Colleges and schools offering cannabis classes from growing to cultivating

In the past, humans learned how to grow and preserve food, first for subsistence reasons, them for more civilized reasons. Today, that accumulated knowledge allows to grow and preserve any kind of plant for the reasons humanity decides, one of the most noble plants: marijuana. From seeding to harvest, marijuana is a business as any other that needs to be studied and improved by people who are dedicated to research and spread the word about its benefits; with some restrictions being eliminated soon in Canada, cannabis business has been expanding, and is starting to be studied at schools as any other subject. As we previously stated, there will be major effects legalization of cannabis will have on Canada, but as a side effect for laws or medical issues, there will be one that will improve the whole business: a better education and understanding of the plant.

Growing options

Student Noting the deficiency of scientific knowledge on the subject, Kwantlen Polytechnic University started offering online courses in cannabis production, marketing and financing about three years ago, it’s named “Cannabis Career Training”, the result? About 1,200 people have taken the classes, most of whom are between 25 and 40 years old and were working full-time in another industry. As a huge improvement, this courses are developed by The National Institute for Cannabis Health and Education (NICHE). Kwantlen Polytechnic University is not alone, Niagara College released a certificate in marijuana production; named “Commercial Cannabis Production” this 1-year program teaches subjects as: Cannabis Production Science, Regulations of Cannabis Industry and Cannabis Business Software Applications. Following a similar path, the New Brunswick Community College is already teaching cultivation. This program is a partnership with le Collège Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick (CCNB) and the New Brunswick Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour to support the delivery of the first commercial cannabis cultivation technician program in Canada. This 12-week, industry-designed program started on November 2017. As a way to deepen and improve knowledge, Kwantlen and Durham College are both planning to expand the variety of marijuana classes on offer. A course teaching responsible retail sales, safe handling and strain identification will soon be offered through Kwantlen, and they’re also working on a cultivation course that will see students go out and work with cannabis plants at licensed production facilities. Also in the beginning of this year, Durham College started a two-day course named: “Medical Cannabis Fundamentals for Business Professionals”. This course is designed specifically for those who are interested in pursuing a career in the Canadian medical cannabis industry. They also warn that employers typically also expect a diploma or degree in a specific field of study (e.g. operations, finance, marketing, etc.). So if you want to work in the cannabis industry, you need to mix it with another science or occupation. Joining the institutions that offers programs related to marijuana business, past August, Montreal’s McGill University started one-day workshops on medical Cannabis production and quality control; According to the institution, these workshops are targeted towards professionals associated with the plant production and greenhouse industries and professionals working in food science and medicinal chemistry who wish to begin work with medical cannabis; workshops may also be of interest to graduate students in related disciplines. In Alberta, options for cannabis education programs are also expanding; Olds College will teach the horticultural skills needed to work in greenhouses, and how to deal with the regulations. This course will run for 2 1/2 months and will include an online component before ending with two weeks of hands-on experience at a cannabis production facility. For this innovating course, Olds College is partnering with Sundial Growers in Airdrie, Alta., and Terra Life Sciences in Olds to provide the work experience. The program includes an introduction to general horticulture, crop growth and facilities, cannabis legislation and cannabis production itself. As a common requirement in all these courses, you need to be at least 19 years old.

New industry

As any other new industry, this path is full of trial and error, the best way to improve it is involving people dedicated to research and spread the word about the benefits and helping to fight against taboos. Now that it will be completely legal, science will help a lot to eliminate some wrong conceptions about cannabis medical use and why not, change some conceptions about recreational use. In this not-so-new marijuana raising business, cannabis companies are looking for specific professionals, people who have been in the business for a while, as accountants or business managers, who have industry-specific knowledge, including the terminology and history of the industry to the regulatory framework and basics of cannabis plants. According to MJBizDail, the legal industry could create as many as 150,000 cannabis jobs in the next few years and with many jobs positions also come better salaries. A survey by Calgary, Alberta-based staffing firm Cannabis At Work found that the average maximum base salary for five of the highest-paying jobs in the industry were:
  • Marketing manager (CA$110,000)
  • Senior accountant (CA$98,340)
  • Quality assurance person ($90,750)
  • Human resources manager (CA$87,057)
  • Cultivation manager (CA$87,050)
According to the same survey, average maximum base salaries for cultivation technicians, processing assistants and administrative assistants were CA$42,800, CA$46,000 and CA$51,000, respectively. In the neighbor country the situation is kind of similar; In the U.S., a February report from New Frontier Data, a Washington, D.C.-based economic consultancy, projected that the legal cannabis market would create over a quarter of a million jobs by 2020, beating out the manufacturing sector, utilities and even government jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also there, the need for degrees in marijuana is also increasing; the number of recent college grads her company has placed in cannabis jobs has tripled since last year.  Marijuana Business Daily estimates the industry in the U.S. employed between 165,000-230,000 full and part-time workers in 2017. Educational and related initiatives are important to fight against generations of stigma around the soon-to-be completely legal green product.

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