British Columbia

Weed 101: New B.C. college program teaches retail side of pot

The College of the Rockies is about to launch a new online course with a practicum component dedicated to the retail side of cannabis sales.

Cannabis Retail Specialist program launches online in May through College of the Rockies

The new online college program is aimed at people who will be working in retail sales and client care in the cannabis industry. (David Donnelly/CBC)

A college in the B.C. Interior is responding to the anticipated legalization of marijuana by launching a new course dedicated to the retail side of pot sales.

The Cannabis Retail Specialist program will be a 26-week online course with a practicum component. It launches in May through the College of the Rockies in Creston, B.C.

"It's essentially training for employment in the emerging cannabis industry. So preparing retail workers and those working in client care," campus manager Kim Garety said to CBC Daybreak South host Chris Walker.

"I think the focus has largely been on the production end of it in the education area, so this program is a little bit unique."

She said students will learn about the botany of the plant, the physiology of the human body, strain characteristics, potential medicinal applications and current Health Canada regulations.

The program content is fully online, making it accessible from anywhere in the country, she said.

'Comprehensive overview of cannabis'

It isn't the only cannabis course in Canada — Kwantlen Polytechnic University, on B.C.'s Lower Mainland, offers an online course in cannabis production, marketing and financing, while Durham College in Ontario offers a two-day introduction to cannabis and New Brunswick Community College teaches cultivation. 

However, Garety said the College of the Rockies' program is the first cannabis training program in Canada that includes a practicum component in which students gain experience working at a retail outlet.

"It's not intended to be a business-end course; it's intended to train people who are going to be dealing with customers in that environment," she said.

The college's program was developed with input from existing regional cannabis retailers, licensed producers, as well as medical professionals.

"This program contains a very comprehensive overview of cannabis and great information for patients and recreational consumers alike," said Tamara Duggan, owner of Tamarack Dispensaries in Kimberley, BC.

The Cannabis Retail Specialist program will be offered four times per year — tuition is $3,990.00.

With files from CBC's Daybreak South and Chris Walker.


Jaimie Kehler is a web writer, producer and broadcaster based in Kelowna, B.C. She has also worked for CBC News in Toronto and Ottawa. To contact her with a story, email