LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky is thirteen months out until the medical cannabis law goes into effect. Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Ky., signed Senate Bill 47 earlier this year. It allows Kentuckians with severe medical conditions to use prescribed medical marijuana that can be grown and sold in Kentucky for medicinal purposes beginning on Jan. 1, 2025.
Until that time, Bellarmine University is getting a head start by offering an education certification program. Starting in January, the Louisville-based private school will offer a cannabis education certification program.
Director of the Center for Community & Professional Education Abigail Walsh explains the four courses offered will focus on cannabis business, agriculture and cultivation, compliance and risk management and health care and medicine.
“We are really pushing that this is an education program, not an advocacy program because this is going to affect everybody. We’re trying to get out on the front end to be able to educate the community no matter what sector you’re in, so that, you know, when the time does come, you’re ready for it,” Walsh said.
She said while this program is open to anyone, it’s designed for entrepreneurs, those in agriculture, health care providers, and legal professionals.
“On the medical side, you know, doctors, or nurses, or therapists, pharmacists are going to be responsible for prescribing, managing, caring for patients who now are being introduced to these things that, you know, they may not have been introduced to in the past,” Walsh said.
On the compliance and risk management side, she said companies will have to develop policies, and train human relations and legal departments as Kentucky navigates this law.
This program is in partnership with Green Flower. It’s a California-based industry expert that offers online courses.
“Even though Kentucky is a brand new market, it will follow many of the same trends and growing cannabis as growing cannabis wherever you are in the world,” said Max Simon, CEO of Green Flower. “And so learning from these people that are real, true experts and masters of their craft is what allows you to get the best knowledge and the best understanding about how to navigate this new industry that’s being born in Kentucky.”
The six-month online program costs $2950 and individuals can complete it at their own pace.
So far, 37 states — the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands — allow cannabis for medical use by those who qualify.