Higher education: College of Southern Nevada offering marijuana-related courses

With Nevada’s legal cannabis industry thriving, the College of Southern Nevada thought it was high time to offer some marijuana-related courses.

The school is offering three new courses to help cannabis entrepreneurs, dispensary employees and others who want to learn more about the pot industry. During the first full day of registration last week, nearly a dozen people signed up, officials said.

“As the marijuana industry grows in Nevada, the need for trained, highly skilled workers will increase,” said Margo Martin, the school’s vice president for academic affairs.

CSN does not have a cannabis-related degree path, but those who finish one of the new marijuana courses will earn a certificate of completion.

A course called Cannabis 101 will focus on the history, folklore and science behind marijuana, while Dispensary Customer Service will offer insight into different cannabis products and how to interact with consumers. A third course, Green Collar Jobs, will cover industry regulations and business operations.

The courses, none of which involve handling actual marijuana, are being offered through the school’s Division of Workforce and Economic Development, a self-supporting arm of the college.

“Our aim is to be responsive to industry and business demand with regard to helping to supply a trained workforce,” said Ricardo Villalobos, executive director of the division. “The marijuana industry has grown significantly in Nevada. With the industry taking in almost $70 million in tax revenue last year, this is something that makes sense.”

Cannabis industry consultant Jason Sturtsman will teach the Dispensary Customer Service course, which is a one-day class offered May 18 and July 20.

“CSN has incredible foresight in making these courses available,” said Sturtsman, a former assistant manager at a local dispensary.

“Being here in Las Vegas, we of course pride ourselves on providing some of the best customer service anywhere. With this class, we can help people develop a good knowledge base to deliver great customer service to cannabis consumers,” he said.

The five-session Green Collar Jobs course, which is the most expensive class with a fee of $230, will be taught by Riana Durrett, executive director of the Nevada Dispensary Association.

Durrett, who has a law degree from UNLV, said the course is tailored for people looking to get their first job in the marijuana industry.

“The class is geared toward helping (people) stand out in a crowd,” Durrett said. “Job opportunities will certainly be expanding going forward…Jobs range from entry-level retail sales positions to accounting, HR, tech, management and doctors and scientists, along with many other opportunities.”

Francis Jordan, a North Las Vegas-based chemist with cannabis testing lab MA Analytics, will teach the Cannabis 101 course.

For more information about the courses, visit the school’s website and search under its community and personal enrichment course offerings.

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