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DENVER (KDVR) — Since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012 and with talks of federal legalization, the cannabis industry is becoming increasingly competitive. Now, there are educational opportunities for it.  

A new cannabis education program at the University of Denver’s University College is hoping to develop the industry’s workforce in a legitimate way.  

The program, led by Green Flower, has different tracks: The Business of Cannabis, Health care and Medicine, Agriculture and Horticulture, and the newest program, Cannabis Compliance and Risk Management.

Green Flower said those are the areas of the industry where skilled workers are most in demand, and getting potential employees’ credibility will help them stand out.

“These programs are incredibly important because they become the training ground to make sure people really understand how to operate in this industry and operate compliantly. They also give you a leg up because they will allow you to show an employer or to somebody who’s hiring that you really have a credible source of knowledge and training to really contribute to the business,” said Max Simon, Green Flower CEO.  

“With it being ever-changing and being really on the forefront of understanding that change and navigating that complexity, it is really critical for businesses and the cannabis industry at this time,” said Teri Markle, associate dean of Continuing Education at DU’s University College.  

Now according to Green Flower, the vast majority of people taking these classes are cannabis enthusiasts or they’re coming from existing professional backgrounds and they’re looking for ways to get into the cannabis industry.     

DU said the opportunity to have industry experts like Green Flower be the organization leading the class gives students a practical firsthand look at what’s going on in the industry. These courses could help students to either reskill or upskill in the area that they’re studying, and it ultimately increases their chances of landing a job.   

Meanwhile, these classes are bucking the possible stigma of cannabis education. 

“The goal of this and our partnership with Green Flower is our shared mission. To provide education and prepare and train a competent, responsible, passionate and knowledgeable future cannabis workforce. So, it definitely goes beyond just learning about marijuana. It’s really the business and the science behind it as well,” said Markle.  

“Sometimes people snicker a little when they hear cannabis education. But the truth is, this is a fast-growing industry that has an amazing culture and lots of opportunity. For the right person, this is really a dream come true,” said Simon.  

The program at DU started in March 2022 and has four tracks with three courses for each track, eight weeks per session and then it takes six months to complete and the students will get a certificate and a digital badge.  

Jan. 19 is the last day you can register for the class.