Photography via iStock

Ontario Students Can Now Go To College and Learn to Grow Weed

Though “no cannabis will be consumed” while class is in session, students will be schooled on the practices of cannabis production and groomed for success in the biz.

Inside a brand new, state-of-the-art facility, Niagara College Students in the Commercial Cannabis Production (CCP) program are now learning to grow and harvest marijuana, hoping to go on to pursue careers working as operation managers, quality control and assurance personnel, and so on. (And though the College says that “no cannabis will be consumed” as part of the program, you might be thinking: a career in quality control? Hmmmm.)

On September 5, 2018, the first cohort of students to participate in the launch of Canada’s first post-secondary program in the production of commercial cannabis witnessed a ribbon ceremony on the Niagara-on-the-lake Campus. In order for the program to run, the College obtained an exemption license from Health Canada for education and research purposes. Students are trained in the cultivation and practices of cannabis production, while also learning how to navigate Health Canada’s strict regulatory framework that governs the industry.

Photography courtesy of Niagara College

“As the industry grows, it’s important that we hire employees with cannabis-specific knowledge,” said Jeff Ryan, vice president of Government and Stakeholder Relations at Canopy Growth Corp. “By partnering with Niagara College, we will be educating the next generation of experts while giving them a head start in a very competitive market through new development and career opportunities.”

And the demand for a head start in the ever growing marijuana industry showed in the number of applicants to the program in its first year. Only 24 students were accepted out of 300 applicants.

Not to mention that since its announcement in 2017, the CCP has received international media attention and applicants from across the country. John Skilnyk, one of the program’s first students from Dawson City, Yukon, is hopeful about the options he’ll have in the market after earning his certificate.

“It’s exciting to be a part of the first class of such a unique program,” Skilnyk said. “I look forward to the opportunity to learn, hands-on in the production of cannabis, but also learn about the evolving regulatory environment and the unique business aspects of the industry.”