Northwest Missouri State University has partnered with Green Flower, a cannabis education provider to offer non-credit certificate programs.
The program includes The Business of Cannabis, Cannabis Agriculture and Horticulture, Cannabis Law and Policy and Cannabis Healthcare and Medicine.
All courses are offered fully online and are divided into three eight-week courses.
“Well, in the business of that enterprise certificate, it’s not designed to start your own marijuana farm or marijuana business, it’s more designed to help people get jobs,” Dr. Jay Johnson, associate provost of academic operations and development with Northwest Missouri State University, said. “They could have a management degree, but the problem is going to be they have no idea what they’re going to do if they were to join that industry. There’s a lot of just things you need to know, around law and around chemistry.”
Daniel Kalef, vice president of university partnership at Green Flower, said the company has been around for five years, but started the partnership with schools about a year and half ago.
“Out of demand really, that we saw from companies in the cannabis industry who were saying they couldn’t hire qualified people to work, everything from seed to sale, they all said they wanted to be in the industry, but didn’t really know anything about it,” Kalef said. “There’s a lot of intricacies within the industry as you can imagine […] and then we heard from practitioners, like doctors and lawyers and marketing people and HR specialists who said they’re not necessarily in the industry, but they’re affected by it in states where it’s legal.”
Currently in the region, Missouri, Iowa and Arkansas have allowed medical marijuana, Nebraska has decriminalized it, Illinois has legalized it and it is still fully illegal in Kansas.
Green Flower’s education program includes board-certified doctors and lawyers along with experts in engineering and agriculture.
Northwest is the seventh university to partner with Green Flower and is the first in the region.
“We’re not looking to have every university in the country as a partner, we really want to be strategic and Northwest Missouri State is a really great and interesting school,” Kalef said. “The fact that their main campus is in a little more rural area, but that continuing ed is based in Kansas City, which is a testament to the reach that they have.”
Johnson said they plan to start these programs in November, “What we’re seeing in the industry, in higher education industry a lot more is people are wanting to have these micro credentials, micro certificates, more specific experience, learning experiences for their immediate needs and they don’t necessarily care about the university credit,” Johnson said.