Colleges compete to rollout first pot school

by | Oct 18, 2018 | Biz/Tech

Madeline Jafarnejad
Biz/Tech Reporter

There’s potential gold for colleges in that green leaf.

Since April 2017 when Canada introduced the Cannabis Act, colleges across the country have been preparing for the new occupations.

Humber has not yet made an official statement on whether it will be adjusting to the new industry even though students are already showing interest in the field.

“I don’t see how it would be different than any other specialized business program,” said Humber 3D animation student Eshaan Gupta, 23. “It’s just another market that has its own needs.”
Maria Racanelli, a Business and Administration Program Coordinator at Humber, said there has at least been some talk about the possibility of commercial cannabis courses being offered at the school but nothing has yet been determined.

“Our associate dean, Mark Hanna and [I have] been attending conferences regarding the opportunities that may exist,” Racanelli said. “I don’t know what will happen but we are definitely being proactive.”

Many other colleges are fighting for the title of Canada’s first “pot school” including Niagara in Niagara Region, Durham College in Durham Region and Loyalist in Belleville, Ont.

Dean of Continuing Education at Durham College Debbie Johnston said the school was one of the first colleges in Ontario to announce a commercial cannabis related course.

“The amount of jobs that will come out of this is phenomenal,” Johnston said.

She has already instructed a two-day Medical Cannabis Fundamentals for Business Professionals course at Durham.

Around 400 people have completed the course which focuses on the business aspect of the cannabis industry, she said. Although it is only two days long, Johnston said the course is intense.

Colleges have been partnering with licensed cannabis producers such as GrowWise Health Limited and Canopy Growth Corporation.

Durham brought in 20 professionals specializing in commercial cannabis to ask them what skills they were looking for when hiring. They found there had already been a large focus on the production side and the industry needed more people with business skills.

Durham recently announced a Cannabis Industry Specialization program which consists of six courses on a variety of topics including cannabis ethics, business operations, importing and exporting.