Learning about the industry could help create jobs

By Daniel Halmarson

Red River College is bringing back the Cannabis 101 course for another five weeks. After its successful initial run in 2018, following the legalization of marijuana, the course will run from Oct. 29 until Nov. 28 at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus.

Cannabis 101 is returning to RRC

Cannabis 101 is the first course of its kind in Manitoba and is offered through RRC’s School of Indigenous Education. The course provides students with foundational information about the growing cannabis industry in Canada, exploring the industry through different facets. Students will learn about the genetics of cannabis, production and cultivation, the retail sector, general legislation and restrictions, as well as the social responsibility surrounding use of the plant. 

Dr. Sandra Sukhan, manager of Quality Programs and Services for the School of Indigenous Education, developed the curriculum for Cannabis 101.

“It’s an agile response to the needs of the industry,” Sukhan said. “We can offer entry level skills to those interested in the field.”

Sukhan said the School of Indigenous Education designed the course with First Nations communities in mind. Education and training will help create jobs in production, retail and finance leading to economic health.

“The cannabis industry provides a great economic opportunity for Indigenous communities,” Sukhan said. “The School of Indigenous Education recognizes that and is taking the lead.”

Dakota Woitowicz, 22, is in RRC’s Child and Youth Care program. While she says she doesn’t personally use cannabis, Woitowicz sees the benefits of the Cannabis 101 course.

“Growing up, weed was just a drug, but it’s so much more than that,” said Woitowicz. “It’s like they’re connecting it all together.”

Dakota Woitowicz studies for a midterm exam in the Indigenous Centre at RRC’s Exchange Distict Campus on Oct. 20, 2019. The 22-year-old says that the Cannabis 101 course would benefit Indigenous communities./DANIEL HALMARSON

Woitowicz’s classmate, Kate-Lynn Chartrand, 20, would be interested in enrolling in a course like Cannabis 101 after she receives her Child and Youth Care diploma. She says sees the immense opportunity in the industry.

“I’m curious about how cannabis businesses are created,” Chartrand said. “If launching a business is done the proper way, it could be a life-changing decision.”

Chartrand says she feels that there’s still a lot of confusion about cannabis, even a year after legalization. She thinks a course like Cannabis 101 will help destigmatize the drug and provide clarity.

Kate-Lynn Chartrand studies for a midterm exam in the Indigenous Centre at RRC’s Exchange Distict Campus on Oct. 20, 2019. The 20-year-old says she would consider enrolling in the Cannabis 101 course in the future./DANIEL HALMARSON

“People don’t know what they’re allowed to do, regardless of the fact that it’s legal,” Chartrand said.

Sukhan said the school intends to launch an entire program on cannabis in the future. While Cannabis 101 offers a basic understanding of the industry, a full certificate program would allow students to focus on more specific areas.