Worcester Polytechnic Institute is going green for the new semester.
The university in Worcester, Massachusetts, is partnering with cannabis education company, Green Flower, to offer four cannabis qualification certificates for those interested in pursuing a career in the growing industry.
“The Massachusetts market is growing so fast from a cannabis perspective and that really needs well-trained people to be able to supply the industry with high-quality talent,” Green Flower CEO Max Simon said.
According to Simon, his California-based company has partnerships with universities all over the country to offer online curriculum -- but this is the first in Massachusetts.
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“We’re very excited about this partnership with WPI though because of the fact that the Massachusetts cannabis industry is really one of the best in the country in terms of economic growth, in terms of career opportunity and in terms of just acceptance within the space,” he said.
Green Flower provides the instructors, and there are four programs focusing on the industry: Cannabis Healthcare & Medicine; Cannabis Law & Policy; The Business of Cannabis; and Cannabis Agriculture and Horticulture.
“You really can’t separate chemistry out from the cannabis industry,” said Anita Mattson, WPI’s head of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Mattson hopes those interested in the certificates will later pursue their passion within the university’s labs. The school does offer a master’s program with a focus on medicinal chemistry.
“Or you could just come on site and learn these hands-on techniques just so you could be ready to hit the ground running when you got your career opportunity in the cannabis industry,” she said.
But Mattson wants to clear the air about one thing...the school isn’t about just growing pot.
“We’re not dealing with THC rich cannabis here on WPI's campus. What we’re actually dealing with is cannabis plants with low THC levels and these are referred to as hemp plants,” she explained. “But all of the skills and techniques people will be learning on the hemp is exactly the same you would need for any aspect of the cannabis industry.”
Green Flower says it’s seen hundreds of inquiries, and they expect to fill their first cohort by the Sept. 9 deadline. The classes cost just under $3,000 for six months. Click here to learn more.
"Sometimes people snicker when they hear cannabis education because there's still a little bit of a stigma attached to it," Simon noted, "but this is a very fast growing industry full of very passionate people.”