Medical Marijuana: Starting a Pot Business

In case working at Goldman Sachs or McKinsey doesn’t work out, MBAs are welcome to take their management and business skills and head west, to the burgeoning market of… marijuana dispensaries.

Now that Colorado and California have legalized medical marijuana, for-profit institutions are setting up shop to educate would-be entrepreneurs in management and enforcement. Westword.com, a news and lifestyle blog in Denver, Colo., listed the course offerings of five high-minded schools in the state and their accredited collegiate equivalent.

Cannabis University is the Harvard of the bunch, the blog says, because it was the first school to be established. It offers classes on state and federal law, basic agriculture (how to grow pot), preparation and cooking. The all-day Saturday class runs 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. You and a friend can attend for $250. If that’s too much for a budding entrepreneur, the “Colorado caregivers business start-up kit” is $125.

Medical Marijuana 101 is geared toward lawyers and business owners. The Saturday classes, which run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., cover basics of the new law taught by one of the law’s organizers and medical marijuana lawyer from California, as well as business compliance issues, workplace safety and health standards. Graduates of the $495 class receive a business compliance manual. If this were a normal college, the blog says, it would be Yale Law School, “with no Skull and Bones secret society.”

Canna-Business Institute is a four-session class costing almost $1,000 that speaks to the nuts and bolts of running a now-legal drug dispensary. There’s a law class, as well as accounting and taxes, legal rights and caregiver best practices. Students role-play during the legal rights session, and graduates can proudly display their certificate of completion in their dispensary.

Greenway University hopes to offer a non-accredited MBA eventually, which you’d be able to proudly display next to your real MBA from a top business school. For now, the two-day, $295 seminar includes the standard law, compliance and operations presentations, as well as how to incorporate a delivery service. Students will receive textbooks and resource guides.

Cannabis Therapy Institute is a relative bargain at free to $150 depending on the class, and the institute sometimes offers web coupons. Instructors include lawyers, growers, doctors and patient advocates. The institute is also pushing for buy-local (pot) initiatives, so be sure to lend your supply-chain management skills expertise.

– Article originally from Bloomberg Businessweek.

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