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'Higher' Education: Medical Marijuana Tampa Teaches Business of Cannabis

You may expect a lecture at cannabis college to sound like a scene from the stoner movie Half Baked.

Instead, it sounds like a lot of talk about light bulb wattage and ducting systems.

Major buzz kill.

Medical Marijuana Tampa is an unaccredited school that teaches the history, growing techniques and business of cannabis. The main "campus" is a sterile-looking office suite in Temple Terrace.

But the one class offered, Education in Cultivation, is not a bunch of hippies sitting around, passing a joint. There's a syllabus and homework and a final exam. In fact, the school's founder is as straight-laced as they come. Jeremy Buffard, 33, is a bookish is former IT consultant who says he doesn't even smoke marijuana.

"There’s no marijuana" in class, Buffard said. "Let me just make that clear. We are growing peppers and tomatoes and all kinds of other fun things."

Opponents of Florida's medical marijuana amendment, including Attorney General Pam Bondi, say the proposed amendment is too lenient. 

But whether or not Florida voters legalize medical marijuana, the graduates of Tampa's cannabis college can be sure they’ve receive a “higher” education.

Vinode Seudath learned about Medical Marijuana Tampa from his parents, who saw a TV news story about the school.
Dalia Colón / WUSF
/
The Florida Channel
Vinode Seudath learned about Medical Marijuana Tampa from his parents, who saw a TV news story about the school.

Medical Marijuana Tampa's founder, Jeremy Buffard, left, and Largo branch professor, Jake Howard, show off some school supplies.
Dalia Colón / WUSF
/
The Florida Channel
Medical Marijuana Tampa's founder, Jeremy Buffard, left, and Largo branch professor, Jake Howard, show off some school supplies.

Small rooms display vegetable plants in various stages of growth.
Dalia Colón / WUSF
/
The Florida Channel
Small rooms display vegetable plants in various stages of growth.

Medical Marijuana Tampa teaches hydroponic techniques without actually using illegal cannabis plants.
Dalia Colón / WUSF
/
The Florida Channel
Medical Marijuana Tampa teaches hydroponic techniques without actually using illegal cannabis plants.

Copyright 2014 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

Dalia Colón is excited to return to WUSF as producer of the Zest podcast. From 2010 to 2014, Dalia covered health and features for WUSF. Before that, she was a staff reporter for the Tampa Bay Times and Cleveland Magazine.