It’s finally happening. On October 17, recreational cannabis use will be legal for adults throughout the great white north, kicking off a billion-dollar industry already backed by a long-established client base—and subjected to more than its share of red tape and regulations. From crop production to commercialization, building a solid foundation for legalization depends heavily on the expertise of specialists in a diverse array of fields. Post-secondary institutions across the country are addressing this growing need with an increasing number of classes and programs created to train the first generation of Canadian weed workers.
Interested in joining the ranks of Canada’s legal pot pioneers? Whether your dream job is in marketing, law, sales or production, we’re rounding up some of the options available to help jumpstart your career in this budding business.
Cannabis Career Training
This suite of three courses was designed by BC-based KPU in collaboration with NICHE, the National Institute for Cannabis Health and Education, to help students make sense of the issues and challenges surrounding the cannabis industry. What makes it great? For one, it’s offered entirely online, which makes it accessible to anyone and everyone interested in producing, supplying or investing in cannabis, particularly the medical variety. The three courses are as follows:
- Plant production and facility management (MEDM 9001)
- Marketing, sales and drug development (MEDM 9002)
- Financing a cannabis enterprise in Canada (MEDM 9003)
Each one lasts 8 weeks, involves around 14 hours of study a week, and will set you back roughly $1,500.
Commercial Cannabis Production
Offered at Niagara College’s gorgeous Niagara-on-the-Lake campus, this one-year program covers all the bases for aspiring growers. The Commercial Cannabis Production program (code: 0797) will teach you the art and science of cultivating high-quality bud with a focus on the latest Health Canada regulations. Upon completion, you’ll earn yourself an Ontario College Graduate Certificate that will make you a great candidate for licensed producers looking to hire growers, quality assurance techs, post-harvest operations managers and more. Unsurprisingly, the Fall 2018 session is at full capacity, but if you act fast, you can still sign up to start studying in January 2019.
Cannabis Industry Specialization Certificate
Located just outside Toronto, Durham College is building upon its hugely successful Medical Cannabis for Business Professionals backgrounder class to offer a full specialization program on the Canadian cannabis industry starting in fall 2018. Classes will be available to attend either on-campus or via interactive online streaming. In addition to the aforementioned Medical Cannabis for Business Professionals (which you can still take as a stand-alone, 2-day course), the part-time studies program will include the following classes:
- Cannabis in the Adult-Use Market
- Cannabis Regulatory Affairs and Ethics
- Cannabis Business Operations
- Importing and Exporting Cannabis
As of mid-July 2018, registration for the certificate hadn’t yet opened, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re interested in signing up.
More to come
With the demand for legal cannabis expected to see exponential growth from the get-go, more and more schools are gearing up to offer their own industry-related programs. Montreal’s McGill University, for example, plans to launch a two-semester diploma in cannabis production tailored to bachelor holders in horticulture, plant sciences and biochem. The hands-on curriculum, which would be the first of its kind in La Belle Province, is set to open for registration early next year. McGill already offers one-day professional workshops on the industrial production and quality control of medical cannabis at its Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue campus.
The bottom line
it might have sounded like science-fiction a mere decade ago, but in today’s Canada, you can totally turn your desire to grow or sell cannabis into a door-opening college degree.