New Mexico’s adult-use cannabis market is maturing at a rapid pace, and the cannabis education market is growing right alongside it. Marijuana students can now find courses in cannabis business that will give the budding entrepreneurs a chance to live their marijuana dreams.
As the market grows up, opportunities for employment will grow more scarce, and companies will be looking for employees with specialized knowledge in the field. If New Mexico follows the same trends as cannabis markets in other parts of the country and the world, oversaturation of industry players will inevitably lead to staff trimming and budget cuts for cannabis businesses. Last year this very thing happened to the industry’s biggest players. In January, Canada-based industry leader Tilray announced it would be laying off 25 percent of its workforce to compensate for profit losses. Cannabis giant Canopy Growth said in February that it planned to lay off 60 percent of its employees. Last month Curaleaf announced it would be laying off around eight percent of its workers.
All of these companies have been operating in mature markets that—as is the case with New Mexico now—experienced a Green Rush as entrepreneurs attempted to cash in on what seemed like a market with limitless potential.
But as New Mexico companies are already seeing, there’s only so much money to go around.
That means aspiring cannabis professionals have to work hard to find an edge. For those considering a career in the industry, taking the time to fortify your resume with some cannabis education is probably a good idea.
It’s also a great place to find out which aspects of the industry are most appealing. The industry used to be run by jacks-of-all-trades, but now you’ll find experts in cannabis cultivation, extraction, business and finance, retail and marketing. Finding out which sector is most suitable could be as difficult as finding a job in the industry.
University of New Mexico
UNM offers a well-rounded cannabis education program with numerous courses delving into the top sectors of the cannabis market and taught by experts in their fields. It offers the most comprehensive program available in the state and is considered the top of its class at the moment.
The program offers four certifications through four six-month online courses.
The Cannabis Healthcare and Medicine course teaches students about the medical application of cannabis. The course was designed specifically for health care and retail professionals who want to learn about the science behind medical cannabis.
The Cannabis Agriculture and Horticulture course will guide aspiring producers through the process of cultivating cannabis crops for retail sale. Students will learn about genetics, cultivation techniques, indoor and outdoor growing methods, pest management and sustainable practices. This course will help prepare students for large-scale crop management.
The Business of Cannabis course gets students ready to face the unique challenges presented by the marijuana industry. They will be taught about the specific retail needs of cannabis businesses, management, marketing, human resources and even cannabis real estate. The course is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the business side of the industry.
The Cannabis Compliance and Risk Management course will guide students through the complex and often confusing world of government compliance. They will learn to navigate state cannabis regulations, licensing and security protocols as well as develop an understanding of industry best practices, legal frameworks and compliance standards. Compliance professionals are extremely sought after as company’s often find it difficult to stay up-to-date on current regulations.
Northern New Mexico College
NNMC offers cannabis courses that are designed to train up-and-coming cannabis and hemp professionals in a number of aspects related to the industry.
In its Cannabis and Hemp Enterprises (CHE) program, students will learn to become informed and ethical managers, business owners, investors and advocates in the legal cannabis industry. They will also be taught about the unique challenges that the cannabis industry faces.
The course covers the history of cannabis, the legal system, economics, product literacy, building a business plan and strategies for succeeding in the marketplace.
The course only runs in the spring so keep an eye out for when it will be scheduled next.
Those looking to get an education in cannabis don’t have to attend a college course to learn. One of the leading cannabis educators in New Mexico is SeedCrest, a staffing firm that offers cannabis training. In the past, the company has worked with Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) and Northern New Mexico College (NNMC) to provide the Cannabis Establishment Technician (CET) Certificate program.
But students can sign up for online courses directly from SeedCrest on their website.
To receive the HIPAA Certificate for Cannabis Professionals, students learn how to apply HIPPA regulations to the cannabis industry and how to handle personal medical information provided by medical cannabis patients and adult-use consumers. The class renews annually.
For the Budtending Certificate, SeedCrest partnered with Oaksterdam University to present a course that will prepare professionals entering into the retail cannabis job market. Students will learn the critical skills and knowledge necessary for a career as the public face of a cannabis dispensary. Cannabis history, science and industry will be covered so that budtenders have a working knowledge of the ins and outs of the marijuana business.
The Cannabis Server Curriculum was designed to bring cannabis business managers and servers into compliance with the state’s adult-use cannabis law. The course focuses on fundamental skills needed to serve customers in a safe and healthy way. The permit is good for three years before it needs to be renewed.
The Cannabis Establishment Technician and Cannabis Facility Agent courses offer certified job training for licensed cannabis operators and employees in both the adult-use and medical cannabis market.
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