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UA establishes new cannabis certification program

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Z Saenz/SBS Tech/UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences | The Daily Wildcat

Marijuana on a table in front of a University of Arizona flag.

The University of Arizona has announced the launch of a cannabis certificate program, preparing students for a professional career in the budding legal cannabis industry.

The program intends to meet the rising demand in workforce needs for the growing cannabis industry, which according to the 2021 Leafly Jobs Report supports over 321,000 jobs across the country.

The UA has partnered with cannabis education platform Green Flower to enact the project, and is one of only several other universities across the country to create a cannabis certification program. Other universities with similar programs include the University of New Mexico and Syracuse University.

The program offers three separate focuses, including the business of cannabis, cannabis law and policy and cannabis healthcare and medicine. Each certificate course begins with a Cannabis 101 class that teaches the culture and history of the cannabis industry, followed by two specialized classes that pertain to the specified certificate focus.

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The Daily Wildcat spoke with Craig Wilson, the vice provost for Online, Distance and Continuing Education at the UA, who noted the flexibility of the program as one of its more prominent features.

“[The program] allows learners to get multiple viewpoints for the industry itself,” Wilson said.

All of the classes for the program are entirely virtual and asynchronous, meaning students will be able to complete the weekly activities and assignments on their own time over the course of eight weeks. The class instructors are cannabis industry experts, ranging from board-certified physicians and cannabis entrepreneurs to attorneys and public policy professionals.

Upon completion of the program, students will receive a certificate of completion from the University of Arizona Continuing and Professional Education, as well as access to the Green Flower Employer Network. 

Wilson said he believes that the cannabis industry will continue to grow, given that in one year of legalization Arizona has already eclipsed over $1 billion in sales. As the legal cannabis trade continues to develop, Wilson said he anticipates that the certificate program will contribute to the increasing workforce demands and serve to professionalize the space.

“As this burgeoning industry continues to evolve, the more folks who have the best information available to them continue to help the industry grow and grow in a way that continues to provide levels of professionalism,” Wilson said.

The certificate program costs $2,950 to register, but a $500 registration discount is attainable for those participating in the first cohort. The first cohort of the certificate program begins on March 7, and additional cohorts will be offered in May, July, September and November of this year. 

For more information on the program, visit ce.arizona.edu/classes/cannabis-certificate-program.


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