New Certificate Program Prepares Students for Careers in the Cannabis Industry

The growing cannabis industry affects many aspects of society, from transportation, public health, and city services to new businesses, financing, and supply chains. Professionals need a solid foundation in compliance, risk assessment, and interstate and international commerce to do their jobs according to appropriate legislation. To meet this need, Excelsior College is offering a Graduate Certificate in Cannabis Control to prepare individuals who want to enter or expand their understanding of the complex cannabis industry.

According to the New York Department of Health’s report, Assessment of the Potential Impact of Regulated Marijuana in New York State, “…implementation of a regulated marijuana program will require considerable planning as to the regulatory mechanisms needed to protect public health, provide consumer protection, and ensure public safety.” Excelsior’s certificate program will support the demand for increased regulatory clarity and subject-matter expertise.

“We see our advanced certificate as an accessible and flexible option for individuals pursuing career paths in cannabis and other industries impacted by its regulation. And our online delivery modality doesn’t root us to any one specific state or region, which is important as the industry sees the expansion of multi-state operations,” says Scott Dolan, dean of the School of Graduate Studies and member of the team that developed the cannabis control certificate. “Our program is designed to help students navigate the dynamic regulatory environment of the cannabis industry with an academically rigorous and interdisciplinary approach.”

This certificate program spans multiple disciplines, including public administration, business, supply-chain management, public health, and criminal justice.

This certificate program spans multiple disciplines, including public administration, business, supply-chain management, public health, and criminal justice. Students will learn about the opportunities, challenges, and complexities of the legal cannabis market. They will develop a critical mindset so that they can be prepared to face the important issues confronted by local, regional, national, and international markets. The certificate program includes three courses: CBC 600 Implications of Legalization of Cannabis: Policy and Compliance; CBC 601 Interstate/International Commerce: Policy and Regulatory Environment; and CBC 602 Risk Assessment in Cannabis Control..

In CBC 600, students will learn about cannabis control policy and legal compliance, and the impact of legalization on various institutions, entities, and individuals. Students will study the complexities of licensure and regulations for each step of the supply chain.

In CBC 601, students will analyze the differences between interstate and international commerce. Specific focus will be on issues related to cybersecurity, supply-chain management, and inventory control, and their implications for businesses with varying regulations.

In CBC 602, students will learn about risk assessment in cannabis control and gain skills necessary to evaluate risks in the industry related to cultivation, harvesting, genetic testing, containment, water supply, pests, cybersecurity, grants, product-safety labeling, and workplace testing and safety. Students will also discuss harm-reduction strategies when moving from an unregulated to a regulated market.

The certificate program’s curriculum includes realistic case studies to encourage critical thinking skills and enable students to keep pace with the fast-changing environment. Innovative courses that meld industry and practitioner-based readings with scientific-based research enable the program to offer much-needed subject matter expertise in the industry.

Excelsior is one of a few institutions offering a cannabis control certificate program, and, unlike previous certificates offered by Excelsior, this one does not face stiff competition from institutions already in the space. “Cannabis has a need for certification, but there is no widely recognized industry certification. That’s an opportunity,” says Dolan.

All courses in the Graduate Certificate in Cannabis Control program will also serve as concentrations in the Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Criminal Justice, Master of Public Administration, and Master of Science in Health Sciences program. Students who complete the certificate will have earned 9 credits to apply toward one of these degree programs.