NJ Marijuana Industry Jobs: Rider University to Offer Student Career Training Courses

Starting this fall, Rider University joins the growing list of colleges offering courses designed to prepare students for careers in the legal marijuana industry.

Mercer County School’s new Cannabis Studies Certificate program will take place entirely online and provide students with a holistic approach to learning about the marijuana business, as well as teaching the skills needed to obtain jobs in a growing market, Rider officials said.

Runner’s announcement on new courses this week follows New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy assures residents that the state would begin selling recreational marijuana to adults 21 and older “within weeks.” The New Jersey Cannabis Commission — which oversees the industry — had missed an earlier Feb. 22 deadline to begin rolling out the state program.

“We want as many people as possible to have access to this program to help them build their careers in this growing industry,” noted Sarah Trocchio, assistant professor of sociology and criminology at Rider. “As cannabis legalization continues to expand, our students will be able to enter the field with the skills, experience and connections necessary to succeed.”

the four-course program is designed to explore the legal, ethical, biological, business and practical aspects of the cannabis industry. The capstone course will be taught by an experienced professional who will provide students with information on jobs and internship opportunities.

The program can be completed as quickly as two semesters, depending on the university. There are no undergraduate prerequisites to apply.

“This certificate will prepare students for roles beyond budgeting,” noted Victor Thompson, chair of Rider’s sociology and criminology department. “They can fill a number of roles in industry, from accounting and finance, communications and marketing, sales, management, public policy, legal, research and development, and more. ”

Prior to the development of the certificate program, Trocchio taught a special subjects course in the spring of 2020 titled “Reefer Madness: From Panic to Profit”.

Over the course of a semester, the students conducted a survey of New Jersey residents about their views on marijuana legalization, social use, and personal use ahead of the November 2020 election, which established industry in the state.

The legal marijuana industry is growing rapidly as more states allow the drug to be sold for adult use. A study by Leafly, a marijuana information and retail website, reports that there were 321,000 jobs in the US legal marijuana industry from January 2021.

This number is expected to increase as more states work toward legalization. New Jersey became the 13th state to legalize recreational marijuana in 2020, but sales have yet to begin.

One of the biggest problems with the delay is concern that supply will not meet initial demand, state officials say. Governor Murphy told NJ.com in late February that the state wants to make sure those who need medical marijuana are able to keep buying it as it becomes legally accessible to most adults.

According to state data, there are only 11 marijuana companies in New Jersey, operating 23 dispensaries across the state.

Even in a state like Pennsylvania, where recreational marijuana remains illegal, possession of small amounts have been decriminalized in some of its larger cities, including Philadelphia. Widespread support for recreational weed has led several area colleges to establish their own commercial cannabis programs.

Similar to Rider’s new certificate program, St. Joseph’s University has launched a six month cannabis program in 2020 in partnership with green flower. Students can choose between several tracks to receive specialized education and training depending on the part of the industry that interests them.

Enrollees in St. Joe’s courses choose from four majors: health care, law and politics, business, and agriculture. Upon completion, students gain access to Green Flower’s network of internships and jobs≥

Other college-level offerings include two graduate-level programs at university of science and Jefferson. Both focus on the economic and business impacts of marijuana legalization and provide additional context on the industry context, politics related to legalization, as well as other ethical concerns.

Prospective students can learn more about Rider University’s certificate program and meet with faculty from 4:30-6 p.m. Thursday, March 24. Pre-registration is required is required to participate in this event.

Earnest L. Veasey