Ontario recently held a lottery to determine who would receive the first 25 licences to open cannabis retail stores. The results of the lottery, however, revealed a problem: many of the winners had little or no retail experience. Given that legal recreational cannabis is a very new industry, it’s not surprising that a lack of experience is a challenge. The lottery results, however, have thrown the seriousness of that problem into sharp relief.
Part of the solution is providing people who want to get into the cannabis retail market high-quality training. That’s why AAPS created a new cannabis retail management training course, which is included in the 16-week Cannabis – Management, Quality and Laboratory program. This 16-week program covers many different aspects of the cannabis industry, such as cultivation, regulatory compliance, and, of course, retail. Here’s what you need to know about this exciting new course and why it can give you a head start in the rapidly growing cannabis industry.
Why Is There a Need for a Cannabis Retail Course?
Ontario is set to be a huge market for recreational cannabis, with experts predicting the province could support more than 1,000 cannabis retail stores. But cannabis is going to be tightly controlled by the government to ensure stores abide by regulations.
As Conor Purdon, Cannabis Retail Program Developer, of AAPS notes, “There’s going to be a mandatory training course that the government will require everyone to go through.” That course, however, will be very limited in scope.
“The course we offer,” says Conor, “will go beyond that and talk about supply chain management, merchandising, marketing and advertising restrictions, hiring and training staff—everything you need to know to own and operate a cannabis store.”
He adds that “What makes our course interesting is it will compliment [the government-mandated training] and really focus on the other aspects of running the retail side of the business.” For those looking to truly thrive in the field, this presents an excellent opportunity.
What Makes AAPS’s Cannabis Retail Course Different from Other Retail Courses?
Not only does the AAPS course distinguish itself from the mandatory government training, but it is also unique when compared to other cannabis retail courses offered.
“What makes out program unique,” continues Conor, “is the fact that we really do try to focus on the smaller details and the things that people don’t think about, which really comes down to compliance, quality assurance, and understanding the regulations.”
Other colleges tend to focus heavily on the cultivation side of the industry. While AAPS also covers cultivation, the 16-week Cannabis – Management, Quality and Laboratory program stands out for addressing the regulatory and retail side that is especially important for someone running a cannabis store.
Who Would Get the Most Out of AAPS’s Cannabis Retail Training Course?
Anybody who wants to start a cannabis retail business will likely get a lot out of the course. “A lot of the people looking to get into cannabis retail have no experience in retail at all,” says Conor, “Although it’s not rocket science, it’s more complicated than people let on.” While the course focuses on Ontario, it addresses regulations in other provinces that allow private stores, such as Alberta and British Columbia.
However, the cannabis retail training course is by no means limited to people who are interested in running a store. As Conor says, “While the course is designed for someone who is looking to run their own cannabis retail store or manage their own cannabis retail store, it’s for all levels. So, sales associates who are planning on working in cannabis retail can take it as well.”
As part of a 16-week program, students also take courses on Growing Techniques and Tissue Culture, Quality Control and Laboratory Techniques, and Cannabis in Food Processing. The fact that the program covers both the production and retail side of the cannabis industry is a great advantage for students. For one, it means they have a more complete picture of the cannabis industry than somebody who only understands the retail or the production side. Secondly, it gives students the opportunity to see which side of the industry they would like to focus their career path on.
As Conor says, “We’ve had graduates go on to become extraction technicians at some of the leading companies like Canopy Growth. We’ve had others become quality assurance associates, laboratory assistants, packaging associates, processing technicians, cultivation technicians, and even customer service associates. And now they’ll be trained to be retail associates and retail managers.”
“We really try to hit every category and we find our students become well-versed in a bunch of different areas and they tend to specialize in a particular area depending on their background.” Conor adds, “The program really hits every main position within a facility and now on the retail side as well.” For students who want a career in this thriving industry, opportunity abounds after graduation.
Are you interested in breaking into the booming cannabis industry?
Contact AAPS to learn more about our cannabis retail courses.