A southern Ontario college says it will be the first to offer a post-secondary credential in the production of commercial cannabis.
Niagara College says the graduate certificate program will launch in the fall of 2018 and aims to prepare students to work in the licensed production of cannabis, which includes marijuana, hemp fibre and hemp seed.
The school says the one-year post-graduate program was approved this summer by the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development.
It will be open to those with a diploma or degree in agribusiness, agricultural science, environmental science/resource studies, horticulture or natural sciences, or an acceptable combination of education and experience.
The college’s president, Dan Patterson, says the program is meant to address a growing labour market need in the wake of legislative changes in Canada and abroad.
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The school says the production of cannabis is highly regulated and the program, which will be taught at its Niagara-on-the-Lake campus, will conform to all regulations and requirements.
A community college in New Brunswick announced last year it would offer a course in horticulture tailored to equip students with the skills to work in a the growing marijuana industry.
School officials at the French-language College communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick have said the course was designed in collaboration with industry leaders.
The federal government has pledged to legalize recreational marijuana by next summer.
The new law would allow adults 18 and over to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent in public, share up to 30 grams of dried marijuana with other adults and buy cannabis or cannabis oil from a provincially regulated retailer.
The government has also said it intends to bring other products, including pot-infused edibles, into the legalized sphere once federal regulations for production and sale are developed and brought into force.
Provinces, territories and municipalities would be able to tailor rules for their own jurisdictions, enforcing them through mechanisms such as ticketing.
They will also be allowed to set their own licensing, distribution and retail sales rules, establish provincial zoning rules for cannabis businesses and change provincial traffic safety laws.
In Ontario, the provincial Liberal government recently announced a controversial plan to restrict the sale of cannabis to 150 stores run by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.