UNM launches online cannabis course

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — UNM is launching a new online course dedicated to navigating New Mexico’s cannabis rules and regulations.

“There’s a funny joke in the cannabis industry that people think they’re in the cannabis business, but they’re actually in the compliance business,” said Max Simon. Simon is the CEO of Green Flower, the California-based company behind the new class.

Green Flower already operates several cannabis industry classes for UNM’s continuing education department – including ones on cannabis agriculture and business strategies. Department leaders say they previously had a class dedicated to understanding cannabis laws in New Mexico. They say that class was geared more towards attorneys and legal professionals, so they decided to rework the material for a business/manager perspective.

“That’s probably the number one scary topic when people jumped into this business of saying, ‘oh, yeah, let’s, let’s get into the cannabis industry,’ and then they find all these, you know, policies and laws that are also changing rapidly,” said Audrey Arnold, executive director of UNM’s continuing education department.

The class is broken into 3 sections. According to the program’s website, the first covers the cannabis industry as a whole. The second presents a framework for assessing and managing risks in a business setting. The third takes a closer look at risk management and how to properly identify and mitigate gaps in a commercial cannabis business’s control of activities.

“This program is really training people to become professionals in understanding those cannabis compliance needs, assessing any risks within the business, and then ultimately, making sure that these cannabis businesses are totally compliant in the most efficient way” Simon said.

The first session begins Monday, November 7th. Simon says the online course takes about 6 months to complete, but students are allowed to work at their own pace. Arnold says those who complete the class will receive a certificate. The class is open to anyone – you do not have to be a UNM student to enroll.

Simon believes the knowledge provided in the class is in high demand across the state.

“I think this program will be one of the more valuable job creation engines of anything we’ve created to date because it every single cannabis company that exists needs somebody with this level of knowledge inside the company,” Simon said. “The people that take these programs will only have that much more opportunity to learn and grow and evolve in the space, because they’ll actually know what that space looks like in a deep way.”

A spokesperson with the Cannabis Control Division confirmed there 505 approved retail license across New Mexico (it’s not clear how many of those licenses are currently being used.) Among those dispensaries, the division has sent 184 notices of non-compliance since recreational marijuana sales began on April 1.

UNM leaders believe the new course will help prevent new cannabis business owners from breaking laws or receiving fines.

“Instead of hiring expensive consultants, a class like this can really help a team maneuver those difficult areas,” Arnold said.

Arnold says interested people can register through Friday, Nov, 12. She expects another session will begin in January. She says anyone who completes the compliance course is eligible for discounts on other cannabis industry courses.

For more information, click here.