Cannabis Business

Grasping Cannabis Business from Patient to Business Plan

The Cannabis Business program (Formerly known as the Classic program) enables students to become responsible patients and employees, educated voters, prepared advocates & able business owners.  Whether you’re looking to find a job, begin a career, start a business or invest in one, students who complete this program will have a better understanding of the needs and concerns of patients and consumers, and a solid grasp on the overall business behind the plant. The program is designed to offer ways to engage in this emerging new industry and get you prepared for the risks and responsibilities you will face.

History & Law

Understand your rights, responsibilities & regulatory issues at the local, state & federal level


Business Management

Learn best practices for starting any cannabis business, maintaining good operations & employee relations

Patient Relations

Discover the action on the front lines of working with patients & consumers


Science & Economics

Communicate the research and debunk the myths with facts

Extracts & Topicals

Explore the extraction process & different methods of ingestion such as cooking, topicals, and vaporization

Advocacy & Action

Learn how to advocate for your business, and work with your local government & community

Cannabis Business Courses

We offer our Cannabis Business Program in 2 formats:
14-week Semesters and 4-day Seminars.

The Cannabis Business Program is a diverse curriculum including fundamentals such as history, the law, your rights, and the science of cannabis, cultivation, extractions/concentrates, cooking/edibles, topicals, advocacy, compliant cannabis business, procurement & allocation, grading & managing inventory, security, taxes, banking & intellectual property concerns. 

The Cannabis Business Semester is 14 weeks long, comprised of 18 individual classes and 12 horticulture demos. Classes meet once a week on Wednesdays.
Semesters are held 3 times a year, click here for available course dates.

Classes will cover topics from General Education, Politics & History, Science, and Law to Business Management, Operations, Extraction Processes, and Horticulture taught by expert instructors comprised of industry leaders, attorneys, business owners, professional growers, and extractors. Each class includes a  grow demonstration with accomplished horticulturists.

Semester students will be provided ample time for Q&A interaction with our expert instructors.

The Cannabis Business Seminar is 4 days long, comprised of 18 individual classes. Classes meet Saturday – Sunday (Basic*) and Monday – Tuesday (Advanced*).

The Cannabis Business Seminar is offered once a month, click here for available course dates.

Our Cannabis Business Seminar is a condensed version of our Cannabis Business Semester. Classes will cover topics from General Education, Politics & History, Science, and Law to Business Management, Operations, Extraction Processes and Horticulture taught by expert instructors comprised of industry leaders, attorneys, business owners, professional growers, and extractors. Each class includes a  grow demonstration with accomplished horticulturists.

The four-day Cannabis Business seminar is split between covering the fundamentals of cannabis (Basic) and the business and commercial aspects (Advanced).

*The Basic Cannabis Business Seminar is a prerequisite for the Advanced Cannabis Business Seminar. The complete seminar takes four days to complete, with a final exam for each part.

Course Curriculum

Click the subjects below to read the class descriptions

Legal 101: Federal vs. State Law
An important introduction to the legal issues surrounding medical cannabis and the cannabis industry. Learn about the laws that govern cannabis distribution, cultivation, possession, and consumption for adults and medical patients. Have your questions answered by prominent cannabis lawyers, many of which helped write the law. Grasp the difference between state & federal law and what each means for you. Learn how to behave safely and responsibly under California and Federal Law.
Politics & History of Cannabis
Cannabis is the world’s first cash crop with proven use that dates back over 10,000 years. The use of cannabis, and the industry that has developed, comes from long and complicated struggle of social, political, and medical activism and awareness. Learn about the political history of cannabis, and the key players and policies that have shaped the policy as we know it today. Learn the history and politics of the Cannabis movement, and figure out what part you play in the future of regulation and reform.
Understand how to become a qualified patient, or recognize one. Review your rights under the law, including how to exercise your rights when navigating police encounters successfully. Learn your civic rights and responsibilities to positively contribute to our community and the cannabis industry.
Horticulture 101: Growing Safely & Responsibly
Learn the basics of how to grow cannabis. This course covers everything needed to get going and produce or improve your personal cannabis harvest. Instructors will detail the basics of watering, lighting, ventilation, life cycles, and equipment options. Indoor and outdoor information is included, as well as hydroponics and organic options. Even experienced folks can learn from this presentation about cuttings, pest and pathogen control, smell abatement, security, pH balance, and drying/curing.
Methods of Ingestion: Extracts & Vaporization
Learn the benefits and history of extracted medicine, the science behind it, and the different extraction methods and equipment used. Learn how the vaporization process works, various types of vaporizers, and be able to explain to your doctor how this alternative method to ingest cannabis is safer than smoking and easier to titrate than edibles.
Methods of Ingestion: Home Cooking with Cannabis
Hundreds of alternatives to smoking cannabis are now available, including confections, cheesecakes, salad dressings, beverages, and more. Become versed in the basics of cooking with cannabis in a classroom setting. Learn how to cook at home with whole plant medicine and extracts, regulate and titrate dosages, and how to make cannabutter step-by-step. Learn from long-time cannabis cooks and professional chefs.
Science of Cannabis
This class will present an overview of the peer-reviewed scientific literature relevant to the therapeutic efficacy and relative safety of cannabis. Know the facts, learn the science! Be trained to debunk commonly cited studies against cannabis and review studies in the past that have impacted the social environment surrounding cannabis today. Discuss emerging ethical and political issues surrounding research. Discover new therapeutic uses and explore the clinical benefits, research summaries, and scientific applications of cannabis.
Economics 101
Eighty percent of Americans agree that the current policy of prohibition has failed. Oaksterdam University Students, Alumni, Volunteers, Faculty, Staff and Instructors are working hard with local and state government to make safer communities through the regulation of cannabis. Learn how to facilitate the discussion about the economics of regulating cannabusiness. Review the macroeconomic aspects of past, current, and future cannabis laws, regulations and markets.
No movement can change the course of history without advocacy. In the collective quest for social, legal and political acceptance of Cannabis use, advocacy has played a crucial role in shifting the perception of cannabis. What does advocacy look like under this administration? Which organizations are leading the way to end prohibition? How can YOU get involved advocating for your rights as a patient or a business?
Horticulture 102
Instructors continue the subjects begun in the first horticulture class for more comprehension and going commercial. This course is for the experienced grower or any student who has completed Horticulture 101. New topics include seed germination, clone/cutting production, and examples of automatic systems and CO2 systems. This class takes your grow to a larger scale, or commercial cultivation, and offers tips and tricks to maximize your productivity.
Budtender & Patient Relations
Sometimes a patient's first experience in the cannabis industry is with a budtender. This interaction can set the tone for the patient's feelings on cannabis as medicine and the entire industy. Learn the importance of building a lasting relationship of trust and respect with the patient and the customer in a safe and relaxed atmosphere. Understand the role and responsibilities of the Budtender and the importance of having well trained staff that can stay informed and relevant about the new procedures and trends in the Medical Cannabis industry.
Dispensary & Business Operations
So what does it really take to run a successful business in the cannabis industry? Learn about Job #1: Security! Hear from long time dispensary operators on how to manage and train personnel for excellent customer service and patient privacy. In addition to best practices for internal business operations, now is the time to also engage with the larger community. Learn how to build strong community relations and discuss ways to reinvest in your surrounding community.
Business Management
Starting and operating a successful cannabusiness requires an understanding of management and the documents needed to establish your business. Different kinds of companies exist in this new Cannabis industry, we discuss successful business management models, and overview how to write a business plan. Learn the steps needed to take a great business idea and make into a successful cannabusiness reality.
Procurement & Allocation
Discuss how to get product from providers to patients. The process begins with safe transportation and includes grading, weighing, and storage. In some places it is more regulated than others. The instructor will discuss how to grade your product and determine value. With legalization comes regulation and new systems are being put in place to track and trace this process. This class is particularly important for inventory managers and those interested in learning about how the product is delivered and dispensed in California.
Cannabis Business 102 – Legal Business Structures
As the Cannabis industry continues to grow, there are many different businesses being developed. Commercial grow, dispensary, cannabis edibles company, clone provider, delivery service, ancillary and service companies, or any of the numerous cannabusinesses yet to develop in this industry, understanding the process to obtain city, county, state permits and licenses is valuable. Legal Business Structures, and standard business issues such as payroll, sales tax, worker’s compensation, health insurance, and other requirements for operating a business are covered. Lawyers share firsthand experience and knowledge. Current political issues and local politics are explained, including reference to the current laws and future regulations.
Intellectual Property
As the cannabis industry develops intellectual property becomes increasingly important to cannabis businesses. This development poses new questions for business owners like how do you develop and protect your brand — your trademark — in an industry that is federally unlawful? What about the other forms of intellectual property (IP)? How do copyrights, patents, trade secrets, and geographical indicators function in the cannabis industry, and can cannabis business owners take advantage of IP protection? Learn about the IP challenges cannabis entrepreneurs face in light federal prohibition and rules that vary from state to state. Hear from leading industry attorneys who focus their practice on IP and find out how to set yourself up for strong IP protection from the start.
Know Your Rights Workshop
Unlock justice and secure your freedom during police encounters! This class includes skits that simulate encounters with law enforcement. Students will see the knowledge learned in Legal 101 & Civics 101 applied in action. Experienced instructors teach examples of common encounters and teach you specific wording to use when confronted by police. Most people give up their constitutional rights during encounters with law enforcement. These mistakes are avoidable and costly! This class is essential to know your legal rights and explore the gray areas; in order to do risk analysis and make informed decisions. This class is a must for anyone in the cannabis industry.
Methods of Ingestion – Topical Applications
Using cannabis-infused topicals can bring immediate relief to pain. Students will learn as evident through history and science, there is a connection between cannabis and pain management through the use of topical treatments. This class will also discuss Endocannabinoid system and the ways topicals work within the body. As the industry continues to grow, so do the requirements for labelling and the importance of quality products and ingredients. Learn the process of creating cannabis-infused topicals for yourself and hear about the business behind the product.
Grow Demonstrations
Grow Demo – Transplanting Clones
Clones need to be transplanted as soon as possible in an ideal situation. However, because they are young, this must be done gently, taking several factors into consideration. This demonstration will outline the Oaksterdam method for successfully transplanting clones into different types of mediums. Container size, amendments and lighting requirements will be included.
Grow Demo – Seeds
Seeds are a vital part of cannabis growing and there are many strategies for choosing and successfully germinating them. This lab will identify what healthy seeds look like and explain the anatomy and physiology of a cannabis seed. We will demonstrate the different ways to plant seeds directly into the proper medium as well ways to germinate them before transplanting into a medium.
Grow Demo – Vegetative Growth
The vegetative growth stage is misunderstood and confused with flowering stage but the two are like night and day. There are methods to keep plants in this stage of growth for the appropriate amount of time that will be explained and demonstrating. Quarantining new plants, practices for encouraging healthy root development and the different techniques for training growth are all also covered in this demonstration.
Grow Demo – Lighting
Lighting is one of the most important components of cannabis growing and it is an increasingly diverse field. Traditional High Intensity Discharge (HID) lighting is now being rivaled by doubled ended lamps and LEDs. The operating requirements and pros and cons of each will be explored in depth. Particular attention will be given the the types of lighting most useful for each stage of growth.
Grow Demo – Mediums
The many different kinds of mediums that are used for growing cannabis can be confusing and difficult to sort through. This demonstration goes over which mediums are available for which stages of growth as well as which combinations they can be used in. The pros and cons of each medium are emphasized and other concerns such as sustainable practices are also included.
Grow Demo – Ways to Water
There are a variety of ways to water cannabis and there are many factors involved in determining how much water to give a plant and when to do so. This demonstration covers different systems such as ebb and flow, drain to waste and hand watering, as well as the pros and cons of each such as higher or lower water usage and more or less interaction with plants.
Grow Demo – Flowering
Flowering is arguably the most important stage of cannabis growth. Achieving success at this stage requires that many different processes happen at certain times. Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium (N:P:K) ratios and concentration changes are defined by the stages of flowering along with other factors. These topics are involved and demonstrated here in detail.
Grow Demo – Nutrient Disorders
Nutrient disorders are extremely common indoors, especially in hydroponic systems. Because there are many ways for a plant to experience a nutrient disorder, a specific diagnosis is often difficult. Besides learning how to identify these issues we will demonstrate how to diagnose and correct imbalances, and how to prevent them from happening again.
Grow Demo – Pests & Pathogens
Pests and Pathogens such as fungi, mold, bacteria, insects and mites are major problems encountered when growing cannabis. We will demonstrate the most common pests and pathogens encountered, how to identify them and the damage they cause to the plant. Different stages of growth are more vulnerable to different pathogens and these will be identified and discussed.
Grow Demo - Late Flowering
Late flowering is when plants come to maturity. There are specific visual signs that indicate when plants are mature and ready for harvest. When harvesting mature plants there are specific protocols that must be followed for proper drying and storage. This demonstration will cover all of these areas in specifics.

Our Instructors

The mission of our Cannabis Business Department is to prepare students for various careers in the Cannabis Industry. Our faculty include industry leaders and professionals who bring first-hand knowledge and expertise to the subjects they teach.

Multiple industry leaders and pioneers lend their expertise on the legal, logistical, political, and economic perspectives of working with the cannabis plant and suggest opportunities within the various businesses creating this industry.

The Student Experience

Oaksterdam provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to lead and succeed in the evolving cannabis industry. Oaksterdam is widely recognized for its experience and leadership in the Cannabis industry, with exceptional academic learning and networking opportunities.

Network & Connect

Network with peers and professionals and establish roots in the industry: 

Semester students will be provided with ample amounts of time to connect with their classmates and will have access to 1-on-1 Q&A opportunities with OU Faculty & Staff. Semesters students are also eligible to attend our Volunteer Horticulture Lab Fridays, where they can continue to network with their classmates while getting hands-on experience in our Horticulture Lab.

Text Books

The Oaksterdam University required textbooks & recommended textbooks are a great resource for both students & alumni. Students will utilize and refer to Ed Rosenthal’s Marijuana Grower’s Handbook and Ed Roenthal’s Beyond Buds Next Generation and will be assigned reading homework throughout the course.



Our certifications are the most recognized and well recieved by cannabis industry employers world wide

Certification offers an advantage to graduates who want to work in the medical and commercial cannabis industry.


Enroll today or get in touch!