If your dream job is getting paid to smoke weed and write about it, now you can get formal training.
Hip to the rapidly developing sector of cannabis journalism, the University of Denver is now offering a course that teaches students how to write about weed. While cannabis journalism does sometimes entail reviewing the bud itself, the course offers a full range of legal, historical, and practical context for students looking to write about all aspects of weed. In fact, the main text used in the course is Bruce Barcott’s Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America, published in 2015. Meanwhile, students must also follow The Cannabist, the Denver Post‘s cannabis blog, to stay in the loop about local cannabis policy and culture.
Taught by Andrew Matranga, assistant professor in the university’s media, film, and journalism studies department, the course is the first in the country to teach students specifically about weed writing. In addition to learning the context, students also gain practical exposure to the industry. They’re required to develop their own multimedia projects, collect data, and go out in the field reporting on Colorado’s medical and adult use markets.
And while smoking and reviewing weed is definitely part of the job description for some cannabis journalists, students don’t have to be cannabis consumers to excel at the course. The curriculum shows that cannabis journalism isn’t just about differentiating one strain of bud from another. It’s about everything cannabis touches, and that’s a lot: politics, policy, medicine, wellness, science, industry, economics, culture, lifestyle, and so on.
As Barcott wrote in his book, “The magnitude of the change in America’s relationship to marijuana can’t be measured in only economic or social terms: There are deeper shifts going on here — cultural realignments, social adjustments, and financial adjustments. The place of marijuana in our lives is being rethought, reconsidered, and recalibrated.”