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How one online university helps entrepreneurs start their own cannabis business

May 23, 2019

The Brightfield Group is expecting the cannabis market to be worth a little over $22 billion by 2023. Numbers like these offer up a pretty optimistic future for cannabis investors. For entrepreneurs, the opportunities in the industry seem almost endless, and starting a new cannabis business is quickly becoming a topic on everyone’s mind.

Demand for specialized training in cannabis cultivation, packaging, even dispensary sales is turning the cannabis market into a job seeker’s market. Now, green entrepreneurs are looking for their own way to make a mark on this industry by starting their own cannabis business.

What do cannabis business trends look like in the US?

According to Statista, there are more than 28,000 different cannabis businesses in the United States, ranging from dispensaries to testing facilities. With more than two million registered medical marijuana patients in this country, the demand for more professional, licensed cannabis businesses will only increase. While many business owners are seeking out a well-trained, often certified, consumer-centric staff, there is a growing number of individuals looking to step out of the employee or investor roles and into that of ownership.

PotNetwork connected with Jeff Zorn, CEO of Cannabis Training University, an online college that specializes in cannabis education and certification. With nearly 7000 students enrolling every year, Jeff offered up his insight into what kind of education these new students are looking for.

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“Most of our students are job seekers and home growers,” he explained, “but recent enrollment trends show that 25 percent of students are investors looking to start their own businesses. We are seeing significant growth in this area.”

How hard is it to start a cannabis business?

Even with increased interest, launching a new cannabis business is not as easy as it looks. There are the normal small business hurdles to cross, such as hiring and retaining employees, advertising, and brand management, but cannabis comes with its own sets of rules and regulations that vary between states and countries. Failure to understand these laws means that many cannabis business owners end up paying out hefty penalties.

The biggest hurdle cannabis business owners face is one of licensing. For example, when it comes to retail, dispensaries owners are often put in a tough spot. Not only must their own businesses be licensed, but the vendors with whom they work with and the wholesale products they buy must all be licensed and tested to meet state standards. If a business owner does not doublecheck that their vendor or products are licensed, they could risk losing their entire cannabis business.

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This is where CTU steps in. The university offers a Master Certificate Program that takes students through every step of the cannabis industry in order to give them a comprehensive understanding of all that cannabis is and what to expect from the industry. The program teaches students how to open a dispensary, delivery service, or become a professional grower. It provides training in navigating the law and licensing regulations, breaks down how to start your own marijuana business, and the professional training gives students the opportunity to write a business plan that is specific to the cannabis industry.

Helping entrepreneurs start a cannabis business

While Jeff explained that not every one of his students was looking for a specific cannabis career or business opportunity, the growing number of those interested in starting their own businesses emphasizes the glaring need for more comprehensive education.

“As the industry continues to grow,” he said, “the role of education and institutions like CTU is critical.”

To fill in these critical gaps, CTU created a “How to Write a Business Plan for the Cannabis Industry” course that is included in their Master Certificate Program. The course is designed to prepare students to meet with other investors and build a cannabis business that operates legally. While this may seem like an obvious answer to any entrepreneur, courses like these—that are tailored specifically for the cannabis industry—are still few and far between. As the industry continues to evolve, educational institutions will be responsible for creating a curriculum that anticipates this growth.

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“The demand for specialized training is going to increase,” Jeff clarified. “So we are committed to providing our students with a comprehensive cannabis curriculum and training to prepare them for this market.”

Right now, the entrepreneurial opportunities seem endless in this industry, but it is growing increasingly obvious that professional cannabis education is the only way to ensure the long-term success of this industry. Finding opportunities like these with CTU, which accommodates students all over the globe with their online courses and programs, will help give future business owners the foundation they need to leave a lasting mark on this industry.

(Photo courtesy of Cannabis Training University's Facebook page / video courtesy of YouTube)
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