Just how many jobs are being created because of the U.S. cannabis industry? There’s no denying that it has become a major job generator. With 25 states legalizing medical cannabis in some form and four states and the District of Columbia legalizing marijuana for adult-use, opportunities are seemingly endless.
According to a Marijuana Business Daily Chart of the Week from July, cannabis-related companies now employ over 100,000 workers. These estimates include part-time and full-time jobs at retailers, wholesale grows, infused products/concentrates companies, testing labs and ancillary firms focused primarily on marijuana. This is on par with numbers of people employed as flight attendants, or web developers, database administrators and librarians. Wow!
The largest segment of the industry touches plants—cultivators, trimmers, budtenders—and employ 58,000 to 88,000 workers. Ancillary companies that don’t handle the plant such as professional services firms, vaporizer manufacturers, and grow equipment suppliers also employ tens of thousands of workers.
If you’re interested in getting into the cannabis industry, you’ll go further with a good education. Oaksterdam University is an important stop along the journey for many cannabis entrepreneurs and workers. Alumni include growers, edible manufacturers, budtenders, delivery service owners, and more.
Here’s a peek at just a few alumni stories to give you a glimpse into some of the possibilities.
Big Pete’s Treats. Edibles Manufacturer.
Big Pete’s Treats is a family-owned medical cannabis edibles company, focused on quality canna-butter at its foundation for its yummy cookies. After 30 years of research and development growing his own cannabis plants and honing his baking techniques, Big Pete enrolled at Oaksterdam University in 2009. There, he was inspired to start a business that would make use of all the shake that was going unused from his cultivation projects. His curriculum at OU included comprehensive courses in history, politics, cultivation and cloning, as well as butter-making. A presentation by a chocolate maker and a homework assignment to create a cannabis business plan really got Big Pete thinking seriously about his potential business. Upon graduation, he kept his dream alive and by 2010, he had perfected his canna-butter infusion skills and sold his first batch of “Biggies”—made in his home kitchen—to a local dispensary. Each Biggie was made using 40mgs THC from Sativa infused butter. His cookie jar then contained three classic flavors: Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter and Snickerdoodle, all of which are still best sellers.
He soon moved into a large commercial kitchen to keep up with orders. Over the last five years, Big Pete’s Treats has won a number of awards and maintained its focus on making cookies from quality medical butter. Today, Big Pete’s son, Pete Jr. has joined his father in the business and they’ve got a variety of options now including 12 flavors of cannabis cookies in both sativa and indica and ranging from 20 mg to 80 mg doses. Their Mini Packs of six mini cookies is their most popular, but they also have gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, sugar-free cookies, and Take-N-Bake tubs of pre-rolled, frozen cookie dough.
Rachel Jacobson. Natural Cannabis Co Bud Tender.
Rachel Jacobson is a bud tender at the Oakland location of Natural Cannabis Co, a collective of patients and cultivators in Northern California. She studied the classic and horticulture curriculums at Oaksterdam University after graduating from high school in Minnesota.
“I attended Oaksterdam University because I believe that the cannabis plants were put on this planet for human beings to utilize and that it has the potential to change the world,” said Jacobson.
She was able to learn everything from taking cuttings from a mother plant to advocating for pro-cannabis politicians and making cannabis infused butter—all within a 14-week course. Now she is a bud tender at Natural Cannabis Co, where patients can find flowers, seeds, topicals, concentrates, edibles, accessories and joints. The company has three locations: Oakland, Santa Rosa, and Hopland.
Final words from Jacobson? “There are so many different routes to go and Oaksterdam will introduce you to all of them, as well as give you the opportunity to network with other like-minded individuals in the industry.”
Barbara Blaser. Magnolia Wellness Clinical Director.
Barbara Blaser has supported cannabis legalization for many years. She’s a retired registered nurse who worked with hospice patients and periodically became aware that some patients were supplementing their medication with cannabis. When she retired, Barbara wanted to learn more about medical cannabis from a place that offered professional training. Oaksterdam was the perfect choice as she was stunned at all there is to learn!
“I think the sections on legal issues was extremely interesting,” said Blaser. “The sessions with dispensary owners was invaluable. Their patient focused presentations clearly indicated this is not just a business but a mission to improve the lives of patients with some pretty debilitating diseases.”
Blaser is now the clinical director at Magnolia Wellness, an Oakland dispensary that’s served cannabis patients since 2009. Services are geared to provide well-being for patients and include massage, acupuncture and chiropractic help as well as free services and events such as a Caregiver Group, a PTSD Group, High Tea w/Clinical Director (Blaser herself!), free massage, traditional Chinese treatment, and much, much more.
And, as a final note of insight, Blaser said, “Many of the staff members at Magnolia Wellness are graduates of Oaksterdam!”
Based in Oakland, Oaksterdam University has been providing students with the highest quality training for the cannabis industry since 2007. Thousands of students have come through its doors to learn the history, politics, and science of cannabis as well as how to grow medicinal quality cannabis, how to succeed in a cannabis business, and become strong advocates. With 150 active professors, Oaksterdam has gathered the best of the best in the cannabis industry—people with incredible knowledge, experience and recognition within the industry.
Want to take enroll? Oaksterdam offers semester and seminar programs throughout the year. One is sure to meet your timeframe and needs. Check Out Oaksterdam!