Higher education: Ryerson launching ‘Business of Cannabis’ course

By Dilshad Burman

With cannabis legalization fast approaching, preparations are underway at all levels to ensure citizens as well as the authorities are ready before October 17.

In that spirit of preparation, a new university course is looking to educate people on the business aspects of the cannabis industry.

The Ted Rogers School of Management, in collaboration with Ryerson University’s Chang School of Continuing Education, is launching a new introductory course called “The Business of Cannabis.”

The course is the first of its kind in Ontario and aims to familiarize students with the cannabis industry in Canada, focusing on Ontario.

“We’re trying to give people interested in the business side of cannabis a leg up in the market ” says instructor Brad Poulos, Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University, who will be teaching the course along with experts in the field.

“We have world class entrepreneurship professors at Ryerson and they’ll be teaching the entrepreneurship portion of the course and then we’re relying on industry experts for subject matter expertise.”

Poulos says along with the retail side of the business — which will be controlled by the Ontario Cannabis Company — the course will also be informational for those interested in ancillary businesses like processing centres, labs as well as consumer products like edibles, beverages or topical creams.

He adds that the professors teaching the course are involved in the cannabis industry in various capacities and will ensure the curriculum stays current in what could be a changing environment in terms of regulations and legislation.

There is no prescribed minimum level of education required to take the course, but Ryerson suggests that students be at least somewhat familiar with basic business principles.

The course will not include the basics of business but will be teaching students how to apply those basic principles to the cannabis industry.

In the long run, Poulos says the hope is to grow the course into a more robust certificate program with four to six courses each focusing on separate aspects like retail, marketing, quality assurance and financing.

The course, aptly numbered 420, launches in the fall semester of 2018 and there are about 50 seats available.

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