The Oakton Community College in Illinois now offers a cannabis course to train students who want to work in the industry.
According to Herald & Review, the class teaches students about molecular biology, drug laws and how cannabis has been used to treat illnesses.
Described as “pretty intense” by the students who take the course, this certificate offers practical knowledge to help students can land a job, even though they are prohibited from actually handling cannabis at school, lest the college lose its federal funding. The curriculum consists of seven courses, and those who take the class end up trained to work in either the recreational or medical cannabis fields.
So far, there are about 100 students taking the course, with about 20 hoping to complete it this semester, just in time to start working in the field in January 2020 when cannabis will be officially legal in the state. The course currently is made up of 12 credit hours, and students in the class are all different ages and from different walks of life.
“The curriculum is driven by what the industry needs, what they’re looking for in an employee,” said Ileo Lott, vice president for academic affairs. “They’re looking for people who know how to work with chronically ill patients and understand what they need. They’re not looking for enthusiasts who love to use the product.”
So far, in Illinois, budtender positions pay about $14 per hour, and a dispensary manager averages around $53,000 annually. The hope of those working on this educational program is that all cannabis workers will eventually become salaried employees.