GBC to shape cannabis industry with new business course

The course prepares entrepreneurs for their role in the budding cannabis industry

With the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada, interest around cannabis-related courses is high, and George Brown College (GBC) refuses to be left behind.

GBC is now offering a new course, called cannabis business fundamentals, designed to equip students with the knowledge needed to pursue a career within the rapidly growing industry in Canada. Other schools are also introducing similar courses.

Curriculum designer and teacher for the course, Nick Pateras, noticed an interest around the business side of cannabis and how to capitalize on it. This is as it’s set to become a billion dollar industry.

Pateras is also the vice president of growth at Lift & Co, a Canadian medicinal cannabis company. He says that students in the course will develop a fluency or literacy on the business dynamics of the cannabis industry.

According to Pateras, the course starts out with some of the basics of the cannabis plant itself: the plant anatomy, genetics, and the history of the plant, from when it was made illegal to its current state.

Pateras says it is important to understand the chronology to better appreciate where the market will actually move to in the future.

Subsequent lessons will focus on the dynamics of the current industry, including both the medical and recreational market, as well as what is to come as more cannabis products become legal beyond 2018.

The course will also look outside of Canada into potential international business implications and cannabis tourism.

Indeed, the legalization comes with some rules; for instance, cannabis will be exclusively distributed by the government through online channels.

Pateras says that unfortunately, this leaves “very little room for the private sector or entrepreneurship to step in there.”

On a positive side however, he says that once brick-and-mortar stores get the green-light this coming spring, they will be run by the private sector, allowing for entrepreneurship and growth.

In addition to distribution laws, some forms of cannabis will also not be allowed for sale as of this October.

Pateras explained that there are four main groups of products: dried cannabis, fresh cannabis, cannabis oils (which include elixirs and soft-gels) and cannabis seeds. Of these, cannabis oils will not be available for sale this fall, although legislation mandates they will be by October 2019.

Although they may not be legal yet, Pateras expects edibles and oils to be popular upon arrival.

“There is a huge shift away from traditional forms of cannabis consumption into non-smokable, non-combustible forms of cannabis,” he said.

Not only are these products more discreet, they are also easier to dose than traditional forms of cannabis consumption, such as joints or pipes, he added.

Pateras also emphasized how significant the upcoming legalization is.

“We’re going to be the second country in the world to federally legalize adult-use cannabis, but we will be the first G20 country, which is really remarkable.”

As one of the first countries to legalize cannabis, Canada has the unique opportunity to “offer the blueprints of the global industry,” and define the shape of what the industry is going to look like.

As for complementary courses to be offered in the future, Pateras said there’s nothing in the works on his end as of yet, but they’re always open to great ideas.

The two-day course is being held on weekends at the St. James campus with several dates to choose from. The cost of the program is $499.

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GBC to shape cannabis industry with new business course