The Business of Cannabis Program provides the most comprehensive education available for entering the cannabis industry. This course consists of online resources, 17 weeks including orientation of live presentations by our faculty of professionals, virtual field trips to professional facilities, and a semester-long capstone group project. It is designed for anyone looking to start a business within the industry.
The program starts with a historical overview of cannabis use that reaches back thousands of years before transitioning into the recent political history and laws regarding federal prohibition and state regulation. It then dispels the myth that there is a lack of scientific research, highlighting the safety and efficacy of cannabis compared to other conventional medicines.
It illustrates how the cannabis plant affects the human endocannabinoid system, describing both the therapeutic and potential side effects. The course then details the various methods of extraction to create cannabis products and the methods that humans can ingest those products.
The program then reviews all the primary elements needed to launch and successfully run a commercial cannabis cultivation operation, covering a wide variety of topics such as cultivation science, design, financing, licensing, and regulations. It defines economic principles as they pertain to cannabis markets, which are heavily influenced by laws and regulations, and discusses the economic benefits and financial barriers the cannabis industry experiences.
The Business of Cannabis program takes the student through the steps of first choosing a cannabis business model and then developing a business plan around their chosen model, leading to creating a brand identity that reflects the student’s vision, mission, and values.
At OU, we teach the student how to launch and oversee an effective and efficient cannabis business's daily operations. Students are then able to take the business plan developed and puts it into action. The student learns about special licensing and permits acquisition, the value of budgeting and financial management, standard operating procedures, hiring practices, ethical operations, and leadership.
The program also covers advocacy. In the past, advocates risked arrest and prosecution to educate the public about the benefits of cannabis and provide medicine to patients in need. Advocates played a central role in the creation and evolution of the cannabis industry. This program defines advocacy as a form of marketing, reviews the role of advocates and organizations in normalizing cannabis adult-use and achieving meaningful pro-cannabis policy reform, and then provides strategies and techniques for engaging effectively as an advocate. The program concludes by exploring the recent influx of influential investors in the cannabis industry and the surprising interest from former political opponents.
The live programs are taught by expert instructors comprised of industry leaders, attorneys, business owners, professional growers, and extractors. The program also includes a semester-long group project involving a fictitious business and a light business plan, culminating in a pitch presentation.
The Program includes the following classes:
- Advocacy for the Cannabis Industry
- History and Policies of Cannabis
- Federal vs. State Law
- Introduction to Cannabis Science
- Safety and Efficacy of Medical Cannabis
- Methods of Ingestion and Delivery Systems
- Introduction to the Cannabis Supply Chain
- Economics of the Cannabis Industry
- Cannabis Business Licensing
- Branding and Marketing
- Cannabis Business Risks and Protections
- Cultivation Science and Compliance
- Business of Cannabis Cultivation
- Business Startup
- Business Management
- Facility Design Requirements
- Cultivation Financial Management
- Introduction to Extractions
- CBD and the Hemp Industry
The Business of Cannabis Business Program is also available as a Self-Paced Program.