Horticulture: Cannabis Biology and Cultivation Track

Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.)

A young woman tending to her plants in the Finger Lakes Community College greenhouse pauses to smile at the camera.

Federal and state legislation position the cannabis industry for years of rapid growth. Take part in shaping the future of this emerging and dynamic industry. Whether you're interested in learning best practices in the cultivation or industrial use of cannabis or want to work in a dispensary, this track provides the knowledge and skills necessary for professional success.

A.A.S. Program Overview

This track builds on our Horticulture program's foundation of cultivation and management skills to include the study of the cannabis plant. There is a growing market for consumer, medical, and industrial applications of cannabis. Gain historical and legal knowledge of this culturally and chemically complex plant while developing practical career skills.

Specialize in Cannabis Cultivation

Acquire valuable industry knowledge through a series of three cannabis-specific courses that cover cultivation, industrial applications, and regulations. Learn about the state and federal laws related to cannabis production, develop effective management skills, and discover the medicinal properties of the plant. Upon graduation, you'll be prepared to work in this specialized horticulture field — or elsewhere in the horticulture industry.

Learn From Industry Professionals

Meet horticulturists working in a variety of industries through our guest lectures series and class field trips. You'll learn from experts who work at Cornell Cooperative Extension, the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, and the Department of Environmental Conservation, among others.

You'll also visit regional gardens, greenhouses, and nurseries to see professional horticultural work in action, including:

  • Cornell AgriTech — a research center that delivers practical solutions to help farmers and agriculture businesses thrive.
  • Coldwater Pond Nursery — a family run nursery focused on the propagation and growing of woody ornamental plants.
  • Highland Botanical Park — a world-class arboretum featuring over 500 varieties of lilacs, woody plants, and tree species.

Gain Real-World Experience in Plant Management

Complete over 50 hours of professional horticultural experience in plant propagation, cultivation, and greenhouse management — including working with cannabis to learn its unique growing and harvesting techniques.

Previous graduates have completed their professional work experience at historical gardens, alumni-owned landscaping businesses, and our on-campus greenhouse.

Join Our Cannabis Studies Professionals Club

Learn more about the emerging cannabis industry and how it can make a positive impact on the community by join our Cannabis Studies Professionals Club. The club connects its members to a network of industry professionals who can help you develop licensed cannabis businesses in the region and prepare for a career in the field.

A.A.S. Program Outcomes

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the A.A.S. Horticulture: Cannabis Track program, students will be able to:

  • Analyze the impacts that horticultural practices have on the environment.
  • Identify (landscape) plants while integrating site analysis.
  • Develop and apply professional techniques (e.g. soils, pruning, planting, maintenance, IPM, technical writing).
  • In a field setting, associate plant structure and function with plant health.
  • Describe regulations, cultivation, and biology of cannabis.

Career Pathways

This program will prepare you to become a professional horticulturist with an emphasis on the cannabis industry, which can lead to careers in agriculture, plant management, and business ownership. Some career paths include:

  • Budtender
  • Cannabis Cultivation
  • Dispensary Manager
  • Extractor
  • Plant Scientist
  • Testing Lab Technician

Seamless Transfer Opportunities

Pursue a four-year degree in horticulture, cannabis studies, or environmental science by transferring after graduation. Our articulation agreement with SUNY Cobleskill ensures that you can enter their Plant Science and Horticulture program in full junior standing.

In addition to Cobleskill, our graduates have successfully transferred to a variety of four-year institutions, including:

  • Cornell University
  • Penn State
  • Rutgers University
  • SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • SUNY Brockport
  • SUNY Geneseo
  • SUNY Morrisville
  • University of Michigan

Low-Cost Tuition and Scholarship Opportunities

Earn a quality education at an affordable rate. With our low cost-per-credit and general scholarship opportunities, you can maximize your potential with minimal debt. 80% of students are awarded scholarships or financial aid that help with the cost of college.

As a Horticulture student, you may also apply for specific program scholarships, including:

  • Alice C. Southgate Home Bureau Scholarship
  • Cassella Scholarship
  • FLCC Horticulture Faculty Award
  • Melissa Young (Hawk Child Wandering) Scholarship
  • Ontario County Master Gardeners Scholarship
  • Robert L. (Rodge) Case Award
  • S & S Memorial Scholarship

For information on these scholarships, contact the FLCC Foundation.


Our Horticulture faculty bring real-world experience to the classroom. Program instructors are experts in forestry, plant science, conservation, and landscaping. Prior to teaching at FLCC, they have worked in research labs, public gardens, nurseries, and seed sales. Learn more about the Horticulture faculty.

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