Monday Magazine contributor
With legalized recreational use of marijuana soon a reality, a burgeoning interest has emerged from those seeking to become a part of what promises to be a significant growth industry.
In response to the need for professionally trained producers of cannabis, Camosun College has stepped up to provide formal training for students.
A spring course entitled “Growing Cannabis for Professionals” gave students an introduction to the skills required to cultivate cannabis,and teach the industrial production methods necessary under the new regulations.
The course was taught by Travis Lane, who has cultivated marijuana more than 20 years and was the founding director of the B.C. Independent Cannabis Association (BCICA). He has done various forms of education in and consulting about the industry, as well as advocacy for those already involved.
“The importance of education and training can not be overstated for people looking to participate in a maturing, competitive cannabis marketplace,” said Lane, who taught the in-demand course again in August.
He maintains that the cannabis workforce requires professionals from areas such as business, technology, science and more who have a theoretical understanding of the fundamentals of cannabis cultivation. Those fundamentals include propagation, appropriate use of resources, crop management, and troubleshooting.
The course was offered in an on-line learning component to make it even more accessible.
Canadian producers have, on occasion, had to look abroad for the expertise required. A spokesperson for Canopy Growth, one of Canada’s largest producers of medical marijuana, revealed that his company uses a research facility in New Zealand to propagate new strains of the cannabis plant. “We just didn’t have the level of expertise here”, said company spokesperson Jordan Sinclair.
Camosun has also engaged potential cannabis entrepreneurs with a series of Education Nights hosted by the BCICA. Summer panel discussion topics included “Understanding BC’s New Cannabis Laws,” and “Legalization and You: Canada’s New Cannabis Laws.”
More courses are planned at the college and registration is still underway. Growing a Cannabis Enterprise and Growing Cannabis Operations are being offered this fall.
Janice Hanna, Camosun’s education director, is confident it’s just the beginning of an ever increasing demand for training.
It’s a small wonder that interest in the business of growing and selling marijuana is as high as it is. CIBC has calculated that by 2020 Canadians will consume 800,000 kilograms of cannabis, the vast majority for recreational use. That legal consumption, estimated to represent a market worth up to $6.5 billion, means Canadians may soon be spending more on recreational cannabis than on liquor.
Course details can be found at camosun.ca/ce/cannabis-industry.html