Two New Courses Added to KPU’s Cannabis Professional Series

The classes will be available online beginning fall 2018

Nat Mussell

With the introduction of the Cannabis Professional Series nearly two years ago, Kwantlen Polytechnic University began training Canadians to work in the emerging medical and recreational cannabis industry.

The online program, which began in anticipation of future legalization, initially consisted of three courses: “Plant Production & Facility Management”, “Marketing, Sales, and Drug Development”, and “Financing a Cannabis Enterprise in Canada”.

Now, KPU is offering an additional two courses—“Retail Cannabis Consultant” and “Cannabis Cultivation Technician”—that are slated to begin in fall 2018.

The “Retail Cannabis Consultant” course will “provide the industry with what is essentially an expert,” explains Dr. Salvador Ferreras, the Provost and Vice-President Academic of Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Students will be taught about customer service, client privacy and security, record keeping, product quality assessment, administrative duties, use of tools and technology, complying with laws, regulations and protocols, and the process of selecting, handling, and dispensing cannabis products.

The course curriculum will also cover the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for the psychoactive effect of cannabis products.

“You’ll end up with a specialist that can work in any outlet anywhere, having a full understanding of the full context of the industry and where it might be going,” says Ferreras.

The “Cannabis Cultivation Technician” course focuses on plant production. It consists of both online material and an in-field component, during which students will work with licensed cannabis growers in Langley.

In order to adhere to upcoming legislation, the course will follow the federally applicable Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).

Students will learn about crop cycles, interior growing, climate control, pest management, drying and packaging, waste management, transportation, and trimming, which are all regulated under the ACMPR.

While the quality control measures set by the ACMPR will be applicable nationwide, the retail side of the industry will vary from province to province.

Once each province has released a distribution plan, the information will be factored into CPS courses so that the program can be deemed acceptable throughout Canada.

Presently, the five courses offered in the Cannabis Professional Series are for completion, but are not yet accredited. KPU is working towards offering credit-bearing programs, certificates, diplomas, and degrees for the Cannabis Professional Series, but, because the field is so new, there is currently no accrediting body for the programs being offered.

“The governance process at the university is very rigorous and it could take [up to] two years to get these programs through,” says Ferreras.

Courses in the Cannabis Professional Series are taught by industry experts from both Canada and the United States. They use a combination of lectures, exercises, and assignments similar to most in-class programs at KPU.

As Canada’s cannabis industry grows, they plan to continue developing new courses for the Cannabis Professional Series. Already, it has attracted an enormous amount of interest; the available student space in the program has already been doubled since it was founded two years ago.

“There’s going to be a lot more research done in the field,” says Ferreras. “The truth is that we have not determined the full range of what we’ll be offering … because we don’t know where the industry is going.”

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