Higher Education: Students Seeking Cannabis Careers Can Now Apply For College Scholarships

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Whichever way you look at it, the U.S. cannabis industry is booming, and so are its job prospects: A 2022 jobs report from Leafly shows the creation of more than 100,000 jobs in the cannabis in 2021, an increase of 33% compared to previous years.

And in an industry that grew last year for the fifth straight year, cannabis job growth was a jaw-dropping 27%, compared to the government’s forecast of 8% job growth across the board. sectors for the next decade.

In total, cannabis now supports more than 428,000 jobs, Leafly reports. That leaves the question of who will fill these positions and additional jobs to follow. Sure, high school graduates can take lower-paying jobs in dispensaries and culture points, but where the industry really needs new blood is higher up the ladder, in technology and especially in ideas, says Anthony Dutcher, chief marketing officer of Veriheal, a cannabis company. health technology company.

That’s why Denver-based Veriheal — which facilitates marijuana cards for medical users — is increasing its college scholarship program (for 2022-2023) for the third year in a row. The overall program total will be $25,000, up from $20,000 last year. Ten high school students (or students already enrolled in undergraduate and graduate school) considering a career in cannabis can compete for $5,000 each.

The entry is a 1,000-word essay — TNZT July 30 — that showcases an innovative idea for the industry, Dutcher said in a recent interview. “Give us your craziest ideas,” said the CMO, inviting the young candidates. “And we are not strict about the format. We want to see the passion; we want to see that you’ve invested the time to really think about this.

“Can you give us something new or take something that exists and twist it a bit?” added Dutcher, describing the ideal trial.

Veriheal isn’t alone in reaching out to future cannabis leaders and entrepreneurs. Cannabis certification programs (with paid tuition) have been reported at several accredited colleges and universities, such as Syracuse University, Northern Michigan University, Stockton University, and Rhode University Island, among others. Federal student aid for these programs is generally available—and legal—because students do not handle the marijuana plant—which remains technically illegal at the federal level.

Any information on these programs? For scholarship seekers, trade schools and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators are good places to start.

In the area of ​​scholarships specifically, Happy Valley Dispensaries in 2021 offered students college scholarships of $2,500 for this academic year. Applicants were asked to write essays exploring the impact of historical criminalization on minority communities.

In 2018, the companies CanalInsider and MedRelief were also listed as offering scholarships, while the cannabis education program in Oakland, California, the University of Oaksterdam (which bills itself as the first cannabis university in the world) announced a $25,000 grant to one lucky student.

From Veriheal, meanwhile, Dutcher describes an enterprising ex-fellow whose application detailed a fancy cannabis vending machine — complete with technical details. Social justice and agriculture were the subject of other essays – 125 of which were submitted to Veriheal last year. “It’s refreshing to have a wide distribution [array] different ideas,” says Dutcher. “It pushes us to be more proactive, to get that young gung-ho spirit.”

Applicants don’t need to plan to get into cannabis directly, Dutcher says, but they could consider ancillary businesses that cater to the cannabis industry: finance, legal, marketing, technology. And if a candidate came up with a truly remarkable idea, the CMO said, Veriheal might just pay for it; indeed, a future “elevator pitch” event is another possibility.

For now, the focus is on spreading cannabis scholarships and opportunities in general. “Dispensaries – boots in the field – have a lot more opportunities [for] local allegiance than a tech company in 30 states,” Dutcher said of the competition for recruitment among cannabis companies like his. “We have to focus on specific opportunities.” To achieve this goal, Veriheal has partnered with student-run organizations and Cannaclub, the executive said.

The reason is that for students considering a career in cannabis, the industry offers great job prospects, the executive said, describing their opportunities as “solid”.

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