CLEVELAND – Ohio voters made medical marijuana legal in Ohio almost five years ago. Since then, the number of jobs that need filled in the cannabis industry has increased.
In 2022, medical marijuana sales surpassed the $1 billion mark and this year, Ohio has allocated more than 70 new dispensary licenses. Experts estimate this will translate to about 4,000 more jobs in 2024.
The Cleveland School of Cannabis has been educating students since its opening in 2017. Students can take science classes to learn the medical applications of cannabis or marketing to learn to work hand-in-hand with dispensaries. CSC is the only accredited school in the Midwest.
Nicole Fenix serves as the education director at CSC and has been integral in adjusting and adding to the curriculum over the years.
Education in a multitude of fields is key to their students' success in the industry, she said.
“There are all these products to be made, then you need someone to sell it,” Fenix said. “So, you have your dispensaries. So now you have to have people that are educated on how the products work medicinally, how they're made, and then also what, you know, what is that patient going to need?”
The school has seen some success, but still faces barriers.
While CSC has been certified by the Ohio State Board of Career Colleges and Schools, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 substance on the federal level, she said. This has made it hard for CSC and schools like it to secure banking or large financial backing.
Despite these hurdles, Fenix said they’re still making sure students see success after graduation.
“We’re helping you write your resume," she said. “We are working on your skills, your soft and hard skills to get you in the industry. That's a part of our curriculum. No one can graduate from our school without completing their careers service workshops and then we also offer what we call our green hour. That is you get to interact with industry and cannabis industry leaders throughout the United States."
Currently, Ohioans need a medical card to obtain medical marijuana, but that could change if the citizens initiative for recreational marijuana passes in November. If it passes, the need for poeple to fill jobs in the imdustry could double by next year, Fenix said.