Education is essential to support all aspects of Nevada’s fast-growing cannabis industry

Mon, Jan 24, 2022 (2 a.m.)

A program designed to train people to fill jobs in the fast-growing cannabis industry is off to a solid start. Extended Studies at UNR partnered with Green Flower to offer four noncredit certificates in cannabis education.

“The Green Flower Higher Education Team is very excited about the interest and growth of the cannabis certificate programs with [UNR],” said Daniel Kalef, executive vice president of Higher Education for Green Flower.

“Since our marketing outreach began, we’ve had more than 1,000 students inquire about the programs directly, and more than 30 enroll for either the November or January start dates. We expect to see that number increase through 2022 as more students realize how the programs can help train and guide them into a new career in the legal cannabis industry,” Kalef said.

According to Business Wire, cannabis is the fastest-growing industry in the United States. The 2021 Leafly Jobs Report states that last year, legal cannabis supported 321,000 full-time jobs and is growing faster than any other industry.

“Since 2016, when voters in Nevada voted for legal adult use of cannabis and then-Gov. [Brian] Sandoval signed the law into effect, the cannabis industry in the state has seen unprecedented growth and continues to show no signs of slowing down,” Kalef said. “Such growth has created a large and growing job market, and a tremendous opportunity for people in Nevada to find rewarding careers.”

Jodi Herzik

Jodi Herzik

The Cannabis Education program has four certificates: the business of cannabis; agriculture and horticulture; law and policy; and health care and medicine. Each track includes three, eight-week online courses for a total of six months of instruction with a certification awarded at the courses’ completion. Medical experts, instructors with doctorates and experts who have been in the cannabis industry for years teach the online courses.

Extended Studies is proud to partner with Green Flower for the certificate programs. Nevada was the third state to approve cannabis for medical use with the adoption of the Nevada Medical Marijuana Act in 1998. We were once again trailblazers when Nevadans voted to legalize cannabis for adult recreational use in 2016. With the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis in two-thirds of the country, the UNR Extended Studies team naturally wants to ensure Nevada also is at the forefront of cannabis education.

The expanding cannabis industry is creating a demand for qualified workers with a broad range of skills.

“Nevada’s cannabis market is growing exceptionally fast. It’s creating a need for high-quality, well-trained people to service these businesses,” said Max Simon, CEO of Green Flower.

The Nevada Legislature gave the green light to cannabis lounges last year, with launches coming by the middle of this year. According to the Cannabis Compliance Board, there are 16,000 employees licensed to work in the industry in Nevada. That number is expected to grow by hundreds to thousands, as retail establishments have expressed interest in creating a cannabis lounge.

“Cannabis is remarkably complex. That’s one of the ways the training really helps, preparing people to be good stewards of cannabis service and support. Cannabis is a highly regulated industry,” Simon said.

While many prospective students may want to delve into agriculture or the sales aspect of the industry and may not have experience in higher education, those with medical degrees or doctorates may want to take a course as well, to further their understanding of cannabis.

For program participants, the curriculum is valuable for other fields such as cultivation, business, accounting and finance, distribution, compliance, manufacturing and product development, marketing, medicine and health care, sales and human resources.

The courses in the certificate programs are designed using online learning best practices, and they are scheduled to accommodate working professionals. Through videos and homework, students will develop a portfolio of case studies and projects that can be used to demonstrate sector-specific cannabis knowledge to prospective employers.

The next course starts March 7. The remaining 2022 start dates are May 2, July 4, September 5 and November 7. The cost is $2,950 per certificate, with discounts offered to veterans and to those who register for multiple certificates. Payment plans are available.

More information can be found at Questions about the new online certificates can be emailed to [email protected].

Jodi Herzik is the interim vice provost for Extended Studies at UNR.

This story appeared in Las Vegas Weekly.

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