Following the legalization of cannabis for adult use in New York in March, a university is already working to meet the growing demand for qualified and trained professionals in the emerging industry.
University College at Syracuse University, the academic college for continuing education and professional studies, has partnered with Green Flower, a cannabis education association, to offer four programs where individuals can receive certificates not cannabis education credits.
The four programs are: Health and Medicine, Cannabis Law and Policy, The Cannabis Trade, and Cannabis Agriculture and Horticulture. Each course lasts six months and includes three eight-week online courses.
Individuals do not need to be students at Syracuse to enroll in the course. University College Dean Michael Frasciello said the university expects the core student body to be people already in the industry looking to upgrade and train further or people looking to enter. in industry. However, he suspects that more university students will become interested in the programs over time as the cannabis industry continues to grow.
Frasciello gives a general overview of each program:
The Cannabis Law and Policy program will cover business practices, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, future opportunities in related career fields, intellectual property, social equity, labor law , environmental law and consumer law, including advertising, labeling and packaging, he said.
“What we expect is that we will see interest in this program from lawyers who are practicing but want to gain expertise in this area within their practice,” he said. declared. “Certainly, paralegals, or others in specific areas of the industry like advertising, labeling and packaging, who need to have a [better] based on some of the legal and political aspects of it.
The Business of Cannabis program will cover a wide range of topics, from business to culture fundamentals. Some cultivation topics include processing, extraction, manufacturing, lab setup, protocols, and distribution. While the business side covers retail, delivery, licensing, business ethics, marketing, human resources, sales, accounting, how to scale business operations, real estate, l innovation, investment and more, he said.
“What I think is interesting about this program is that the students create a portfolio of companies,” he said. “Basically, the wallet is [students] installation [their] own business and create a very high level business plan. They will examine risk analysis, operations, project management and numerous case studies. »
The Health and Medicine program is specific to understanding the properties of medical cannabis, he said. The course will cover human physiology, health care ethics and law, the use of cannabis in health care practices for practitioners and more.
“Similar to where the business program has the portfolio, in this program students [will be] has partnered with integrated medical centers in areas where they are or facilities to learn more about dosing, titration, administration – kind of drug interactions,” he said. ” So he [covers] some interactions that [they may] need to be aware of from a pharmacological point of view.
The agriculture and horticulture program is the “simplest” of the four programs, he said.
Students explain how to engage in production in an efficient and sustainable manner, which includes management culture as well as statutory and administrative laws.
Similar to the other programs, agriculture and horticulture is also project-based, and students will be required to do state-specific case studies on the local jurisdiction for the crop, he said.
“There is a chemical or scientific component to the program [as well],” he said. “Students will cover plant chemistry, diseases and threats, techniques and processes for harvesting and drying, pruning and processing, storage, and there is one more module on the industrial hemp, so we try to seize all the opportunities within the industry.
Frasciello added, “Our decision to make this a no-credit program as opposed to a credit program is that the no-credit program allows us to better personalize [the program] to meet labor demand. When you attach a credit to something, there’s a lot of governance on the backend that needs to come into play, and we felt that with the no-credit certificate, we could be more nimble and responsive to demand and demand. interest as they increase. ”
Essentially, the non-credit aspect gives the university the freedom to make changes to the curriculum as the industry evolves.
“Some members of my team had the foresight to identify the cannabis industry as one of the fastest growing industries in the country,” he said. “Then we determined that we should probably move into space with a continuing education program, and that’s where Green Flower came in.”
Green Flower faculty members with years of experience in different aspects of the cannabis industry designed and developed the program. The university has worked with them to ensure the program aligns with the “principles of rigor and excellence” the university is known for in the online space, Frasciello said.
Professional Green Flower instructors who currently work in the industry will teach the curriculum, which is essential in college because these people can teach from experience.
As the university worked with Green Flower last fall to get the program approved, the state began sending strong signals that legalization would likely happen in the spring, Frasciello said. “It aligned very well with the fact that we were able to get everything approved within the university through our governance process, and then the state announced [legalization],” he said.
Registration is currently open and all classes begin June 28. Since the university issued its first press release about it in April, the response has been great, he said. About half a dozen people signed up for the program and about 10-14 inquired about it.
Designing a program like this to educate individuals about the cannabis industry and prepare them for jobs in the field is critical, Frasciello said, especially as New York and neighboring states move to legalize cannabis. cannabis.
“Our mission here is to prepare individuals to succeed in whatever industry they are currently in or whatever industry or career they wish to grow into – that is our whole focus here,” he said. he declares. “So it was important for us to take this opportunity because we want to be able to ensure that there are individuals in the industry who are knowledgeable, intelligent, capable, responsible and good practitioners.”