CZEN 420: Ryerson’s new cannabis course

BY JESSE CECCHETTO

On Oct 17, cannabis legalization will be fully in effect. It’s bound to have far-reaching effects on communities, including our education system. 

Marijuana, cannabis, pot, whatever you want to call it, it will soon be legal for purchase across the country.  

Not long from now, your children could be finishing high school and heading off to university to pursue a career in pot. 

They won’t necessarily be strolling down fields of vibrant green cannabis plants contemplating which strain helps back pain the best.  

Young entrepreneurs and cannabis enthusiasts alike now have the opportunity to attend university to study the business side of cannabis. 

Brad Poulos is an expert in cannabis business and medical marijuana, and is now the professor for Ryerson’s Chang School of Continuing Education business of cannabis course. 

Named CZEN 420: The Business of Cannabis, this brand-new introductory course will give students a unique insight into the constantly evolving Canadian cannabis industry. 

“It’s not really job training. What we’re trying to do is just give people who would like to enter the industry a little bit of insight into the industry they wouldn’t have otherwise. Also, for people who would like to start a company, give them a little bit of a leg up,” says Poulos. 

Since Canada is in the very early stages of cannabis legalization, students have the opportunity to get involved in an industry that will be constantly evolving and adapting.  

Naturally, this uncertainty means that cannabis courses will be subject to change. “The world’s changing so quickly, it will be evolving literally as we teach it,” Poulos says. 

An estimated $23 billion industry, the Canadian cannabis industry is rapidly growing, and with legalization on the smoky horizon, there’s no stop in sight. “It will by far be the fastest growing industry in Canada for some time,” Poulos says. 

Poulos says that this isn’t the first time he’s been in the frontlines of an industry that’s rapidly taken off. “This is the second time I’ve been involved with an industry that’s taken off like crazy. The first time was the Dot-Com era.” 

It’s no surprise that major corporations such as Corona’s beermaker, Constellation Brands, has invested $4 billion in Canada’s top cannabis producer, Canopy Growth. 

Canopy Growth Corp (CGC) stock over the last year.

The Canadian cannabis industry is exploding, and it has both corporations and education providers at full attention. 

While Ryerson’s Chang School of Continuing Education is the first university in Ontario to offer a business of cannabis course, Canada is home to over a dozen cannabis related post-secondary programs. 

Niagara College, Durham College, and Loyalist College are just a few of the schools with cannabis courses, while school’s including Mcgill University, and Ottawa University are planning on offering a cannabis cultivation and cannabis law program next year. 

If you’re a cannabis enthusiast who doesn’t plan on embracing your green thumb at Niagara College’s cannabis cultivation course, then maybe Ryerson’s business of cannabis course could be more to your liking. 

Although CZEN 420: The Business of Cannabis is an introductory course, according to the course details “it is strongly recommended that students have an understanding of basic business concepts”. 

Poulos also notes that while the course does focus on the business side of the cannabis industry, “most of the people in the class are actually pretty already savvy when it comes to cannabis.”  

So even if you don’t have an opinion on whether “Super Lemon Haze” or “Maui Wowie” is more effective for treating insomnia, it might be handy to know your way around a strain or two. 

 As you could Imagine, Ryerson’s course filled up fast. Although the fall semester is full, Ryerson’s Chang School of Continuing Education is taking applicants for future semesters.  

If you’re interested in putting down the joint and picking up a textbook, you can contact program coordinator Melissa Johnson at m1johnso@ryerson.ca.

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