The Daniels College of Business will be offering the first-ever Business of Marijuana course at DU and in Colorado beginning this Spring Quarter on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m. This course will be offered through the management department and is available to both graduate and undergraduate students. Professor Paul Seaborn who has been with the of the management department since 2011, will be the instructor.

In 2014, Seaborn wrote about advertising issues in Denver, including whether or not medical marijuana businesses could advertise on billboards or have sign spinners on street corners. His focus now is directed more towards collecting data, political activities and consolidations within the marijuana industry.

The course will serve as a management elective credit for undergraduate students and a general business elective credit for graduate students.

“We’re really going to try and provide a broad overview on how this industry effects all of the different disciplines of business,” Seaborn said. “From management, to finance, to accounting, marketing and ethics obviously. We want to make our students a little more aware of what they can learn directly from the industry, but also how these issues can affect all kinds of other firms, as well.”

Furthermore, the course aims to expand students’ insight on the depth of the industry.

“I think part of the learning for our students will be for our students to understand all of the different types companies that participate in the industry,” Seaborn said. “The dispensaries are the most obvious. Behind the scenes we’ve got companies manufacturing products of various types, you’ve got companies that are growing and cultivating the products and providing them into the retail side. Then, there are all kinds of support businesses around whether its security, advertising and marketing, legal services or financial services.”    

With the industry still up-and-coming, analyzing similar fields is an essential component of the course, along with learning to convey the challenges and successes that differ and are shared.

“I’ve had a lot of interest and support from people who are working in the industry. There’s a lot of really interesting writing and analysis being done in the media and also by academics,” Seaborn said. “We will really be tapping into all of those sources to try to get a clear picture of what’s similar and what’s different in this industry compared to other industries. Whether it’s alcohol or tobacco, even automotive or biotech. Lots of comparing and contrasting to see what makes it unique and what are the common issues these industries have experienced in these early stages.”

DU already offers a Cannabis Journalism course, and there is a course at the Sturm College of Law, so integrating Daniels into the mix further enhances the university’s expansion of marijuana studies. 

“DU continues to dip their toes into the water,” Cannabis Journalism Professor Andrew Matranga said. “We have law, journalism and now business. We are establishing ourselves here at DU as an industry leader.”

The Business of Marijuana course currently has 17 students enrolled. Depending on how the first class goes, multiple sections may be added for future quarters and will potentially be separated by graduate and undergraduate.