New course

People looking to enter the cannabis work force have a number of opportunities to learn more about the emerging industry.

A pilot project, with two courses based on what has been offered at Okanagan College, is currently underway at MHC. 

Shannan Hurlbut, program administrator for continuing studies at the Medicine Hat College said Okanagan College assisted MHC in introducing the two pilot courses, “Cannabis Legislation and Quality Assurance” and “Seed to Harvest - Cannabis Botany and Plant Science”.

“It’s a whole new field, so we weren’t sure how if would go,” said Hurlbut, adding that there are 14-15 people enrolled in the courses. “It’s a nice size for the pilot courses as things get started.”

The Cannabis Legislation and Quality Assurance course, which Hurlbut said is the first of the cannabis courses that people should consider, involves the legalities surrounding the new industry. 

An expert who has spent the last five years studying cannabis from a legal standpoint will discuss the Cannabis Act and the basics for ensuring government compliance involved in the production of cannabis. Students will also learn about the need for standard operating procedures and the role they play in a cannabis company, the difference between quality assurance and quality control, and offer the core skills required for entry-level employment.

The second course being offered, “Seed to Harvest - Cannabis Botany and Plant Science” teaches students about the physiology of the cannabis plant, as well as the differences between varieties, species, subspecies, and hybrids.

“We focus on the harvesting because that is a big part of what Aurora is about,” said Hurlbut. 

Students also learn about the differences between healthy and unhealthy, roots, stems, and leaves, difference between growing mediums, different stages and requirements throughout plant life cycle, different methods for drying, trimming, and curing cannabis, the Importance of having a pest management program, and required nutrients.

This course is being taught by agrologist Brad Alexander, who works at the Crop Diversification Centre (CDC) in Brooks and also sits on the technical advisory of the Natural Health Alliance.

“Some students are looking to start smaller facilities and some are just interested in how it all works,” said Hurlbut, adding that as the industry evolves, so may the courses being offered. 

MHC is currently working on winter/spring scheduling with the Cannabis Legislation course slated for January and Seed to Harvest for February.

There will also be a couple of workshops coming up at MHC for people interested in learning more about the cannabis industry. 

On Nov. 22, Community Futures Entre-Corp will be hosting a hemp and cannabis conference at MHC for people 18+ in age. Representatives from Aurora Cannabis and Folium Biosciences will be the guest speakers and topics will include: opportunities in the region; production processing, versatility and prospective value to region’s economy; and forecasted impacts to regional labour market.

There will also be an opportunity for health care professionals and those looking to try medicinal cannabis as an alternative.

On Dec. 7, MHC will host a cannabis workshop for professionals such as herbalists, nutritionists, nurses, naturopathic doctors, TCM doctors and anybody considering using or giving advice on the use of cannabis. 

Topics for the full-day workshop include how the endocannabionoid system is vital to homeostasis and immunity, medicinal parts of the cannabis plant, benefits of cannabis without getting stoned, smell of cannabis and its effect on therapeutic action, what medical conditions may benefit from cannabis therapy and where more research is needed, who must avoid cannabis, and a host of other topics. The cost of this workshop is $149 plus GST and the registration deadline is Nov. 27.

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