Top Online Cannabis Education Schools
Published on 7/19/20
Updated Feb 24, 2022
The cannabis industry has exploded over the course of the past decade as states across the country continue to decriminalize or legalize the use of medicinal and recreational marijuana. In just a few decades, legal weed has gone from a hippie pipe dream to an actual policy position that's popular with the vast majority of average Americans. These days, the legal weed industry is a multi-billion dollar business for states that legalize, is set to become fully federally legal in the near future thanks to bills from both the Democrats and Republicans, and is a massive job creator. In fact, the legal weed industry already employs 321,000 full-time Americans workers, and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon!
As with any rapidly expanding industry, the demand for individuals to work in the myriad aspects of the weed world is high. Cannabis professionals are needed in everything from retail to law to science to keep things moving. The extreme growth of the industry makes it relatively easy to get a job on the lower end of the pay range, such as a budtender or trimmer. After all, breaking into a career in legal cannabis can be a bit harder than it seems. In these entry-level jobs, a cannabis school or similar degree is not necessary to enter the field. It's possible, however, to climb that ladder a bit with some specialized education and training.
As the legal weed industry becomes more normalized and mainstreamed, we've seen the rise of cannabis industry-specific education. Community colleges, online universities, and traditional four-year programs now offer degrees in accounting for cannabis, business management courses for cannabis, and even some certification to be a grower, budtender, or cultivator. But, if we're being honest about it, these add-on courses are a bit like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. If you were looking to be a plumber or electrician, you'd attend a trade-school not a standard four-year university, right? Well, the same concept applies to cannabis!
That's why we here at Where's Weed wanted to highlight some of the best cannabis-specific colleges and universities around the country, places that were designed to teach people about cannabis by experts who live, breath, grow, and consume cannabis. So without too much further ado, let's get right into it!
Founded in 2007 in Oakland, California, Oaksterdam was the nation's first ever school in the U.S. created specifically to cater to students interested in studying all aspects of the cannabis industry and cannabis culture. It is also generally regarded as one of the best cannabis schools in the country - if not the best - and is represented by over 40,000 alumni. A cannabis certification from Oaksterdam is a huge asset for those looking to enter the industry.
The school's identity has always been linked to activism and policy, and faculty at the university was instrumental in moving California toward decriminalization and legalization. The school's Office of Government and Public Affairs remains dedicated to education that will continue to lead to the implementation of reasonable, evidence-based cannabis policy. It's not an exaggeration to say that the climate of cannabis legalization in the U.S. would not be the same without Oaksterdam.
Politicians across the country seek advice from Oaksterdam on how to promote marijuana research and development, initiate legislation and receive legally sound regulatory training. Although Oaksterdam has a physical campus in Oakland, it offers an online program with training in 26 disciplines and a solid list of online marijuana courses such as Economics Behind Cannabis ($495), CBD & Hemp ($495), Horticulture ($1,295), Business of Cannabis ($1,495) and Cannabis, Pain & the Opioid Crisis (free). Cannabis certifications are available in either Business or Horticulture.
Overall, it's hard to beat Oaksterdam when it comes to cannabis-specific education options. Between their in-person classes and online learning opinions, you can take advantage of their classes regardless of where you are in the U.S.
CTU offers a huge catalog of online courses that range from entry-level to advanced, and its options for receiving a cannabis certification online are extensive. Students can receive a Cannabusiness Certificate, Marijuana Grower Certificate, Budtending Certificate, Dispensary & Delivery Operations Certificate and Marijuana as Medicine Certificate. CTU also offers virtual access to cannabis job boards, eBooks and law libraries across the country.
The diverse course offering covers everything from Becoming a Budtender to the very popular Marijuana Laws & Regulations. CTU's How to Grow Medical Marijuana program is known in the industry as one of the top online marijuana courses available anywhere.
All courses and online certifications are available for $247 and include access to four of world-renowned California cannabis grower Ed Rosenthal's eBooks: "Ed Rosenthal's Marijuana Growers Handbook," "Beyond Buds," "Big Book of Buds Greatest Hits," and "Marijuana Harvest."
This is a great option for someone who's not looking to pay an arm and a leg for first-person classes, but still wants to get a quality learning experience from experts in their field.
CTU offers a huge catalog of online courses that range from entry-level to advanced and its options for receiving a cannabis certification online are extensive. Students can receive a Cannabusiness Certificate, Marijuana Grower Certificate, Budtending Certificate, Dispensary & Delivery Operations Certificate and Marijuana as Medicine Certificate. CTU also offers virtual access to cannabis job boards, eBooks and law libraries across the country. The diverse course offering covers everything from Becoming a Budtender to the very popular Marijuana Laws & Regulations. CTU's How to Grow Medical Marijuana program is known in the industry as one of the top online marijuana courses available anywhere. All courses and online certifications are available for $247 and include access to four of world-renowned California cannabis grower Ed Rosenthal's eBooks: "Ed Rosenthal's Marijuana Growers Handbook," "Beyond Buds," "Big Book of Buds Greatest Hits," and "Marijuana Harvest."
The Cleveland School of Cannabis is a revered cannabis school that (largely in response to COVID-19) recently began to offer its top-notch curriculum online. The school's focus is cannabis horticulture, cannabis dispensary training, and the medical application of cannabis.
All of the classes normally held in the brick-and-mortar campus just south of Cleveland are now available as online cannabis courses and will continue to be available moving forward. After all, we've all seen the value of hybrid and non-traditional learning environments over the past two years or so! Marijuana online classes last 25 hours and 150 hours are required for a major. Some of the courses available include History of Cannabis, the Endocannabinoid System and Cannabis Law & Policies.
The Cleveland School of Cannabis also offers a highly competitive Executive Program. Each of these interesting courses lasts for two hours and are held twice a week for six weeks.
Prices are as follows:
- Medical Applications of Cannabis Program: $6,500
- Cannabis Horticulture Program: $6,500
- Cannabis Business Program: $6,500
- Cannabis Executive Program: $12,500
Although prices for these preeminent classes are notably higher than at other schools, CSC does provide several substantial scholarships (Veterans, People of Color, Women in Cannabis, Demonstrated Need) to make this excellent cannabis college online experience more widely accessible.
The Bottom Line
There's never been a better time to transition into a new career in the legal cannabis industry. With career refugees from the on-going Great Resignation looking for well-paying work, many are looking to the cannabis industry. The field is only going to increase in its size and score, pay rates and expertise is only going to increase as the legal weed industry becomes more viable and mainstream, which means better working conditions, better pay, and the need to hire more people. You can find a million cannabis schools online, and there's a good reason for that!
Getting in as part of the legal cannabis industry now is like getting in on the ground floor of a rocket that's about to blast off. And these helpful colleges and universities will help you do just that!
Have you taken any online cannabis courses or attended any marijuana schools online? Was it a good use of your time and money? Did the education pave the way for a career in cannabis? Share your experience in the comments section below.