M State launches program to prepare students for Cannabis industry careers

M State launches program to prepare students for Cannabis industry careers

The college is offering nine-week, online programs in cannabis cultivation, retail and extraction and product development.

A local college has begun offering training for students interested in careers in the cannabis industry.

Minnesota State Community and Technical College, or M State, announced Wednesday, Jan. 24 that it has partnered with national cannabis education and training leader Green Flower to offer three certificate programs.

Craig Beytien, M State’s vice president of strategic engagement, said the offering is due to anticipated high demand in the fast-growing industry.

“I think it's going to become a very large industry across the United States, so we try to keep our finger on the pulse of what the community needs and wants,” he said.

Each of the cannabis certificate programs is nine weeks long and offered entirely online.

Students can begin at any time and complete the program at their own pace, an M State news release said.

Specialties include cannabis cultivation, which provides instruction in indoor or outdoor grow operations and launching a cultivation business; cannabis retail, where students gain credibility and knowledge to work in a cannabis dispensary or start their own dispensary; and cannabis extraction and product development, focusing on creation and manufacture of cannabis products including edibles, tinctures and topicals.

Students also learn about industry regulations and tips for running a small business.

The cost for the nine-week program is $750, with a payment plan option available.

M State said it is the first two-year college in greater Minnesota and the third among all Minnesota State system colleges and universities to offer cannabis education.

In August 2023, Minnesota became the 23rd state in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Large-scale retail sales are expected to begin in 2025 with the licensing of growers and businesses, according to the Minnesota Office of Cannabis Management.

With that will come an anticipated increase in the number of jobs required for the industry.

“We’re excited to be one of the first higher education institutions in the state to offer cannabis education,” says GL Tucker, executive director of M State’s Workforce Development Solutions. “We have a longstanding reputation for aligning our training programs with the workforce needs of our region, and these new cannabis certificate programs are a continuation of that tradition. We know cannabis is a fast-growing industry, and we know there’s a need for skilled cannabis workers and entrepreneurs. These new certificates create a credible pathway for people to get into the workforce and fill that need.”

WDS is the workforce development branch of M State working with Green Flower to offer the cannabis certificates.

Green Flower is the national leader in cannabis education, providing comprehensive on-demand training for cannabis professionals. The company has worked with business leaders and government agencies since 2014, as well as higher education institutions like M State.

“Green Flower is thrilled to be partnering with Minnesota State Community and Technical College to offer our three cannabis industry training certificate programs,” said Daniel Kalef, Green Flower's chief growth officer. “With adult use cannabis now legal in Minnesota, we are seeing tremendous interest in the growing cannabis industry and are thrilled at the opportunity for people to gain the knowledge and expertise to be successful in this industry through our partnership.

Beytien said M State typically only offers courses it can deliver on its own, by providing the instructor, the curriculum, etc.

But through the “revenue share” partnership, Green Flower is responsible for the complete student experience, from registration to instruction.

“Like other highly regulated industries, the need to have expertise in material handling, quality control, patient care, security, transportation, horticulture and more is vital to the success of all aspects of the industry, and all things people will learn in these programs,” said Daniel Kalef, chief growth officer at Green Flower.

Beytien launched a similar program at University of Wisconsin–Platteville before coming to M State and said it quickly became one of their most popular.

The cannabis industry, he said, is far from a fad.

“This is a sustainable industry that in time will establish the standards of retail and standards of delivery, at the same time having the burden of a lot of regulation that governs it,” Beytien said.

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Region: Minnesota

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