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Cannabis classes aim to educate workers for industry

As legal retail cannabis prepares to turn 2 years old in the Silver State, the College of Southern Nevada is hoping it can help develop the next generation of workers for the nascent industry.

CSN announced Tuesday that it is launching a trio of cannabis-related classes that will educate students and prospective workers on a variety of topics, from the folklore and science behind the plant to how to navigate the plethora of regulations to how to be a good budtender. All three classes are being taught by professionals within Nevada’s cannabis sphere.

“We know that there is a great need to have a highly skilled, highly trained and highly qualified workforce for the industry,” said Ricardo Villalobos, executive director of CSN’s Division of Workforce and Economic Development.

The classes are being offered through CSN’s Workforce and Economic Development division, which the school says is “designed to help meet the needs of the area’s businesses and industries.”

And as the industry continues to grow — it now employs approximately 8,000 workers throughout the state — that need for workforce development is expected to continue to grow, too.

UNLV started offering online courses last fall — dubbed the Cannabis Academy — that range from three to four hours of coursework.

For the still-burgeoning industry, which brought in nearly $70 million in tax revenue for Nevada in it’s first year and generated more than $425 million in legal retail sales, the classes offer yet another step away from its old stoner labels and towards more business legitimacy.

“It’s incredible,” said Jason Sturtsman, an industry consultant who will be teaching one of the classes. “10 years ago, you were thrown in jail for cannabis. And now we are teaching cannabis classes at community college.”

Cannabis 101 will be the first of the three offered with classes starting on April 16. The class will be taught by Francis Jordan, a chemist with MA Analystics, a marijuana testing laboratory, and will focus on the folklore, history and science of cannabis.

Riana Durrett, the executive director of the Nevada Dispensary Association, will be the instructor for the Green Collar Jobs course, which is designed to give students an overview of how the businesses work, industry regulations, security and more. Those classes start on July 26.

Durrett said that her class will focus on educating people on what jobs are available in the industry and to understand what they can expect if they choose to enter it.

“The main object is to give them a step up from the crowd applying so that their applications will stick out of a crowd,” Durrett said.

The Dispensary Customer Service class, taught by Sturtsman, will be offered as two separate single-day classes. Those classes will be offered on May 18 and again on July 20.

The classes are open to students as well as the general public. Prices for the classes range from $89 to $230. Those looking to enroll can sign up on CSN’s website.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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