News & Opinion | October 5, 2016 9:00 am

Canadian College to Offer Marijuana Cultivation Program by 2017

Insert 'higher education' pun here

Love it, hate it or roll it up and smoke it, the business of legal marijuana is a serious one.

In California, it’s been called the “green rush” (the second coming of the Gold Rush, so to speak), and investors are beginning to pay attention. And it’s not just the Golden State: “canna-businesses” are starting to sprout up all across the country, with the legal marijuana market expected to hit somewhere close to $20 billion in revenue by 2020.

But it’s not just an American things — our northerly neighbors are getting in on the action as well.

This week, the College Communautaire du Noveau Brunswick in the Canadian province of New Brunswick announced plans to offer a marijuana cultivation program. In other words: those good-natured maple syrup suckers just got their own pot school.

Canada is no stranger to the marijuana debate. Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau ran on a ticket that promised the legalization of recreational marijuana by 2017. And while details for the program are still up in the air, it’s obvious what the school is trying to do: train students to get in before the green rush is over.

Talking to CBC News, Michael Doucet, executive director at the college, described the training program as covering “the quality control aspects, the harvesting, the care of the plant and all that is very industry–specific as it’s done in very confined and very regulated environments.”

Legitimizing cultivation represents a huge step toward the marijuana industry besting its biggest hurdle: stigma. Because while there’s ample evidence about the real value of marijuana, the market is going nowhere unless the industry can successfully educate consumers.

Here’s to shaping the minds of tomorrow.