For the first time in its history, Long Beach City College will be offering a class solely focused on the cannabis industry.
From cultivation to retail, the eight-week class will cover all sectors of the industry, additional sessions on the history of cannabis in California and an overview of the state’s track-and-trace system for cannabis products from plant to the hands of consumers.
“If somebody is interested in engaging with the cannabis industry on a professional level, this is an important first step in that process,” said Joe Rogoway, an attorney with over a decade of experience in the cannabis industry and the course’s lead instructor.
“This is their portal to the cannabis industry,” he added.
The first class is expected to admit 30-35 students and a tentative start date has been set for the end of September. The course will be housed in LBCC’s workforce development program, alongside other vocational and professional classes.
In that regard, the class is nothing new, said Kathy Scott, the college’s executive vice president of academic affairs. “It’s the same in that it’s industry-driven, industry-requested and it’s taught by industry,” Scott said.
What’s new is the subject matter. Few community colleges currently offer classes on the cannabis industry. To inform the curriculum and find qualified instructors, LBCC has collaborated with the Long Beach Collective Association, a membership-based industry organization.
Nate Winokur is one of the members of the LBCA who will be teaching a class this upcoming fall. An expert in the area of cannabis testing, Winokur will be providing students with insights on the science of cannabis and the business of running a cannabis testing facility.
The founder and owner of BelCosta Labs in North Long Beach was among the members of the LBCA to help develop the curriculum. Winokur already has some experience teaching: He started collaborating with the LBCA last year, offering individual workshops on the different license types available in Long Beach.
“We decided to introduce something that, at its heart, would introduce different businesses and license types to each other,” Winokur said. “We got a really awesome response from the community.”
The new class at LBCC aims to introduce a new group of students to the industry, from those hoping to build a career in cannabis to professionals who are interested in applying their existing skills, in areas like accounting and business, in the cannabis industry.
“This is long overdue,” Rogoway said. “This is the kind of curriculum that should have been developed long ago.”
Scott emphasized that the course is not intended to serve as a job placement program, but rather strengthen students’ resumes when applying for positions in the industry or provide a foundation for building a cannabis business of their own.
Having a class at the local community college also benefits existing businesses, as it introduces more people to the consumer benefits offered by rigorous testing and other quality control requirements in the legal industry as opposed to illegal competitors, Winokur explained.
“I, for one, am hoping for cannabis to be treated a lot more seriously as things go on and I think that proper education surrounding that has a lot to do with it,” he said.
Classes are expected to start this fall, at a fee of $395. Those interested in enrolling can contact the LBCC Workforce Development program by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.