Now that recreational weed is legal throughout all of Canada, the country is scrambling to keep pace with demand. Most obviously, that includes producing enough weed to keep dispensaries fully stocked with inventory. But in order to that, the industry also needs enough qualified workers to keep things running smoothly. As a result, Canada is seeing a boom of new college programs aimed at training students to enter the cannabis industry.
The Need for Qualified Experts
When viewed as a whole, the legal cannabis industry in Canada is vast. In particular, there are many more players involved than just those who handle actual plants.
Along with growers, producers, shippers, and retailers, there are also growing needs in other fields. These other fields can include everything from botany to advertising to information technology and seemingly everything in between.
But many weed business leaders in Canada stress that to keep supply flowing, the industry needs highly qualified experts. For example, chief scientific officer of cannabis company Beleave recently told the Washington Post that folks who used to grow weed illegally in their basement simply don’t make the cut anymore.
Although they have experience, they likely don’t have the scientific background needed to produce consistently high quality buds at large quantity and in economically sustainable methods.
So far, business leaders report a huge shortage of these types of highly qualified experts. And more and more, weed companies are turning to colleges and universities to find the talent they need.
As a result, it’s becoming increasingly common for colleges and universities to offer cannabis related courses and degrees, or to build programs that will give students college credit for learning how to produce marijuana.
Higher Education in Canada
According to the Washington Post, there are now roughly a dozen colleges and universities in Canada that offer some sort of marijuana-related program. These include:
- Durham College, located in Ontario, which recently launched its Cannabis Industry Specialization program.
- Vancouver’s Kwantlen Polytechnic University, which has a Retail Cannabis Consultant certificate program.
- Niagara College, which recently piloted its Commercial Cannabis Production program.
- The Community College of New Brunswick, which now offers a course titled “Medical Cannabis Cultivation.”
Obviously, this is far from an exhaustive list. But it represents some of what is now available to college and university students interested in entering the legal cannabis industry.
Additionally, there are several other schools throughout Canada now planning new marijuana-related programs and courses.
For example, earlier this year, the University of Guelph announced new marijuana courses. The courses were slated to be part of the school’s Ontario Agricultural College.
Similarly, McGill University in Montreal is reportedly planning to offer a graduate level degree in marijuana production. The program will reportedly be available to students who have training in botany or other related fields.
All of these courses and programs are designed to meet the exploding demand being put on Canada’s new legal weed industry. This demand is so high that when weed became legal on October 17, the country almost immediately started seeing shortages in supply.
In fact, some experts think it could take as long as 12-18 months before supply meets demand. Experts expect all this activity to create a significant number of new jobs.