The proliferation of online education has made it easier than ever for professionals of every age and experience level to develop new skills and break into new careers in just about every industry, including the emerging cannabis market.
A simple online search will return results for dozens of cannabis education courses and certifications that promise to help you get your foot in the door. Many of these organizations, such as Colorado’s Clover Leaf University, have been around for years, but as more states legalize recreational marijuana, traditional, accredited colleges are seizing the opportunity.
In 2018, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas launched its Cannabis Professional/Budtender Certification in partnership with the Academy of Cannabis Science. The $99 course covers everything from the history of cannabis to state laws and compliance issues, and is billed as training for those who want to “work with cannabis as a store employee, manager, or one of the many other positions within the retail space.”
Anyone who has ever worked in retail can argue that, traditionally, you don’t need a certification, diploma, or degree to do the job effectively. And while cannabis is a specialized field, someone who is already a marijuana consumer is likely to know the difference between Indica and Sativa, for example, and may not see any benefit in earning a certification, other than being able to show an employer that he/she is serious about the industry.
Before You Enroll in a Cannabis Class
If you’re interested in taking a cannabis education course, here are some things to consider before you enroll.
Read the Reviews
Reputation is everything, and before you invest your hard earned money in a cannabis education course, you’ll want to ensure the training is up to par. Fortunately, it only takes a little bit of research to find reviews of cannabis courses and the universities and companies offering them online. Don’t just take the word of “alumni” who are featured on these course websites either. Would you really expect a for-profit organization to allow negative reviews on its own website?
Be Wary of Hidden Agendas
While it has been a long, hard road for cannabis advocates to make legalization possible in several states, the purpose of education is to be objective. Be wary of cannabis training programs that allow conscious (and subconscious) bias to seep into the course materials. It may be the first sign of a hidden agenda, and the last thing you want is to be denied important information or perspective because the course creators are trying to align your beliefs with theirs. Your education should remain independent from another company’s motives.
Be Sure They’re Not Telling You What You Already Know
Before you enroll in a cannabis education course, you should ask about the syllabus and which topics, specifically, will be covered. Someone who is a cannabis consumer may already know the history of the plant, just as someone with a law enforcement background may already be well versed in issues of compliance. The last thing you want to do is pay for knowledge that you already have.
Be Sure It’s Worth It
Online training programs are great for people looking to acquire new skills, such as coding. But if a cannabis education course is only promising to educate you in the history of marijuana or explain what a Cannabinoid is – well, frankly, that’s information you can find through a simple Google search. If your goal is to gain a job in the cannabis industry, whether it’s in a dispensary or on a sales team, you want to make sure the companies you’re researching actually care that you’ve taken a cannabis education course. It certainly doesn’t hurt to show an employer that you’re willing to further your education outside of work, but if it’s not vital to the job itself then you could be wasting your money.