Cannabis career training at KPU expands to include retail

Fri, Mar 2, 2018
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New university course trains frontline staff in the cannabis industry.

Starting this spring, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) is offering a new Retail Cannabis Consultant certificate program through its Continuing and Professional Studies division.

“This next instalment of programming in KPU’s Cannabis Career Training is timely,” said Provost and VP, Academic Dr. Salvador Ferreras. “Its focus on best practices highlights compliance, customer service and competence in a complex and evolving industry. Our partnerships with industry experts ensure that our programs are highly relevant in this fast-changing sector.”

The fourth offering in KPU’s Cannabis Career Training series of non-credit professional training courses, the retail course is a four-day in-class workshop that was developed in consultation with industry experts including: Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) and the Responsible Marijuana Retail Alliance of BC, which comprises the Alliance of Beverage Licensees (ABLE BC) and British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU).

The curriculum is designed to meet current medical cannabis industry demands, as well as prepare the workforce for the upcoming recreational cannabis market.

“As the first post-secondary institution in Canada to provide professional training in the cannabis industry, we’re well positioned to branch out further with our course offerings,” said David Purcell, director of emerging business for Continuing and Professional Studies at KPU. “Retail training for the cannabis industry is a logical step in our comprehensive education model that will produce in-demand highly-skilled professionals.”

The course covers numerous aspects of cannabis retail experience including delving into the history of prohibition in Canada, introducing the basic human biological reactions of the endocannabinoid system, as well as safety, quality control, identification, selection, handling and dispensing of cannabis products. A strong emphasis on legal compliance, regulations and protocols rounds out the program.

A separate accompanying module focusing on customer service and client management that will specifically speak to tools and techniques used in a call-centre setting is currently under development and is expected to be available to students in July.

A deviation from the previous three online offerings in KPU’s Cannabis Career Training series, the Retail Cannabis Consultant course will be in-class with hands-on components.

“This isn’t just theory,” added Purcell. “We’re training the next generation of compliant, qualified and competent cannabis retailers for the real world, and setting the standard of safety and customer service based on the expertise of CAMCD, ABLE BC and BCGEU.”

“CAMCD dispensaries have been providing education and access to cannabis in a storefront retail setting for over 20 years,” said Jeremy Jacob, CAMCD president. “This training program will help ensure a healthy and successful legal retail environment, and help new consumers have the best possible experience with cannabis. We’re proud to partner with KPU to provide this service.”

For more information on KPU’s Cannabis Career Training, visit

KPU offers a range of continuing and professional studies non-credit courses that allow lifelong learners to continue their education, upgrade specific skills or discover something new. For more information, visit

Story by Tatiana Tomljanovic