Articel by Jaclyn Tersigni, Toronto Star
For the first time since 1923, the Canadian cannabis industry is getting ready to move above ground. One of the upshots of the impending legalization of marijuana this summer is a burgeoning job market. From growing to software to sales, opportunities could abound for those with in-demand skill sets.
Though cannabis-specific programs are still few and far between, there are a handful of academic institutions that have been quick to respond to the new job market with courses that help ready students for a new career.
Commercial Cannabis Production (CCP), Niagara College
Canada’s first-ever post-secondary credential program launches this fall at Niagara College. The year-long commercial cannabis production program will train students in the cultivation of cannabis, as well as provide them with in-depth knowledge of Health Canada’s regulatory framework that will govern the industry.
Interest from prospective students has been huge. As of press time, the school had received more than 300 applications for a mere 24 spots in the first cohort (the program has three intakes per year). Worth nothing is that these applicants aren’t merely enthusiasts of recreational marijuana; admission requirements include a degree or diploma in agricultural sciences, plant sciences, biology, horticulture, greenhouse technology, or a related discipline.
“We’re seeing a high-quality applicant who I think understands, as we have, that the profession itself is going to be led by plant scientists,” says Al Unwin, associate dean of the college’s School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies.
The CCP program will cover plant nutrition, cultivation and growing best practices, regulatory and trade requirements, and security protocols. Possible career paths for graduates include roles as growers with licensed producers, operations managers, quality control and assurance, and post-harvest operations.