INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Ohio has issued its first licenses for marijuana growing facilities in the state.
By this time next year, the medical marijuana program is expected to be fully up and running. That means people who qualify will be able to buy medical marijuana from a licensed dispensary and take the drug.
The new industry means new jobs, and there’s a local college that specializes solely on cannabis.
The Cleveland Cannabis College is the first and only brick and mortar medical marijuana school in the state.
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“A lot of people come in and they don’t expect to see what they see. They expect to see a bunch of Bob Marleys and bongs on the walls,” said Richard Pine, Cleveland Cannabis College Dean of Recruitment and Public Relations. “We educate in a way to combat that stigma.”
Medical marijuana is a mulch-billion-dollar industry that shows no signs of slowing down. The drug is now legal in 29 states, including Ohio.
“Cannabis is not a cure-all by any means, but it absolutely has its place in the medical community,” said Pine.
A new report by New Frontier Data projects the legal cannabis market to create more than a quarter of a million jobs by 2020, which why people, like Pine, are investing in the business.
“We knew that it was a good idea, that Ohio needed it, that Ohio needed us,” he said.
Pine said the curriculum is broken down by majors:
Medical applications of cannabis
“Some jobs, like budtender, will be available, grower in the facility of cultivation jobs, processing jobs, manufacturing jobs,” said Donelle Watson, Cleveland Cannabis College Director of Advising and Student Success.
Watson expects Ohio to add more than 2,000 cannabis jobs in 2018.
One person eyeing the medical marijuana industry is Bob Kovach. He’s one of more than 60 students at the college.
“There’s a lot of varied interest. Some people want to grow marijuana, some people want to help in the medical industry,” Kovach said.
He said he just wrapped up his first quarter.
“I had to do a lot of studying outside of the class, I had to go home and really apply myself and I was surprised at how well I was able to do and how much I was able to learn,” he said.
Instructors cover cannabis history, cultivation and training. There’s also electives, like cooking with cannabis.
“We’re real and we’re here and this is something that’s serious. This is something not to be taken lightly, it’s not a joke,” said Watson.
Not only are the courses real, Pine said the pay is, too.
“Entry-level positions in the 35, 45, 55,000 up to the six-figures for a dispensaries manager or an experienced gardener,” he said.
Cleveland Cannabis College is not accredited, but it’s in the process of getting a special type of verification from the state.
Majors are slated to take students about 12 months. The only pre-req is a GED.
The college already so successful, they’re talking about expanding next year.