The wait is over...quality, collaborative, standardized cannabis science education is here!
As the cannabis industry continues to grow and more sectors take off, and consumers have more options with cannabis products and methods of consumption, there is a need for more education for both industry professionals and the public. Additionally, with the pace of the growth of this industry, the amount of knowledge that people are lacking in who are handling and potentially selling a (still federally illegal) substance is becoming more and more apparent. There is clearly a gap between what people know about cannabis, and how often it is grown, sold, and consumed. Just the variety of budtender knowledge (or lack thereof) is astounding from dispensary to dispensary. But...the wait is over! The Sativa Science Club is launching today to fill this void.
Sativa Science Club (SSC) is an Oregon-based, collaborative effort to uplift and uphold quality standards industry wide. SSC is a combination of cannabis business owners, scientists, and entrepreneurs with a passion for plants and people, and provides an annual cannabis science and professional development program. The Club essentially provides a resource pool of experts with the unified goal of providing cannabis education that is as entertaining as it is enlightening and accessible.
As someone who writes about and networks with both regular cannabis consumers as well as people who work in all sectors of the cannabis industry, I have noticed for a while now that there is a huge gap in the industry where science and community are concerned. SSC has noticed this as well and, so far, is the only platform working to fill this gap. SSC plans to focus on science, participate in scientific research with prominent organizations, and partner with local businesses who want to raise the bar for the industry.
Mary J. Poppins, Founder and CEO of SSC, explained, “I designed Sativa Science Club as a means of filling this gap for the community so that individual business owners do not have to. And rather than compete with the other amazing cannabis education resources that are already out there doing this very challenging work, we're approaching them with open arms. SSC is a collaborative education initiative that compiles and curates curriculum from the leading experts in the nation into a single, streamlined base certification for the cannabis industry.”
SSC will offer classes both onground and online. Coursework will cover topics such as botany, cannabis science, economics and professional development, advocacy, and compliance, just to name a few. Online certification is ideal for individuals who want to get into the industry, or for businesses who are in search of an onboarding or training tool. Community classes will also be offered frequently at the Jupiter Hotel (who has been committed to promoting education and responsible consumption since cannabis became legal in Oregon), as well as for businesses and events.
Emma Chasen, who was named Portland’s Best Budtender of 2016 and featured in Newsweek, MG Magazine, and High Times (to name a few), is the Club’s Director of Education. Chasen explains, “We at SSC want to offer an online certification so that people across the globe can have access to this education. Gaining access to safe and legal cannabis is already hard enough and we don't want to exclude anyone from being able to learn about this amazing plant. In building the programs, both online and community, we were very cognizant of making sure that both means of study held the same rigor. Therefore anyone who chooses to go through the Core Science Certification program, whether it be online or in community, will come out with the same level of knowledge and aptitude. The online program will be a bit more self-directed and will allow for an accelerated pace if the student chooses to do so. With the community classes, there is of course the benefit of being able to learn in an environment where you can share information with peers and ask questions and form study groups.”
Many great things could come for the cannabis industry if SSC is successful in their efforts. Poppins said, “There are so many amazing things that can happen as a direct result of standardized industry education. At the very least we want to see consumers feeling a lot more confident in their decision to consume and ability to select a product. We hope to see educated budtenders at the frontlines and improved ROI for the business owners who spring for it. Because those business owners will see an increase in revenue, we hope to see an increase in wages for those individuals who go the extra mile and an increase in the taxes paid to the state that go into the pockets of schools and other meaningful community projects.” And that is just the beginning for what this type of seamless, science-based, ongoing education platform could do.
Chasen added, “The cannabis industry desperately needs education. There is no education or robust training standard for workers in this industry and that is unacceptable. I am most passionate about educating budtenders because I believe they are the crucial link to the consumer. But how absurd is it that these budtenders, who interface with patients and consumers and also represent all of the growers, vendors, and makers in the industry, have zero training on cannabis science and client care?! If we want to continue to reduce stigma and influence the market to support local, sustainable, craft product then we must be educating budtenders and the community at large. More education helps to subvert stigma and thereby helps to elevate public opinion of cannabis and hopefully lead to greater support of legalization efforts.”
I whole-heartedly agree.