Eager students have filled up Olds College’s first class on the art of growing cannabis.
The online course starts July 3 and 20 students will learn horticulture production, facilities and irrigation, as well as specific cannabis production and regulations.
Field study takes place at Sundial and Terra Life Sciences, which produce medical marijuana. The companies plan to build facilities in the Olds area.
“With the first day of the announcement the program was full. We have a wait list,” said Debbie Thompson, a college vice-president and chief innovation officer.
The college has offered a diploma and applied degree horticulture program for the last 50 years.
“If our students were interested in getting involved in this industry they would be scooped up very quickly,” she said.
More cannabis program courses will be offered later if there is demand and the college is developing another course this fall called Cannabis Retail Advisor.
“We are responding to a request from industry that got hold of us,” she said.
“It is the bigger industries saying we know we need people and we would like people with some training,” she said.
The facilities have stringent guidelines and the college does not plan to set up its own cannabis greenhouses but is willing to conduct research on some specific requirements of the industry.
The college has a cannabis education and research industry advisory committee with representatives from industry and the college to create research and education opportunities for the cannabis sector which could include hemp production.