To meet the growing demand for skilled professionals, Green Flower, an industry partaker in cannabis education, partnered with the University of Denver to offer a range of online certificate programs aimed at preparing individuals for careers in the cannabis sector.
The collaboration between Green Flower and DU brings together the experience and industry knowledge of Green Flower with the academic quality of DU, providing students with a highly credible educational opportunity.
“We’ve been doing this since 2014. We’ve got a lot of experience in the industry now,” said Max Simon, CEO of Green Flower. “With Colorado being such a well-established market, we really felt like we needed to work with one of the most trusted institutions in the state.”
The programs offered include certificates in four key areas: cannabis business, cannabis medicine, cannabis agriculture and cannabis compliance. Upon completion of the program, graduates receive a certificate from DU, signifying their expertise in their chosen field of study.
“We’ve produced a curriculum that has the same kind of academic rigor that schools expect with the experts and operators from the industry,” Simon said.
Each program spans approximately six months, or 450 hours, and is delivered entirely online. The curriculum includes a combination of lectures from experienced cannabis industry professionals, reading materials and project assignments designed to provide students with practical, real-world knowledge and skills.
“We’ve had success in other parts of the country. We’ve partnerships with Syracuse University in New York, and Louisiana State University, University of California, Riverside,” Simon said.
As a long-time cannabis patient himself, Simon saw the need to provide structured training programs that would help people build successful careers in the industry. He believes that education can empower individuals to start their own businesses, take on leadership roles in existing companies and expand their skill sets to better serve the industry.
“It’s a very complex and challenging industry to operate in. Whether that means winning a license or understanding all the compliance requirements, to the supply chain, to servicing the very diverse population that seeks cannabis,” Simon explained.
Simon believes higher education institutions are now recognizing their role in developing a workforce for the cannabis industry, which employs hundreds of thousands of people across the country.
“I think the overall cannabis stigma has really subsided in recent years. I think the reasons for that are that, first off, it’s a very fast-growing industry, that has created a lot of jobs and a lot of tax revenue,” Simon said.
Their completion rate currently stands at 85 percent, indicating that the majority of students who embark on Green Flower’s programs successfully complete them and earn their certificates.
While Green Flower has been a part of cannabis education since 2014, the pandemic was a big turning point. Before the pandemic, convincing educational institutions to take cannabis education seriously was challenging for Simon. However, the pandemic transformed the landscape, pushing everyone into an online education environment.
Green Flower’s readiness, with thousands of hours of curriculum and strong infrastructure, led to more schools partnering with them. The pandemic, while disruptive in many ways, brought recognition and momentum to their cannabis education.
“We actually do have a campus up in Humboldt that we run and operate. But you know, we really like the online medium. The reason why is because in this day and age, it’s much more flexible and accessible for people. So, having that ability to service more people in a more flexible way has really worked well for Green Flower,” Simon said.