Becoming Certified in the Cannabis Industry
Like any other established industry, you need training or certification to enter the cannabis business. With so many areas to specialize in, how do you know where to start? Luis Cordova shares his experience to help guide you.
Global advancement of cannabis legalization has exposed many gaps in the industry, with labor shortages and skill gaps impacting the cannabis industry. The cannabis industry is forecast to grow 15 percent over the next few years and become the biggest agricultural job provider in the U.S. However, many people can’t break into the industry as they don’t understand cannabis or the applicable skills needed. Colleges, universities, and online training courses have begun to address this issue.
These courses are not exclusively for growing but improve understanding of cannabis for marketers, IT, legal/compliance, and many other existing occupations. Understanding all that goes into how each area of the cannabis industry supports each other enables professionals to interact with customers.
With all the options of cannabis-related programs, it is difficult to determine which is the best option. Higher education institutions have begun to offer tailored cannabis programs that prepare students for the cannabis industry. Some of the courses are offered online, but many are part of a degree’s major. The majors that offer cannabis courses include agriculture, chemistry, economics, journalism, law, and many others. Many of these courses are tailored for specific majors. For example, a major in chemistry will teach extraction methods for cannabis, while agriculture will teach mostly about growing. While this is a big step forward, classes do not always offer a wide enough range of skills for students. When someone is first interested in the cannabis industry, they don’t know what area they will enjoy most. For example, you may have studied extractions but want to work as a budtender.
Currently, universities offering courses for four-year degrees in cannabis include the University of Colorado, Lake Superior State University, Northern Michigan University, Stockton University, University of California, University of Denver, and many others. My advice for those considering this option is to choose the major that best suits you and include the cannabis courses as you may never know where the industry leads you.
Online Cannabis Certification
For people not needing or wanting a four-year degree, online cannabis certification is available. Just like the wide range of universities offering courses, there is a wide range of online certifications. Online courses offer many more options to choose from compared to universities. They allow a person to choose from individual courses or a full package. Most programs cover the needs of the industry and are standard across the board. They cover budtending, basic growing, advanced growing, extracting methods, cooking with cannabis, cannabis dispensary services, cannabis regulations, and law.
Some courses offer additional advanced options that can help to further your understanding of the cannabis industry. No matter what package you choose, you will receive a certificate that you can show to prove your knowledge. Taking a certification course is a good option for people who do not know about cannabis or have years of experience. These certifications lay a good foundation for beginners to enter the industry. They also allow advanced individuals to learn how others are doing things across the U.S., learn other secrets of what some growers are doing, and learn more of how everyone supports the business of cannabis.
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Currently, certification prices are pretty standard across the online market. However, they span across premium options and more affordable ones. The newest brand on the premium market is known as The Ganjier a cannabis sommelier certification program. The Ganjier is focused on producing quality masters of cannabis. To produce these quality students, you learn from the most well-respected, well-known, and most knowledgeable people in the industry. Each teacher at The Ganjier is an expert in their field of the cannabis industry. Their courses span the full needs of the cannabis industry from cultivation to commerce and everything in between.
One of the teachers that interests me most at The Ganjier is Mr. Kevin Jodrey. He offers his wealth of information to help others produce premium cannabis and learn as much as possible about cannabis cultivation. For those who don't know, Jodrey is one of the best cannabis breeders and growers the world. He has gained so much experience breeding cannabis and embraces scientific tools to assist in breeding. The Ganjier also features Frenchy Cannoli, Patrik King, Jeffrey Raber, Swami Chaitanya, Nikki Lastreto, Mel Frank, Amanda Reiman, Nick Tanem, Omar Figueroa, Aaron Varney, Wendy Kornberg, Genine Coleman, Josh Wurzer, Alec Dixon, Kimberly Hooks, Justin Calvino, and Derek Gilman. Each one of these teachers has so much experience in cannabis it could fill an entire book.
Each teacher is responsible for ensuring their course produces the highest quality students. The Ganjier uses written exams consisting of multiple choices questions, service exams employing role-playing scenarios, and an assessment exam done in person. The Ganjier allows for each step of the program to be taken. Meaning you can take the courses, then the in-person training, and the in-person exam. When viewed as individual steps, the certificate can be more affordable. For premium options, The Ganjier is the best on the market.
Alternatively, other more affordable programs are available. These include programs from Cannabis Training University (CTU). I have taken the program at CTU many years ago and have had the privilege to take their new program. Like many other programs available, their courses are standard across the industry. The big thing with CTU is it shows you the inner workings of the industry.
The program includes some real-world scenarios of cannabis facilities. CTU explains how most cannabis businesses operate and why they operate in this way. They also show how to do cannabis extracts and why you may choose one method over another. CTU explains how to build quality soil or use hydroponics in a commercial setting. They also include some industry secrets from top growers in the United States. CTU also goes further into making edibles and how to make the proper dose. CTU covers so much more information than other programs. They include regulations for states in Canada and the US.
CTU covers the history of cannabis in its courses and introduces you to many of the terminologies you will come across in the industry. It provides a wealth of video information from real-world companies, including how and why they do certain practices. The information provided assists in making the right choices at the beginning of your career in the cannabis industry. CTU courses are best for people who want to enter the cannabis industry or build on their current skills. This program is very affordable and runs sales that lower the upfront cost. They also use written exams and quizzes with a multiple-choice format. After completion, you receive a certificate for each course you have taken. The advanced growing courses give you much of the information that not everyone knows. However, their beginner growing classes give you that needed foundation to pick a seed and grow it well. They show you what makes a good budtender and the knowledge they should know. They provide information for commercial and small grow operations. These operations include growing, drying, and extracting cannabis. CTU also gives you many printable quick guides for all their courses. There wasn’t much I didn’t like about their courses. However, more information on how different states and Canada grow cannabis would have improved their program slightly.
How to Choose a Cannabis Learning Program
With all the available programs, you have many choices to choose from. For those who are entering university or already at university, taking courses on cannabis is the best option. For others, choosing a certification program may be their best option. For the premium certification programs like The Ganjier, it is probably best if you are already in the industry. Due to their cost it may not be affordable for everyone. Other programs like those offered by CTU seem to be the best option for everybody. Entering the cannabis industry and becoming certified is easier than ever.
Whatever option is best for you, there are many programs to choose from.
Written by Luis Cordova | Plant Biotechnician, Pharmaceutical Scientist
Luis holds a M.S. in Plant biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Science. He is a long-time cannabis grower He has put his focus on breeding cannabis and development of organic soils for tropical regions. He loves how much the industry has grown and changed. He hopes to pass on new and old knowledge to all growers across the world.