Northern Minnesota community college offers cannabis classes

Recreational cannabis bags
Recreational cannabis products are lined up for sale at the NativeCare dispensary at the Red Lake Nation.
Mathew Holding Eagle III | MPR News 2023

Minnesota State Community and Technical College is offering the first cannabis industry classes in northern Minnesota.

M State has campuses in Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead and Wadena. The cannabis certificates will all be nine-week classes offered online.

Cannabis training company Green Flower will provide the content for the certificate classes.

“This was a fairly low risk for us,” said Craig Beytien, M State Vice President of Strategic Engagement. “There wasn’t a lot of upfront cost to bringing these programs to Minnesota State. It’s an evolving market. But we just judged that this seemed like a prudent path to go down and we’ll see how that plays out.”

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Minnesota became the 23rd state in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use in 2023. Retail sales are expected to begin in 2025.

Nationally, analysts predict strong job growth in the cannabis industry.

St. Cloud State University and St. Paul College previously announced they would offer similar certificate programs.

Students taking the M State online classes can earn certificates in cannabis cultivation, retail or extraction and product development.

“With adult use cannabis now legal in Minnesota, we are seeing tremendous interest in the growing cannabis industry and are thrilled at the opportunity for people to gain the knowledge and expertise to be successful in this industry through our partnership,” said Green Flower Chief Growth Officer Daniel Kalef.

The classes will cover a range of topics from business skills to cannabis cultivation and product development.

Beytien sees potential for expansion in the future if demand is strong enough.

“It’s fairly typical that things develop out of non-credit programs and demand explodes and suddenly now there’s institutions of higher learning providing diploma level or degree level programs,” said Beytien. “That certainly could happen in this case.”