Well, it's official: You can now learn how to grow dank-ass bud in a college class. To help wannabe pot producers wade through potential legal pitfalls, Metro Vancouver's Kwantlen Polytechnic University is offering Introduction to Professional Management of Marijuana for Medical Purposes in Canada, a 14-week online crash course, this fall.
"There is in fact a big gap in the knowledge base in the industry and so there's a need for this training," Jim Pelton, executive director of continuing and professional studies at KPU, told VICE.
The syllabus is broken down into four major areas: plant production and facility management theory; legalities and regulations; marketing, sales, and patient acquisition strategies; and medical conditions and drug development processes.
There are 25 licensed medical marijuana producers in Canada, including 13 in Ontario and six in British Columbia. But course instructor Tegan Adams, who works as a business development manager at Experchem Laboratories Inc., a cannabis testing firm, estimates Health Canada is sitting on at least another 2,000 applications.
"It's a pretty low success rate," said Adams, pointing to a need for more education.
The course was created with input from industry experts, including experienced legal pot growers.
According to the KPU website, "students will learn to identify the key differences in plant characteristics. They will become skilled at identifying healthy plant roots and unhealthy plant roots; learn treatment techniques, and how to optimize the environment for healthy root production."
Adams admitted the subject matter could benefit growers looking to sell in the black market, but "that's not the focus." Much of the interest, she said, comes from people who are "passionate about it from a medical perspective because they either lost a loved one to cancer or they use it to treat another illness."
"This isn't a gardening course," added Pelton. "This is really all about how to do it legally."
Pelton told VICE the first class is currently half-full, with about 25 students signed up. It runs September 8 through October 23 with a $1,249 price tag (about 6.25 ounces of weed in street value).
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