It wasn't long ago that getting into the cannabis industry was a tricky, clandestine process.
While barriers still exist, that's all changing in 2015. Personal connections are still important in this competitive field, but formal, institutional channels are also cropping up to train prospective employees in the industry.
These three cannabis-centred universities are raising the bar for education on growing, marketing, and selling cannabis.
1. Oaksterdam University
Oaksterdam - whose name, obviously, is a mash-up of "Oakland" and "Amsterdam" - has grown steadily since first opening its doors in 2007. Among the offerings at America's first cannabis college: indoor/outdoor horticulture, cannabis history and law, cooking, advocacy, and more. There's no application fee, but you have to be 18 or over to attend, and tuition ranges from $495 for the horticulture class, to $1,195 for a full semester. It's worth it, according to graduates. Oaksterdam also oes On-The-Road events, taking seminars to cities in Las Vegas, Florida, and DC. They plan to host online courses in 2016.
Sharing space with the University of Colorado, Clover Leaf offers a Cannabis Business Certification consisting of 25 stand-alone courses and five full-program certifications. Some of the topics: Master Cultivation, Cannabis Culinary Arts, and Continued Legal Education. They also offer on-site training for dispensary employees and others in the industry, sending out teaching staff to train up to 15 employees in safety, best practices, and sales.
3. Kwantlen Polytechnic University
British Columbia's Kwantlen Polytechnic University started offering Introduction to Professional Management of Medical Marijuana for Medical Purposes in Canada this fall. Over the 16-week online course, instructors Tegan Adams and Deepak Anand provide a look at successes and challenges within the medical marijuana market, horticulture, law, the role of health care professionals in medical marijuana, and what medical conditions can be treated with cannabis. There's also a hands-on component: students get to explore Vancouver dispensaries, the drug development process, and alternatives to smoking cannabis. Tuition for all four modules: $1,249 Canadian.