The North American cannabis boom could hit a national or global tipping point any moment now, which is why investing in your own education is an important strategy for success. Studying everything and anything to do with cannabis, from cultivation and farming techniques, to research and development, to a successful grower’s Instagram account, is as essential to increasing yield and revenue as it is to blazing your own untrodden trail.
Learn how to make education part of your business strategy with these easy-to-follow tips.
1. Sharpen Your Mental Tools With Cannabis Coursework
Whether you’re checking in via Google Hangouts or sitting in on an actual classroom, learning from the industry’s leaders isn’t as difficult, or as cloak and dagger, as it used to be. Many licensed producers and grow experts, doctors, budtenders, horticulturalists and scientists now offer their time to educate anyone with the drive to learn about cannabis science and business.
Digital content provider Eyechronic.TV creates an in-store interface with customers, bringing current happenings from the worlds of policy to technology to the consumer via screens in dispensaries. Eyechronic.TV cofounder Jeremy Jacobs recommends the popular Oakland, California program Oaksterdam University as a reliable platform for comprehensive cannabis knowledge.
Jacobs tells Big Buds Magazine, “From an educational perspective, I would have to say Richard Lee’s Oaksterdam is taking a different approach to educate people that want a professional-level [cannabis] education. Now, they’re even taking it on the road. As time goes on, there will be more and more people interested in advanced-level education, and [Oaksterdam is] positioned well for that.”
Once you’ve got the foundation, increasing your cannabidiol skill set is essential to keep pace with industry growth. CBD Certified, a program given by Oregon’s East Fork Cultivars specifically for budtenders and cannabis business professionals, arose out of a need for the latest in science to make it into the hands and minds of point-of-contact salespeople, especially in the spiking CBD sector.
East Fork Cultivars education and partnerships manager Anna Symonds talks about the basis of the course, which was born of a desire to help guide the cannabis boom.
“Because cannabis has been pushed underground for so long during prohibition, standard scientific resources haven’t been readily available,” explains Symonds. “Now that we’ve got ahold of the tip of the scientific iceberg, CBD Certified’s mission is to help share those emerging research findings so that we can empower ourselves and others with some of this newer knowledge.
“Beyond just theory, the presentation aims to explain the why and how of CBD’s effects,” Symonds continues, “giving budtenders some concrete principles for helping others navigate their experiences with CBD. We hope that this information will be a tool for people to improve their health and lives.”
If you’re in the Portland area, the Sativa Science Club is breaking new ground, no matter what familiarity you possess for the plant. Educational director Emma Chasen describes why this is key for forward momentum within the cannabis community:
“We have people of all age ranges, nationalities and backgrounds in the classroom. Our students are business owners, lay enthusiasts and people looking to get into the cannabis industry. Sativa Science Club courses provide consumers with accurate information on cannabis compounds, products and consumption methods so that they can make more informed purchases.
“In order to thrive in the highly competitive cannabis marketplace, industry professionals must be on their A game. And that means investing in education. In order to manufacture and/or sell a high-quality product, you must know about that product inside and out.”
These educational advocates want to help real people and patients steward the Earth, and challenge the injustices of the past era of prohibition and Reefer Madness, driving more than just profits forward.
2. Build Your Cannabis Library
Today there are hundreds of cannabis books on the market, spanning topics that range from purely artistic photography and bud porn, to expert cookbooks and cultivation guides. The following three books provide important perspectives for eager learners.
Hemp – American History Revisited by Robert Deitch is a good read for the full historical rundown on how we got to where we are now. The tome tells us that cannabis plants were introduced to North and South America because of industry, and eventual prohibition also subsidized not only wholesale pollution of the planet, but subjugation of anyone who used the plant. Learning why these policies directly connect back to the harmful spread of colonialism is essential to mapping out the coming years of cannabis legalization, arguably the keystone of its impact on commerce and society.
Symonds and the folks at East Fork Cultivars understand that this context helps highlight a chief policy goal among community-oriented cannabis businesses: justice. She says of our current socioeconomic climate, “We need to recognize that many people in the US still don’t have access to cannabis that could help them medically; and many people are still being arrested and jailed for cannabis, and in a racially disproportionate manner.
“All of this is unconscionable, and we all must continue to fight for universal medical and adult access — especially those of us in the cannabis industry, who are lucky enough to make our living from working with this plant.”
Grow Your Own: Understanding, Cultivating, and Enjoying Marijuana — coauthored by by Nicholas Graf, Micah Sherman, David Stein and Liz Crain — is an accessible option for learning about all aspects of cannabis cultivation and processing, especially for the layperson. Sativa Science Club’s Chasen backs this read, noting, “It’s a beautiful book with a ton of really great information. And it’s even sold in Urban Outfitters!”
Eyechronic.TV’s Jacobs says that one book in particular is his go-to: “The Little Black Book of Marijuana [by Steve Elliott]. Hands down.”
Cannabis Thought Leaders And Influencers To Follow On Social Media
People converse with not only brands and lifestyle experts on social media, but educational advocates, activist platforms, and professional networking groups, all from the comfort of their couch. Curate a handful of cannabis-oriented social media accounts that bring you new perspectives to the space. This is how you can get a real feel for not only your place in the cannasphere, but possibly your next big idea to serve these eager social media personalities and their followings. Following is a list of some of the industry leaders you should be following.
CBD Certified’s crew recommends Dr. Adie Wilson-Poe, who just dropped a collaborative patient journal with Goldleaf. Her advocacy also focuses on the intersection between opiates and cannabis, which is a vital path to explore if we are to make progress in the struggle against the opioid epidemic.
Shanel Lindsay is a patient-turned-entrepreneur who launched Ardent Cannabis to make medical marijuana more accessible for people who don’t want to use combustion techniques. Lindsay’s Instagram account is full of positive messaging about patient advocacy, evites to free cannabis classes, and infographics to make cannabis information crystal clear and digestible.
Sativa Science Club’s Emma Chasen touches on how female representation on social media is changing mindsets. “I really love The Her(b) Life. It’s an account that highlights the feminine cannabis experience and features amazing women doing really cool things in the cannabis industry.”
Investing in your education doesn’t always involve spending loads of money and years in a classroom. In the cannabis world, an open mind is a much better start than an open wallet. Anything you create thereafter — be it a custom cultivar or the next big bud brand — will have been lifted up by the cannabis community, which is, after all, the cannabis industry’s most valuable resource.