Many weed derivatives have grown in popularity because of the cannabis industry boom, so it should be no surprise that one of the lanes experiencing growth has been weed college. But is weed college legitimate or a scam? Here we unpack what weed college is, how you can apply, and provide you with enough insight so you can decide if it’s something even worth applying to.
What Is Weed College?
There seems to be a new “cannabis college” in the headlines each week or one that has recently launched. These “colleges” are basically certification programs that prepare you for a life working within the cannabis industry. Most of these programs are online and offer a variety of certifications in marijuana vertices like growing, cooking, medical, trimming, marijuana law, budtending, and general marijuana business. While being certified might look great on the resume of someone who is looking for work in the cannabis industry, it doesn’t come without a price tag, and most of these “cannabis colleges” will happily accept your payment for courses and admissions, without any of the real vetting processes that take place at accredited universities and schools.
Accredited Vs. Non-Accredited
Because marijuana is not federally legal in the United States, marijuana related “degrees” aren’t subject to accreditation agencies, meaning that unless you are studying a minor in cannabis or some slice of the cannabis industry at an accredited, public school, there’s no regulatory body to determine if your “cannabis education” is quality. As of the printing of this article, your best bet in pursuing a cannabis education is to stick with a well-known accredited public college or university and take classes, courses or pursue a minor concentration within the school. This ensures that because the school itself is accredited, any course work you complete related to cannabis will also count in the eyes of your future employer. Whereas, a certificate from an online “cannabis school” may not thread the needle, particularly if you decide you don’t want to work in the cannabis industry in the future.
Cannabis colleges are legal so long as they do not sell or possess physical marijuana. The pop up for-profit schools you might see ads for on Instagram fall under this umbrella, particularly because they are also predominantly based online. However, as mentioned above, these for-profit cannaschools are a risky bet because of the lack of oversight. With accredited public colleges and universities, there are agencies in place to ensure the schools are operating at a sufficient education level. With for-profit cannaschools, it’s currently the wild wild west, where you could be learning valuable information about the industry, but whether or not that helps you land a job and become successful in the cannabis space is largely unproven and untested.
The Application Process
If you decide a cannabis certification is the path for you, it’s a pretty straightforward process to get started. A simple Google search will reveal an assortment of cannabis schools and certification courses, all of which you can sign up for – and pay for – from the comfort of your own home. Courses range in price anywhere from $200 to $2,000, so be prepared to shell out some dough for your online learning experience. Again, there’s no real “admissions” process as there is with traditional schools and colleges, so one benefit is that for these cannabis certifications, you won’t need to write a college essay, you won’t have to visit a campus, you won’t have to meet with any admissions counselors – all you’ll have to do is open your checkbook or type in your debit or credit card and you’ll be on your way to being cannacertified.
Do I Even Need A Degree?
Having a degree in cannabis is absolutely not a requirement for success, at least not at the moment, especially if branding and marketing is your focus. While there may be boatloads of beneficial information in a cannabis course, it’s by no means a gateway or guarantee to making a ton of money or landing your first job. Like any passion or goal, it’s better to first figure out what you really want to do, and then look at all of the different ways in which you can learn what you need to learn in order to accomplish your goals. If you feel a cannabis certification plan is part of your trajectory, go for it! Otherwise, there’s no need to jump the gun and get cannacertified just because it’s cool to have on your resume. If that’s your motivation, you’re better off spending your money on weed.