Are students take cannabis in college? Oh, yes! Wait a minute, I said “taking” not “toking.” Thousands of students are now taking college courses focused on the continuum of cannabis — from the sow to sale, from botany to benefits.
Vangst, an employment platform specializing in cannabis careers, reports an increase of 690 percent in job opportunities from 2017 to 2018 and a 16.9 percent increase in salaries over the same year. This is a bit deceptive because the period corresponds to the sudden expansion of legalization and to the creation of the platform by 25-year old Karson Humiston. Nonetheless, Karson is thinking ahead of the game.
As more states legalize grow, sale, and carry, jobs will increase and segment. That is, there is a potential for multiple job titles requiring specific education and training. If you hope to launch a career with more income than a Trimmer or Budtender, you will need some education.
Careers to think about
The salaries used below vary significantly by region. The potential salaries are well higher than the average salary. Some of this is expected because of cost-of-living differences. But it also relates to the expected sales numbers in those states:
- Master Grower: Cannabis farmers make more money if they are Master Growers. They need to know everything there is known about raising cannabis, a distinctively different crop than tomatoes or corn. They must know the genetics of their seeds and what to expect from those strains in terms of their growth phases. Growers must know all they can know about outside influences like water, light, and air. And, they must know about soils, hydration, pest control, harvest, and cure. Potential salary $120,000+
- Director of Cultivation: Employees of large cannabis growing operations report to the Vice President or Director of Cultivation (DoC) who oversee all production and compliance issues. The DoC runs all growing operations to fulfill production, quality, and compliance mandates. In a seed-to-sale state, the duties are multiple and the accountability quite high. Potential salary $130,000+
- Compliance Manager: The cannabis industry is tightly bound by local, state, and federal laws and regulations. Anyone hoping to succeed in the canna-economy understands in these early days of legalization, compliance rules. Regulations creates a complex and layered and demanding attention to detailed policy and procedure. Compliance Managers are responsible to seed-to-sale tracking and fulling various compliance reports. Potential salary $149,000+
- Outside Sales Manager: The larger businesses have marketing and sales departments focused on expanding their target markets in medical and recreational cannabis dispensaries. The manager oversees the performance of Outside Sales Representatives in qualifying and securing new accounts, meeting sales goals, and serving existing clients. They may hire, train, and develop staff in larger businesses or make more personal sales in smaller firms. Potential salary $150,000+
- Medical Dispensary or Retail Store Manager: Dispensary/Store managers establish retrial store operational procedures with a heavy emphasis on compliance. They manage inventory turns, track sales, hire, train, and monitor employees. Depending on the store’s independence, they maintain financial records and/or interface with related functions in operations, IT, accounting, purchasing, and so on. And, where the outlets run 24/7, they oversee other staffing, too. Salary depends heavily on location and store volume, Potential salary $150,000+
As with any relatively new industry, the canna-industry has yet to normalize. The potential salary depends on many factors the market and standards yet to be determined. But the current incomes are attracting many applicants, and those with education will stand out.
Where to study
- Colorado State University-Pueblo: CSU offers a 22-degree minor in the health, historical, legal, political, and social issues related to cannabis enterprises.
- Community College of New Brunswick: This Canadian school offered a course in Medical Cannabis Cultivation for students supported by the Canadian government.
- Durhan College: This Toronto college offers weed business courses towards its Cannabis Certificate Program. A two-day foundation in Medical Cannabis Fundamentals for Business Professionals before taking additional weed class options.
- Florida A&M University of Law: Florida A&M has a course in Cannabis Law and Social Justice dealing with the legalities of medical versus recreational use and legalization versus decriminalization.
- Harvard University: Harvard School of Law has a cannabis law course impacts related to banking,
- Hofstra University: Hofstra runs a course in Business and Law of Marijuana on the legal matters involved in operating a cannabis business.
- Kwantlen Polytechnic University: British Columbia’s polytechnic university has pioneered online courses in plant production and facility management, marketing and sales development, and financing cannabis business in Canada.
- Northern Michigan University: NMU has a 4-year undergraduate in Medicinal Plant Chemistry in the university’s chemistry department with individual tracks in bio-analysis and entrepreneurship.
- Oaksterdam University: Since 2007, Oaksterdam has offered cannabis programs online and at its campus in Oakland, CA. They offer certification tracks in Horticulture and in Business.
- Ohio State University: OU’s Moritz College of Law is offering a course on cannabiz and the plus and minuses of investing in cannabis businesses.
- Stockton University: This New Jersey institution has a new Cannabis Studies minor with a cannabis curriculum in business, economic, financial, health, and social justice.
- University of California-Davis: UC Davis provides graduates to California’s vast agricultural needs. They offer have offered courses in cannabis for medical professionals and plan to offer more.
- University of California-Los Angeles: UCLA established a cannabis research initiative in 2017 at its Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.
- University of Denver: UD’s Daniels College of Business offers various courses for undergrads, MBA students, and alumni. Courses have dealt with business management, ethics, finance, marketing, and more.
- University of Vermont: UV has a Cannabis Science and Medicine Program with a continuing medical education certificate for medical practitioners.
- The University of Washington: Medicinal Cannabis and Chronic Pain trains medical professionals who want to expand their awareness and practice to alternative care.
- Vanderbilt University: Vanderbilt’s law school has a course about laws governing employee drug testing, contracts, marijuana possession, and other marijuana-related behaviors.
There more education available, of course. But you’ll want to be careful of local storefront colleges or some online offerings. If an employer is looking for an education track record, they will be looking at the quality of the institution.