Many Americans are looking to join the cannabis industry, but growing up in the era of “Just Say No” means that even experienced cannabis consumers may have grown up with a lot of misinformation. To properly prepare to join the cannabis space, as with new professional venture, education is key.
We’ve compiled a list of the top cannabis education programs available in the United States, and how you can access them. Start training today and you’ll be ready for legalization tomorrow!
Oaksterdam University (Oakland, CA)
Top honors for one of the most prestigious cannabis educational outlets goes to Oaksterdam University, one of America’s first cannabis-focused educational institutions. Oaksterdam was founded in 2007 by Richard Lee, who also founded the Hemp Research Company and the Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance. The faculty and staff contains an impressive array of instructors, including the famous advocate Dale Sky Jones and the highly respected horticulturist Ed Rosenthal. Oaksterdam also features classes taught by an extensive number of lawyers specializing in cannabis law. For those seeking to enter or expand in the cannabis industry, as the University puts it, “our legal professors not only teach you about the law, they helped write the law.”
HERE: Typical courses offered: Indoor & Outdoor Horticulture
Price per classic semester: $37/hour or $1295;
Length of courses: 14 Weeks – $1295, 2 Days: $545 – 845
Go here if you are: Fully committed to pursuing a career in the cannabis industry. Oaksterdam’s classes require a commitment of a $100 application fee.
Cannabis Career Institute (location varies)
Cannabis Career Institute was founded by Robert Calkin, an instructor at Oaksterdam University, who specializes in the specifics of starting a delivery service. The training center is specifically focused on providing support and guidance for those seeking to enter the medical marijuana industry, particularly in relation to maintaining compliance with laws and regulations. Classes are held daily at the affordable cost of $349 for the semester, offering certificates in cultivation, business management, edibles operation, budtending and dispensary management. Cannabis Career Institute holds regular seminars in cities across the country, but has no permanent campus. Events are often held in up-and-coming cities with newly passed cannabis laws, such as Little Rock, Arkansas and Orlando, Florida.
HERE: Typical courses offered: Cultivation, Business, Edibles, Budtending, Dispensary Management
Price per event: $349 or $499 for VIP Tickets
Length of courses: 1 day, 10:00am – 7:00pm
Go here if you are: Looking for a crash course in how to start your own cannabis business. The classes require tuition be paid as part of reserving a spot in the class.
THC University (Online)
THC University is a great option for those who are on the go, but still interested in joining the cannabis industry. Offering online classes with 24 hours support, THC University has seven certification courses: Horticulture Specialist, Budtender Certification, Cannabis Business, Safety and Regulations (Colorado), Safety and Regulations (Washington), and Cannabis Products Course. Master horticulturist Jorge Cervantes leads the instruction and students are required to pass courses with at least 90 percent, all but guaranteeing you will get your money’s worth.
HERE: Typical courses offered: Horticulture, Budtender Certification, Safety Regulations
Price per class:$49 per month, up to $449 per course
Length of courses: Most students complete the course within 3 – 6 months
Go here if you are: a self-motivated learner who needs a flexible schedule. Learn on your own time with 24-hour online support.
Cannabis Training University (Online)
Cannabis Training University offers online courses and once enrolled, students have a full year of access to courses, videos, and ebooks. This is a great option for students with limited time, or unusual hours to devote to learning more about the cannabis industry, and students are encouraged to learn at their own pace, from any device, including laptops, tablets, and cell phones. CTU was founded in 2009 in San Francisco as a platform for live seminars that covered as many aspects of the cannabis industry as possible in a 2-day span. The university was expanded in 2011 after successful, but limited seminars, to offer more hours of curricula to students worldwide at an affordable rate. Ed Rosenthal’s texts comprise much of the ebooks available, but courses from a number of other scientists, chefs, attorneys, horticulturists, and noted MagicalButter CEO, Garyn Angel, are also included.
HERE: Typical courses offered: Growing, Cooking, Budtending, Laws & Regulations, How to Open a Dispensary & Delivery Service
Price per year: $249
Length of courses: Students are provided access to course materials for one year.
Go here if you are: Limited on available time to learn, but interested in earning certifications to enter the cannabis industry.
Clover Leaf University (Denver, CO & Online)
Clover Leaf University offers course in general cannabis education, but also specializes in understanding cannabis laws, cannabis business, and cultivation and budtender certification. The Clover Leaf campus is located in downtown Denver, but they also offer regular webinars and online courses for those looking to learn more about entering the competitive cannabis industry. Acclaimed cultivator Ed Rosenthal is a regular contributing faculty member, along with a host of other talented and experienced teachers in the cannabis sphere.
HERE: Typical courses offered: Understanding Cannabis Laws, Budtender Certification, Cultivation Certification, Cannabis Business
Price per course: $99 to $399.00, $499 to $2,000
Length of courses: 2 to 4 hour courses, 3-day certification programs
Go here if you are: curious to get into the cannabis industry, but not yet in a cannabis-legal market
The Trichome Institute (Denver, CO & Online)
The Trichome Institute offers online training for sales and budtending, but their specialty involves a process known as “interpening,” in which students are taught to identify and understand the various cannabis strains by interpreting the plant’s terpene profile and flower structure. The interpening training course is comparable to a class for a wine sommelier, for students to be able to detect subtle and unique features of different cannabis strains through the use of guidebooks, infographics, and certification courses. The Terpening Training courses have two levels, both of which require a one-day training course held at the Colorado Free University, complete with an exam for Level 2 students. Trichome Institute also offers a Responsible Vendor course, licensed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Marijuana Enforcement Division, which can greatly benefit marijuana businesses in Colorado. The Responsible Vendor course is taught in conjunction with Hemp Temps, a staffing agency for the cannabis industry, guaranteeing you an extra level of expertise.
HERE: Typical courses offered: Products & Sales Training for Budtenders, Manufacture & Application Safety, Responsible Vendor courses, Interpening Training (Level 1&2)
Price per class: $125 – 249
Length of courses: Courses are 3-4 hours long, held once a month, or available online.
Go here if you are: Serious about entering the cannabis industry full compliant with a focus on expertise and product safety.
Now go forth and learn!