Following New York legalizing adult-use cannabis in March, one university is already working to meet the growing demand for qualified and educated professionals in the emerging industry.
University College at Syracuse University, the academic college of continuing education and professional studies, has partnered with Green Flower, a cannabis education association, to offer four programs where individuals can receive non-credit certificates in Cannabis Education.
The four programs are: Healthcare and Medicine, Cannabis Law and Policy, The Business of Cannabis, and Cannabis Agriculture and Horticulture. Each course is six months and includes three eight-week online classes.
Individuals do not have to be a student at Syracuse to enroll in the course. University College Dean Michael Frasciello said the university expects the primary student population to be individuals already in the industry looking to upskill and further educate themselves or people looking to enter the industry. However, he suspects that more university students will show interest in the programs over time as the cannabis industry continues to expand.
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) regulation, 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 that we’ll see interest in this program from lawyers who are practicing but want to build expertise in this area within their practice,” he said. “Certainly, paralegals, or others in specific areas of the industry like advertising, labeling and packaging, that need to have a [better] grounding in some of the legal and policy aspects of it.”
The Business of Cannabis program will cover a wide range of topics, from business to the fundamentals of cultivation. Some cultivation topics include processing, extraction, manufacturing, lab setup and 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, innovation, investment and more, he said.
“The interesting thing I think about this program is that students create a business portfolio,” he said. “Basically, the portfolio is [students] set up [their] own company and create a very high-level business plan. They will look at risk analysis, operations, project management and lots of case studies.”
The Health and Medicine program is specific to understanding medical cannabis properties, 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] partnered with integrated medical centers in the areas where they’re located or facilities to learn more about dosing, titration, administration—sort of drug interactions,” he said. “So, it [covers] some interactions that [they may] need to be aware of from a pharmacological perspective.”
The Agriculture and Horticulture program is the most “straightforward” of the four programs, he said.
Students run through how to engage in production effectively and sustainably, which includes management cultivation as well as statutory and administrative