculum, and I see Oaksterdam being positioned to supply the curriculum to these colleges rather than them write it from scratch. And so I completely expect as we move forward, to form alliances, work on curriculum together, and likely compete with one another in the future.

One of my biggest opponents in the field of cannabis policy reform has told me that we’re not a real school until we have a fight song and a football team, so anyone out there who wants to work on that for me, I’m all ears."