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This week, Joe Barnard, chief academic officer, and Daniel Kalef, VP for higher education, discuss Green Flower's cannabis education platform that offers everything from one-off training sessions to educational programs at nine universities across the United States. The programs offer students the ability to become certified in cannabis cultivation, business, law and policy and healthcare.
The company started out as a direct-to-consumer educational portal, trying to educate people on the benefits of cannabis and remove the negative social stigma. Green Flower has since evolved into an educational hub that white labels cannabis industry business certifications for partner universities.
Each program includes three, eight-week courses that offer a mix of online learning as well as project work, including growing a plant.
The rigorous programs offer a high-quality curriculum to a previously untapped market. Since early adopters Florida Atlantic University and Northern Michigan University began offering the program, seven more have come online.
While you would expect the partner universities to be located in states where cannabis is legal, one of the most popular programs is at the University of Wisconsin - Platteville. The Platteville program has the third highest enrollment and its located in a state where cannabis remains illegal.
Student demographics vary, but since the programs launched, initial interest has come from adults looking to change career paths and industry workers looking for a leg-up in career advancement. Green Flower is building a network of businesses to help place students who complete the program.
Acceptance and buy-in has been an uphill battle for Green Flower as universities and even students push back against the stigma of being affiliated with a "weed school." However, the popularity of the programs, and the likelihood of further legalization in 2021, will continue to change their minds.