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Students at MSU Denver learn to cook with cannabis

The course is preparing students for a career in a budding industry.

DENVER — Cooking at altitude is a learning experience in itself, but a class at MSU Denver's School of Hospitality mixes in a special ingredient: Cannabis.

"We start with federally compliant CBD isolate which has no THC in it whatsoever," Adjunct professor Shannon Donnelly explained.

Donnelly teaches the course, Cooking with Cannabis, and she's also the cannabis process navigator for the City and County of Denver.

"Most of the feedback when I tell people I'm cooking with cannabis is 'no, that's not actually happening,'" Donnelly said. "'That's not a real class for a college,' and it's like yes, it is, and your students can take it."

Donnelly's course begins with all the basics of CBD infusion. Students learn how to make vegetable oil with CBD before exploring all sorts of recipes.

“Last week, we made barbeque shrimp and cornbread puree with a chef who works around town," Donnelly said.

During a recent class, students baked CBD cookies.

"I'm trying to accurately measure baking soda," Liad Sherer laughed, leveling off a tablespoon of powder. "It's a little bit trickier than it looks."

Sherer is a cybersecurity major at MSU Denver, but he was looking for an interesting elective course.

“I’m trying to just improve both as a cook as well as someone who enjoys cannabis and wants to know how to use it," Sherer said. “I’d love to do this as a hobby, and I’d love to do this maybe as a part-time job.”

Donnelly said the class can prepare students for a career in the cannabis industry, whether that's making dinners as a private chef, crafting edibles in a manufacturing plant or helping customers as a budtender.

"That's kind of this fun thing that I get to kind of help the students figure out," she said.

Donnelly suggested teaching students how to cook with cannabis could be the recipe for removing stigma and adding diversity to the industry.

Students in a kitchen classroom at MSU Denver are getting a taste of a budding industry.

"Classes like this allow me and our students to realize there’s a pathway for them in this industry, which is what we need," she said.

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