KPU’s Cannabis Professional Series May Not Be Good for Surrey

The Niagara College of Applied Arts and Technology has become the first institution in North America to offer a certificate program in the production of commercial cannabis. The course is open to any post-graduate student with a degree in the faculty of Horticulture, though potential students must be eligible to apply for an Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations licence, and are required to undergo a police check before being admitted.

As it is a part of the School of Environment and Horticulture, Niagara College’s program is focused more on plant nutrition, quality of crops, and budgeting operations than it is on buying and selling cannabis itself.

Though not a certificate program, Kwantlen Polytechnic University also offers a suite of courses about marijuana called the Cannabis Professional Series. Unlike the one at Niagara College, KPU’s program has no pre-requisites and is open to all students. Although it offers university-level classes, they are all online and not for credit.

With Surrey’s high crime and gang activity, I can’t help but wonder if this is what the city needs right now. According to crime data from Statistics Canada, Surrey is number 10 on the list of cities with the greatest drug violations, with 552.48 violations listed in last year’s report, compared to the Canadian average of 268.95. Four other B.C. were in the top 10 as well, with violation counts as high as 937 over a year.

KPU’s Cannabis Professional Series offers courses such as “Plant Production & Facility Management”, ”Marketing, Sales & Drug Development”, and “Financing a Cannabis Enterprise in Canada”. Although it’s somewhat more business-focused than Niagara College’s program, I feel that some sort of background check or pre-requisite should still be required for students to be admitted. Something as simple as offering the Cannabis Professional Series to students with a good academic standing or a history in Business or Horticulture at KPU would make the program safer for the community.

Obviously, if these courses were taught in a classroom, the instructors may have a better feel for who they are teaching drug-related information to and what their intentions are. But with strictly online classes and no required background check, I can’t help but be concerned that someone may take these courses for the wrong reasons.

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