They knew a course in legal marijuana growing would spark interest from the public, but staff at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) never thought it would go viral.
Since announcing the new program on Monday (Aug. 17), the internet has blown up with articles.
TIME Magazine, BBC, CNBC, Fox News, USA Today, and VICE are just some of the outlets eager to report the story, according to Hayley Woodin, media specialist at KPU.
“It’s been a stressful week,” Jim Pelton, executive director of continuing and professional studies at KPU, said with a laugh.
He had just returned to work Monday morning from a relaxing vacation on Hornby Island, when he was immediately greeted by Woodin who said, “you’re going to be on TV at 1 o’clock.”
“I’ve never experienced anything going viral on the internet before and so that has been surprising — and a very pleasant surprise I must say,” Pelton said.
Starting this September, students at KPU can be the first ever to take two courses in ‘Plant Production and Facility Management’ and ‘Marketing, Sales and Drug Development.’
The seven-week courses were developed with the assistance of the KPU School of Horticulture at the Langley campus and the Canadian National Medical Marijuana Association (CNMMA).
Offered only online, they are open to anyone anywhere in the world at a cost of around $1,250.
It’s taken a year to develop the courses, after the university recognized a need to have trained individuals in this brand new industry, Pelton said.
“For people in the industry who have been registering for the course, I think they’re interested in it because there’s never been a place where they can go to fill in the knowledge gaps in order to enhance their careers in the industry,” he said.
“And I think for people interested in getting into the industry, this is a good way to put something on their resume that says, ‘hey, I’ve got a skill set here to sell. I’ve got a skill set to provide this industry above and beyond my interest in this historically interesting plant.'”
Taught by instructors Tegan Adams, business development manager at the Health Canada licensed Experchem Laboratories, and Deepak Anand, executive director of CNMMA, the courses will cover many aspects related to the professional management of marijuana for medical purposes.
These include plant production, facility management theory, becoming a licensed producer, marketing, sales, patient acquisition strategies, medical conditions and drug development processes.
The first class has already been filled, but a second one has been opened. Plans for a January session are already in the works as well.
Registration is open at www.kpu.ca/cps.
KPU has four campuses in Langley, Surrey, Cloverdale and Richmond, offering courses in business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, horticulture, and academic and career advancement.
More than 19,000 students attend each year.
— with files from Dan Ferguson