Interdisciplinary Minor in Cannabis & Culture

Interdisciplinary Minor in Cannabis & Culture

"Cannabis helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world." ~ Carl Sagan, Ph.D., American astronomer and astrophysicist

The interdisciplinary minor in Cannabis & Culture offers students a foundation for understanding the socio-cultural, historical, and politics of cannabis use in the United States and around the globe. As a result of the swift growth in medical and recreational cannabis in Illinois, Western Illinois University students may find the cannabis industry an attractive one to enter after graduation. The minor will expose students to some of the types of employment they might pursue. The minor in Cannabis & Culture, as an interdisciplinary minor, will provide WIU students with the recognition of complex historical, cultural, and social/political/economic contexts.

This minor will offer all students an inclusive experience, drawing on a variety of backgrounds and modes of understanding, in addition to emphasizing how societal structures have affected drug legislation, business ownerships, and the current and future challenges anyone entering this industry is likely to face.

Distinctive Features

Only University in Illinois to offer program – The minor in Cannabis & Culture is a distinctive one in the state of Illinois, as no other public or private
institution in the state offers a minor of this type that addresses issues specifically related to the cultural use of cannabis and the culture of the cannabis industry.

  • Courses are available in the classroom, online, or in a combination of both formats.
  • As an interdisciplinary minor the Cannabis & Culture minor exposes students to a diverse group of faculty members in the humanities and socia sciences and the theoretical and methodological approaches that their disciplines use to approach the study of cannabis.
  • Student Organizations – Western Anthropology & Sociology Club (WASC) and LAS Student Organization (LASSO) are comprised of undergraduate and graduate students and faculty advisers. The groups sponsor speakers and events relating to diversity issues, culture, sustainability and environmental awareness and the social side of education, medicine, politics and many other subjects.
  • Special Opportunities – our faculty have established connections with those involved and invested in the cannabis industry in Illinois.

Possible Career Fields

  • Cannabis Industry jobs:
    • food & beverage industry
    • dispensary employee
    • grow facility employees
  • Advocacy & social justice
  • Law Enforcement & justice
  • Politics and public policy
  • Social work

Program of Study

Interdisciplinary Minor in Cannabis & Culture requirements: Total of 18 SH

I. Core Courses: 9 SH

  • ANTH 180 – Cannabis Culture: Anthropological Study of Cannabis (3 SH)
  • REL 180 – Religion & Drugs (3 SH)
  • LAS 420 – Senior Seminar in Cannabis & Culture (3 SH)

II. Directed Electives: 9 SH with at least 3 SH at the 300- or 400-level. Beyond 9 SH count as open electives. No more than two courses in one department.

  • PHIL 120 – Contemporary Moral Problems (3 SH)
  • ANTH 205 – From Magic Mushrooms to Big Pharma (3 SH)
  • ANTH 210 – Medical Anthropology (3 SH)
  • ANTH/REL 324 – Religion, Magic & Shamanism (3 SH)
  • HIST 385 – History of Drugs (3 SH)
  • POLS 302 – Introduction to Public Policy (3 SH)
  • POLS 400 – Comparative Public Policy (3 SH)
  • ANTH/BOT 463 – Ethnobotony (4 SH)

History of the Minor

Contact Information

For program specific questions, please contact:

Dr. Sarah Haynes
Department of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Morgan Hall 232b
Western Illinois University
Phone: (309) 298-2214


Dr. Heather McIlavine-Newsad
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Morgan Hall 408
Western Illinois University
Phone: (309) 298-1264