Cannabis Studies Courses Provide Learners with Fundamental Skills for Growing Industry

Posted on Thursday February 18, 2021

With the area of cannabis cultivation doubling in 2019 alone, there is a large demand for individuals with creditable cannabis production experience, and knowledge of new legislation. Many businesses are in urgent need of educated staff for cannabis production and regulation roles—including harvesters, growers, licensed producers, and researchers.

To help meet this new demand, the horticulture program at the University of Guelph (U of G) was recently redesigned to include two new cannabis-specific courses: Cannabis Production, and Cannabis Regulations and Quality Assurance.

In these two courses, which complete an area of focus in cannabis production, students learn a variety of management techniques essential for producing high-quality cannabis, as well as the legal requirements for cannabis licence holders. With course topics including the economic value of cannabis, cultivation practices, and the identification of rules and regulations for production, students are taught the entire process of producing cannabis from propagating seeds to becoming licensed.

Brandon Yep, master of environmental horticulture science candidate, and Melissa Moher, master of science in environmental sciences candidate, are the co-instructors for the online Cannabis Production course.

“Cannabis is a widely under-researched plant due to its illicit nature; and, although there is substantial literature on cannabis provided by home-grower experts, much of this literature is anecdotal, derived from poor experimental designs, and may not be dependable,” explains Moher. “Cannabis Production and Cannabis Regulations and Quality Assurance will help standardize the industry allowing for widespread efficiency, safety and cannabis education.”

Kimberly Belfry, a cultivation director and licensed producer, facilitates the online Cannabis Regulations and Quality Assurance course.

With the legal cannabis industry only emerging in 2018, there are diverse cultivation practices and many areas where regulations are still catching up, meaning there are likely a lot of inefficiencies occurring in business. Belfry’s course is designed to bring relevancy to what goes on in business from a legal standpoint.

“Cannabis Regulations and Quality Assurance focuses on the Cannabis Act and legal regulations that apply to licence holders,” says Belfry. “With so many jobs in the cannabis sector right now, it is extremely important to know the legal obligations for authorized cannabis activities and the ramifications of non-compliance; this course will debunk the common misconceptions and teach students fact from fiction.”

The cannabis industry is growing at an extremely fast pace, creating many employment opportunities in various sectors. These courses are aimed at providing students with a solid knowledge base so they will be prepared to enter the cannabis field.

“As the industry matures, there is opportunity for government and academia jobs relating to cannabis production,” says Moher.

“Entering the job market already knowing the hard regulations and laws around cannabis production is a definite asset,” adds Belfry.

Students who complete both cannabis courses will gain a well-rounded foundation of the cannabis industry from both a horticulture and legal perspective, giving them a competitive edge when entering the field.

Visit the Horticulture Studies website to learn more about these courses and the larger horticulture program.