Cannabis industry education is booming
In recent years a series of legal dominoes have toppled in the United States surrounding the supply and consumption of a well-known herb with serrated leaves. In 2016 alone Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts legalized recreational cannabis, joining other legalized states like Oregon, Colorado, Alaska and, most recently, California. As the dominoes topple, an industry is being created that has already netted billions of dollars, not only in the supply of cannabis as a commodity but also in the education sector.
Canada, too, is discussing legalisation for recreational use but has not yet changed the law. However, the market for medical marijuana is big enough for its largest licensed producer, Aurora Cannabis, to be publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Corporate takeovers have been going on for a while just as in other industries, with Aurora having acquired CanniMed in 2017 for $1.1 billion.
A knock-on effect of this industrialization of cannabis is the growing need for education in its production and distribution under government licence for medical use. At the shop floor level, workers are now offered mandatory marijuana handler training online and on site in much the same way as training is delivered to alcohol servers and food handlers.
At the management level, dedicated cannabis universities have sprung up, the first of which – Oaksterdam University in Oakland, California – opened in 2006, teaching the ins and outs of licensed supply to the medical market but also in anticipation of recreational legalization. They offer courses in production, marketing, financing and of course the restrictive rules within which both the medical and recreational marijuana industries must operate. A number of other institutions have sprung up, such as the Trichome Institute and Cannabis Training University, all aiming to educate the new wave of marijuana entrepreneurs, specialists and employees.
The size of the education market is considerable. In 2017 the legal cannabis industry generated $7 billion in revenue and this figure is expected to more than double by 2020. Marijuana companies are looking for professionals like accountants, business managers and healthcare marijuana experts with industry-specific knowledge such as regulatory frameworks, terminology and history. The education to produce such professionals is playing catch-up, with demand currently outstripping supply.