It turns out if you’re interested in starting a career in the cannabis industry after graduation, you can jump on a path at many schools that’ll help you land a suitable position in the industry while giving you valuable experience. If you live in Canada or the U.S., there are various major cities that offer cannabis courses and programs. Keep reading to find out where you can study cannabis and get legitimate college credit for it.
Employment Cannabis Boom in Canada
Since Canada federally legalized cannabis in October of last year, the number of employment opportunities has significantly grown. In particular, according to Indeed Canada, openings for cannabis-oriented positions have tripled over the past year. So far though, Canada has roughly 150,000 workers within the cannabis industry. But according to chief science officer Roger Ferreira of Beleave Kannabis Corp (an Ontario-based cannabis company), there’s been a lack of experienced Canadian staff members.
To meet demand, many Canadian colleges and universities have started offering cannabis courses to interested students, often at the urging of numerous cannabis companies.
“Nearly a dozen colleges nationwide are adding or expanding courses designed to train the next generation of marijuana producers, often at the nudging of area employers,” reports the Washington Post.
Cannabis Courses Offered In Canada
Overall, each Canadian province has a different approach regarding cannabis. Although the plant is now federally legal, all provinces have the right to decide whether they want to offer cannabis courses or programs at various colleges and universities. Below is a breakdown of cannabis courses, programs, and/or certifications that are offered by various Canadian schools.
A small college in Ontario called Durham College recently launched their own “Cannabis Industry Specialization Program” this past Autumn. Additionally, Bill MacDonald, an Ontario-based science professor decided to create a “Commercial Cannabis Production program” at Niagara College. This program became available last September, and more than 300 people have applied to be in it. MacDonald released the following statement about the program’s growing demand: “I had licensed producers come to the college and say, ‘We need highly trained personnel.’ The demand is just huge.”
Furthermore, Ontario Loyalist College has a partnership with a British Columbia university called Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU). The Ontario-based college employs KPU’s class material through distance education. Then, Boreal College in Toronto offers a cannabis cultivation course to students. They also debuted their own cannabis production technician program this past Autumn. Lastly, sometime this month, the University of Ottawa will debut their two-week long crash course in cannabis laws.
Recently, Alberta got involved in a process to train cannabis workers. They received an application from a private Canadian career college, but this is still a work in progress. Mount Royal University in Calgary started offering three online cannabis classes this past September.
In January of 2020, McGill University in Montreal will officially launch a graduate degree program in the area of cannabis production. However, this program will only be available to students who possess a background in botany and/or hold a bachelor’s degree in a related field.
Although New Brunswick isn’t as far along with cannabis cultivation and employment opportunities as other provinces are, they’re moving towards offering cannabis cultivation technician programs. Specifically, the New Brunswick government is in the process of partnering with Dieppe Community College as well as Moncton-based Organigram to launch a 12-week long cannabis program.
Nova Scotia is also moving forward with launching cannabis courses and programs. One example is St. Francis Xavier University, which signed a three-year agreement with THC Dispensaries Canada Inc. Roughly 20-30 students will be able to eventually work at the facility of THC Dispensaries Canada Inc. for college credit.
In Vancouver, British Columbia, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) offers students the opportunity to attain a “Retail Cannabis Consultant” certificate. The university also debuted their own cannabis career training program, which consists of various non-credit online classes that last for thirteen weeks. The leader of this program and director of emerging business at KPU (David Purcell) stated: “We’re breaking down these stereotypes with evidence-based education. We’re the anti-reefer madness.”
Then, Camosun College offers a cannabis cultivation course. Whereas, the College of the Rockies offers a cannabis retail specialist program that combines customer service with science. Lastly, third and fourth-year college students enrolled in Okanagan College in Kelowna can learn about cannabis in an elective class.
Cannabis Courses Offered In U.S.
Although Canadian provinces are taking concrete steps to support schools that create cannabis courses and programs for students, many American colleges and universities are trying to do the same. Below are some top name American colleges and universities that offer different cannabis courses, programs, and/or certificates.
At the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business, a course about the business of cannabis is offered. Then, the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law offers a course for law students on the topic of what to know when representing a cannabis client. Whereas, at the University of Denver, a course called, “Cannabis Journalism” is available. There’s also Cannabis Training University, which offers an online cannabis program.
Northern Michigan University offers a four-year medicinal plant chemistry undergraduate degree, which will expand into educating students about medical cannabis and the growing cannabis industry.
Stockton University recently gave students the opportunity to minor in cannabis studies. This opportunity became available last year, and the program consists of five classes, an internship placement, and two required classes on the topics of cannabis law and medical cannabis.
The University of Vermont now offers a few cannabis courses. The university has a “Cannabis Science and Medicine Program”, which also includes a continuing medical education program for those pursuing medical-related degrees. Surprisingly, this university was the first to launch this type of cannabis science program.
The University of Washington offers a cannabis training program called “Medicinal Cannabis and Chronic Pain”. This program is specifically designed for medical professionals including soon-to-be nurses, physicians, and other healthcare professionals.
At the University of California in Los Angles (UCLA), students can partake in the school’s cannabis research initiative. Whereas, at the University of California-Davis, there are two cannabis courses that are a part of the University of California system.
Currently, the school offers a class called, “The Physiology of Cannabis”, and they plan to offer other courses that focus on cannabinoid education. Additionally, there’s an upper-level course that focuses on the health impact, risks, and benefits of cannabis.
Overall, the demand for cannabis continues to grow, but so does the demand for qualified and experienced cannabis professionals. If you wish to have a career in the cannabis industry now or in the future, it’s recommended to enroll in some type of cannabis course or program where you can receive valuable experience that can help you stand out to employers. The more qualifications and certifications you have, the better.