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3 Best Degree Options for Cannabis Dispensary Owners

The international legal cannabis market is expected to reach $70.6 billion by 2028. In the US, the industry is recording impressive profit revenues. More states are continuing to legalize cannabis for either medical or recreational use. Thus, the market is booming with a high demand for cannabis-derived products. So it’s only natural that entrepreneurs would […]

3 Best Degree Options for Cannabis Dispensary Owners

The international legal cannabis market is expected to reach $70.6 billion by 2028. In the US, the industry is recording impressive profit revenues. More states are continuing to legalize cannabis for either medical or recreational use.

Thus, the market is booming with a high demand for cannabis-derived products. So it’s only natural that entrepreneurs would think of staking their claim on this new yet profitable industry.

As an aspiring dispensary owner, you may be thinking, ‘What degree do I need to open a cannabis dispensary?’ Unfortunately, there’s no clear answer to this question. Opening and managing a dispensary require a lot of professional skills. This much is clear, given the fact that the industry is highly regulated.

While a degree is not a prerequisite for applying for a cannabis dispensary license, a college degree can increase your prospects. With the right know-how, you can push your brand to bigger heights.

Here are some of the best degree options for marijuana dispensary owners.

1. Business Degrees

Current dispensary owners share the same sentiment: running a marijuana dispensary is similar to managing any other retail business. So if you’re not a fan of retail, then dispensary life probably isn’t your cup of tea either.

As an aspiring dispensary owner, it’s wise to learn about the important aspects of business operation. This will come in handy as you navigate the regulations associated with cannabis businesses. As a dispensary owner, you’re involved more in the retail section of the supply chain. Thus, a business degree is important.

So what areas can you major in as part of your business degree?

Entrepreneurship

Majoring in entrepreneurship, you’ll study topics such as accounting, marketing, and public relations. This way, you’ll learn how to manage your expenditures and understand the intricacies involved in business financing. You’ll also learn about effective marketing strategies to expand your business’ reach.

Your classes may also tackle supply chain management, sourcing, and commercial real estate. With an entrepreneurship business degree, you’ll be equipped to become a well-rounded entrepreneur. Whether that applies to the weed industry or beyond, you’ll have transferrable skills across various business disciplines.

Marketing

Marketing

Marketing is one of the most useful degrees a dispensary owner can have. As with any other business, you’ll need to create awareness about your dispensary products. You also have to grow your customer base. However, marketing in the digital age can be complicated. This is especially true with social media.

For example, you can’t advertise the health benefits of any cannabis product. You can’t make any health claims either. Otherwise, you’ll face legal sanctions. Plus, only CBD that contains not more than 0.3% of THC can be legally marketed and sold online. Furthermore, you can’t directly market or sell cannabis products on Google, Facebook, and Instagram.

With a marketing degree, you’ll know how to navigate the unique obstacles of cannabis marketing. For example, instead of using words like “cannabis,” “weed,” or “marijuana,” you use terms like “natural remedies” or “pain relief.”

Marketing classes can also teach you how to use offline marketing. These strategies often involve billboards, radio, printed materials, and word of mouth.

Business Management

A business management degree is another versatile degree option for dispensary owners. Here, you learn the basic, day-to-day operations of running a business. These include topics like marketing, accounting, and employee hiring. Aspects like taxes, zoning by-laws, insurance, state laws, and federal regulations are all dealt with.

2. Cannabis Control

As earlier stated, cannabis is a highly regulated industry. The regulations keep changing rapidly. As a cannabis dispensary owner, you need to be up-to-date with these changes.

With a degree in cannabis control, you get a good grasp of the different regulations in the sector. This will allow you to stay compliant and avoid hefty fines. This is particularly important if you plan on shipping cannabis products across stateliness.

A degree in cannabis control can usually be pursued online. This means it’s accessible to everyone in the USA. Another good thing about this degree is that it doesn’t take long to achieve. You can earn it in as short as six months.

Colleges and universities offering degrees and certificate courses in cannabis control include Clark University (Massachusetts) and Excelsior College (New York). The University of Rhode Island offers an online certificate in cannabis studies as well.  

Biology

3. Biology

Earning a degree in biology is a good idea for any marijuana-based business owner. You will learn about the scientific reasoning and growth cycles of different plants. You’ll also learn how to control plants in different settings.

Biology is particularly important when you’re planning to cultivate your own proprietary flower strains in grow rooms. These could act as your flagship product brands.

You can also conduct marijuana-based clinical trials to create new pot products like medical CBD oils, and topicals. This is especially an excellent option if you’re planning to diversify your cannabis product line in the future.

You can enroll for a biology degree at most universities and colleges around the USA. But if you’re looking to specialize in the biology of the marijuana plant, consider Colorado State University-Pueblo. This university offers a bachelor of science degree in cannabis biology and chemistry.

Aside from Colorado State University-Pueblo, there are other universities offering cannabis-related science degrees. For instance, you can pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree in cannabis chemistry at Lake Superior State University. Northern Michigan University also offers a bachelor’s degree in medicinal plant chemistry.

The Bottom Line

Marijuana dispensaries are just like other retail businesses. As an aspiring cannabis business owner, you should begin by learning everything about running or managing a business. This is the reason why a business or marketing-related degree is important.

There are no specialized cannabis business degrees. However, it’s always useful to learn the ropes of business and management. Then, you can apply the knowledge to your cannabis business.

You don’t need a degree when applying for a cannabis retailer license. But the skills you gather while studying for any of the above degrees are important. The knowledge will help you ensure that you run a professional cannabis dispensary.