Ahead of Canada’s upcoming legalization for recreational cannabis usage and sales, the country’s universities have expanded their offerings for those who want to learn more about the growing industry.
The demand for such education is growing, as many students want to educate themselves on what could be their future career. One British Columbia school, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, has had to increase the number and frequency of their cannabis-related courses. Another technical college, Niagara College, is developing marijuana production certification while Brunswick Community College already offers students the chance to learn cultivation.
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These schools aren’t just meeting the demand from students, they’re also meeting the new demands of the marketplace.
Debbie Johnston, dean of the school of continuing education at Durham College in Oshawa, tells CBC News:
Marijuana companies are looking for professionals, like accountants or business managers, who have industry-specific knowledge, from the terminology and history of the industry to the regulatory framework and basics of cannabis plants. What employers want is to know that people are coming in with a basic understanding.
A Canadian recruiter for cannabis companies noted that many people currently looking to enter the industry simply don’t have cannabis education on their resumes, but they expect that to change as the industry and educators evolve through the ongoing transition.
Another important reason for cannabis education? To help fight stigma about what will be a legal drug, moving beyond stereotypes of old. While Canadians as a whole might welcome recreational cannabis legalization, many have struggled to view the cannabis industry as just that—a business industry selling a product for interested consumers.
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As one university director said: “In order for the industry as a whole to gain legitimacy, people really need to know what it’s all about. We have to alleviate the stigma and the way to do that is really teaching people what the industry’s all about.”