GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan native is looking to tap into the cannabis growing industry in Michigan.

Sparta native Noah Yates is enrolled in Lake Superior State University’s cannabis chemistry program, which was established in 2019.

“When I see a billboard for a new dispensary going up, it gives me quite a bit of job security,” Yates said.

The 2018 Sparta High School graduate has always loved science. He initially enrolled at Grand Valley State University where he planned on majoring in biomedical engineering.

Yates changed course when he learned about LSSU’s program.

“First heard about it on NPR,” Yates said.

He transferred out of GVSU and then took classes at Grand Rapids Community College before enrolling at the university in Sault Ste. Marie in the fall of 2020.

“Get into more instrumental and quantitative analytics. Very helpful understanding the basic processes here,” Yates said of the instruction he receives in LSSU’s program. “Additionally helpful is cannabis-related courses. You’ll take general chemistry and apply it to the general chemistry of the cannabis plant. In addition, the degree requirements also have cannabis separation courses and sample preparation courses.”

Noah’s desire to learn about the industry led him to an internship at Cannalicious Labs, a marijuana processing facility in Pinconning.

“Noah was one of those really hands-on individuals, asking a lot of questions,” said Devin DeFord, the executive vice president at Cannalicious Labs. “I could see he was staring at me to understand the science.”

Yates says the internship is a great way to apply what he’s learning in school and pick up new ideas.

“Conversing with people, figuring out what they know and think, but also giving my two cents on subject and learning how my train of thought grows and evolves during this process,” Yates said.

The Sparta native plans on graduating in the Spring of 2022. After he graduates, Yates would like to work in the marijuana industry, focusing on the aspect of quality assurance.