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Thursday November 7, 2019

Updated on 8/2/2021

By Matthew Mongelia

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Imagine if every time someone ordered a beer at a bar, on top of knowing everything that goes into serving a drink, the bartender had to be prepared to explain what beer is, how to drink a beverage, and what alcohol does to your physiology. Now imagine about half of the customers require this explanation each time a beer is ordered. Sound like an exhausting job? Congratulations, you’re in the cannabis industry.

Cannabis is a complex and emerging market, meaning it is tasked with educating consumers far more than most industries. Thus, for anyone wanting to be successful in the cannabis industry it is important to be educated on the plant and its many intricacies. Cannabis education is essential for helping consumers have safe and positive experiences with pot. Education is also one of the most distinguishing factors for advancement in the industry. If you’re serious about being a part of the growing cannabis industry, it’s time to hit the books.

Cannabis Education is Cannabis Safety

Recently, unregulated cannabis products were responsible for numerous cases of illness and even death. The source of these tragedies has been traced back to tainted illegal vape cartridges made with contaminated cannabis or unsafe additives. Meanwhile, in regulated markets that require contaminant testing, vape cartridges have been consumed safely for years. Many consumers were uneducated on the risks that contaminated products pose, and thus, turning to the black market seemed like an attractive money-saving alternative.

If more people were educated about the risks of ingesting tainted products, it is likely that those terrible vaping-related incidents could have been reduced, or avoided altogether.

Cannabis industry workers are not medical professionals and should not be held to the standards of medical professionals. However, when getting into the business of things that go into people’s bodies, one should be ready to do their best at keeping those bodies safe. In a way, Cannabis is like SCUBA diving: countless people do it every day, it can be therapeutic, relaxing, or just plain fun, but a lack of education can turn a fantastic and safe thing into a matter of life or death. 

Cannabis Education and the Job Market

Decades of cannabis prohibition have resulted in a mass of anti-cannabis propaganda and misinformation. To be well-educated in cannabis requires you to dig through that heap of garbage to find researched, verifiable facts (which, of course, are sparse due to decades of cannabis research restrictions). However, research is out there, and the body of knowledge on cannabis is ever-expanding. Getting reliable cannabis information can be difficult, but that difficulty raises the value of a good cannabis education.

We at PotGuide take great care to find the best available research and sources for our own educational content, and encourage you to do the same. Doing so helps to build your credibility and authority on cannabis matters, ultimately making you more attractive to employers and customers alike.

And while self-educating will always be a valuable component of a well-rounded cannabis education, it may be necessary to turn to formal classes and seminars to stay informed. There are many options out there for cannabis education, but it is important to find a credible organization. For example, Leafy Green Agency is notable for being founded and operated by an actual medical professional with experience in the cannabis space, Dr. Vanessa Niles. It is this level of professionalism and authority that will help job seekers stand apart.

Leafy Green Agency
Leafy Green Agency specializes in cannabis education courses and training.

Leafy Green Agency offers a broad spectrum of informative classes for the industry to help newcomers get acclimated, or for old pros to stay up-to-date as the market rapidly evolves. Whatever you’re searching for, educational companies like Leafy Green Agency can help you become an expert on all things cannabis and be prepared for whatever position the industry throws your way.

Early in the legalized cannabis market, causal experience and familiarity with cannabis was all that was needed to enter the industry. While that may still get you in the door, times are quickly changing, and just like any other multi-billion-dollar industry, education is a key factor to advancement. The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy recently became the first US higher education institution to offer a Master's degree in Medical Cannabis. Some form of education may soon become a standard for entering the industry.

Make no mistake, in the greater cannabis landscape, competition is fierce. It is difficult to even calculate how many dispensaries there are. As more cannabis businesses emerge every day, competition will only continue to increase. At all levels, from working in a dispensary, grow or production facility to investing in cannabis businesses and stocks, cannabis education can make the distinction in who succeeds in the market and who fails.

Responsible-Vendor and Safe Handling Certifications

Another reason to get some cannabis education before heading into the market? It could be a requirement. Illinois has already passed legislation to require Responsible Vendor certification (which Leafy Green Agency also offers) to work in the cannabis industry, and other states are set to follow suit. Even legalized states that do not currently require a certification to handle cannabis may change regulations to require it if these measures prove to be a success in other states.

Cannabis is meant to be consumed, and if we are going to accept it as a normal household good, the same as rice, fruit, or meat, it is going to require safety regulations all the same.

Almost any chef can tell you that frozen meat can only be left out a maximum of two hours, because any longer and bacteria will develop. Most chefs know this despite most chefs not being well-versed in the intricacies of bacterial propagation. They know this fact from their safe food-handling certifications.

Though some in the industry may frown about the prospect of more regulation, for the industry to remain safe and responsible, a regulated safe-handling certification is a logical step in the further establishment of the cannabis market. For most states, every person who works with anything food-based has to get a safe-handling certification (the same goes for most bartenders as well).  While standardized certifications of this kind can have all sorts of bureaucratic issues, they keep more people safe overall.

MED Badge
In Colorado, you'll need a MED badge to work in the cannabis industry.

Being ahead of the game and getting certified before seeking a career in cannabis will also show employers and investors you’re serious about being a professional in the industry. In Colorado, for example, few dispensaries will even look at a resume if the applicant hasn’t first obtained their industry badge from the Marijuana Enforcement Division.

Education Progresses the Cannabis Industry

In the six years since adult-use cannabis became available for purchase, the industry has made unbelievable strides forward. Now 1/5th of the country has access to legal cannabis, with more than half having some kind of access to medical cannabis. If the industry hopes to sustain its 2019 progress, and expand it, it is going to be necessary to treat cannabis with the seriousness the plant deserves, and stay educated, regulated and ready to inform.

Is it important to be educated and certified in the industry? Bring your debate to the comments!

Photo Credit: Kimberly Farmer (license)


Matthew Mongelia Matthew Mongelia

Matthew Mongelia is the Content Manager for He holds an MFA in Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BFA in Creative Writing from CUNY Brooklyn College. He has worked in the industry in numerous roles for over 5 years while covering cannabis content from coast to coast. Like so many in the industry, he first became acquainted with cannabis as a medical patient, and has been a passionate advocate for the plant ever since. He is a writer for the comic Dark Beach, and has previously covered music and cultural content for SOL REPUBLIC.

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