(Cicero, IL) When marijuana became legal in Illinois in 2020, Morton College acted on an opportunity to meet its goal of developing programs to serve community needs by creating a new Cannabis Dispensary Technician certificate.
Morton College’s program, which debuts in the Spring 2022 semester, focuses on the industry’s medical and business aspects.
Just the numbers in job growth and revenues alone reflect the rapid growth in the marijuana business.
Jobs in the marijuana industry are projected to triple by 2025, going from 200,000 in 2017 to 630,000, according to a study by New Frontiers Data.
In addition, the business is thriving in Illinois with a record $116.4 million worth of cannabis products sold at dispensaries statewide in May, followed by $115.6 million in sales for June, according to figures by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
The Chicago Tribune reported July 9th that the state has generated $626 million in cannabis sales over the first six months of 2021 – nearly equaling its total for all of 2020.
In May, Illinois legislators approved a bill to add 110 new cannabis dispensary licenses. An analysis of job postings from last year showed that the median advertised salary in the medical cannabis industry is $47,500.
To meet the needs of this emerging industry, Laurie Cashman, the Dean of Adult Education and CTE, said Morton College’s response is to develop a quality workforce with an understanding of the industry’s business, legal, marketing and science phases. Certificate training also meets the requirements of the state’s Responsible Vendor Training criteria, added Cashman.
“We’re looking to provide students with a well-rounded knowledge base,” Cashman said. “We want them to be aware of all aspects and prepare students with an understanding of the various components of running a dispensary.”
The one-semester, 12-credit hour program features six courses divided into two blocks of eight-week sessions featuring three classes apiece. Morton College already has ready-made instructors for this new program, drawing on the expertise of current faculty from the Business, Art, Nursing and Law Enforcement areas.
“We are thrilled that our excellent faculty were not only able to develop this curriculum, but also will be teaching various segments of the new program,” Cashman said.
Business faculty will teach CDT 101 (Medical Marijuana Operations), which provides the basics of developing a successful business plan for a medical marijuana business.
Law Enforcement will handle CDT 102 (Cannabis and the Law), which covers the state laws and compliance regulations governing an Illinois medicinal marijuana dispensary.
Nursing instructors cover CDT 103 (Medical Cannabis I) and CDT 104 (Medical Cannabis II). CDT 103 provides students with a foundation of knowledge and skills needed for working in a cannabis dispensary as related to the use of medical cannabis, while CDT 104 offers an overview of anatomy and physiology as it relates to the use of cannabis. Students learn how to interact and provide information to medical cannabis patients following rules and regulations for cannabis dispensary technicians.
The Art side will deal with CDT 105 (Digital Media) and CDT 106 (Digital Design). Digital Media is an introduction to the use of digital media technologies in a cannabis dispensary business. Students create and manage a web site with various content such as images, audio, video, blogs, and social media platforms.
Digital Design covers the elements and principles of visual language and provides fundamental instruction in design applications. Students will create basic designs for both print and digital platforms and conduct research on design trends in the cannabis industry.
More information about the new Cannabis Dispensary Technician certificate program is available by contacting Michael Rose, Morton College’s Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives, Adult and CTE, at (708) 656-8000, Ext. 2369, or by e-mail at Michael.Rose@morton.edu