Business of Cannabis Live (Fast‑Track)

About Our Program

A Broad Overview of America’s Fastest-Growing Industry

America’s cannabis industry is sweeping the nation, selling $25 billion in products and creating more than 107,000 new jobs last year. In addition to positions directly related to the plant, there is a growing need for cannabis professionals in a wide range of sectors, from real estate, law, and accounting to media, marketing, and sales. A seismic shift is happening now. Our Business of Cannabis program will prepare you to meet the moment. 

The cannabis industry is unlike any other. Oaksterdam’s business program focuses on how the industry operates and the myriad nuances that make it so unique to run a cannabis company in comparison to other types of businesses. It also covers compassionate and informed leadership in the sector.


Whether you are looking to find a job, grow a career, launch a business or invest in one, you will leave this course with a solid grasp on the overall business behind the plant. The program is designed to offer ways to engage in this emerging industry and prepare you for the risks and responsibilities you will face.

We begin by reviewing some of the foundations of cannabis, including the history of humans’ interaction with the plant and the policies which govern its production and use. We also review the efforts of the advocacy pioneers who fought for the right to access medical cannabis, and learn how we can continue that tradition in our personal and professional lives.

We discuss methods of ingesting cannabis and offer a research-based look at its therapeutic effects and potential side effects. We illustrate how the cannabis plant interacts with the human endocannabinoid system. The course then details the various methods of extraction for the purpose of creating cannabis products. We walk through the laboratory processes that isolate cannabinoids and terpenes from plant matter. We cover various ways these extracted compounds can be used in products, along with various delivery systems.

After establishing a basic understanding of processing and manufacturing, we turn to how it is grown. We review 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.

Then, we cover economic principles as they pertain to cannabis markets, which are heavily influenced by laws and regulations. We discuss the economic benefits and financial barriers the cannabis industry experiences and dive into the burgeoning CBD/Hemp-derived cannabinoid market.

Finally, we take cannabis business models and put it into action, showing you the steps required to launch  an effective and efficient cannabis business. We walk through special licensing and permit acquisition, the value of budgeting and financial management, how to compliantly market and brand cannabis products. The entirety of the Business of Cannabis program incorporates ethical operations, and effective leadership into every learning outcome.

About Our Virtual Classroom

Oaksterdam University Live Programs are a synchronous classroom model featuring interactive workshops.

The Live Semester experience offers students the chance to network and collaborate in real-time.

You will also have the opportunity to attend extra-curricular virtual field trips, tours, and weekly grow labs and join the Oaksterdam Alumni Network. 

Your group will meet virtually for live lectures twice a week for 9 weeks.
Mondays and Thursdays, 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM PT / 1:00 PM – 3:30 PM ET

This format is designed for entrepreneurs who wish to get started on an actionable plan to launch a cannabis business and have their questions about compliance, finances, equipment, branding, and marketing answered along the way.

Completion of all requirements grants an OU certification.

Course credits (6) are transferable to Golden Gate University upon successful completion of this course. 


Screen Sharing

Follow along with instructor’s slide presentations and virtual whiteboard.

Live Video Lectures

Attend lectures from our world-renowned instructors in real-time.

Breakout Sessions

Collaborate with your classmates in smaller groups to discuss the material and work on team projects.

Interactive Audio

Raise your hand to ask the instructor a question or join in on a class discussion.


Ask the instructor a question, chat with the class, or send private messages.

Business of Cannabis Course Curriculum

Federal vs. State Law

This course is an overview of state and federal cannabis laws, public policies, rules, and regulations. The course covers federal laws prohibiting cannabis and the risks of breaking those laws, including mandatory minimum prison sentences, asset forfeiture, and collateral consequences. Students will gain an understanding of evolving federal enforcement priorities and tactics, federal laws and policies that affect cannabis banking and taxes, and federal hemp and CBD laws and oversight. Students also will understand how states prohibit or allow medical and adult-use cannabis and the basic components of state licensing of commercial cannabis, including license types, eligibility, application requirements, and operating regulations.

History and Policies of Cannabis

This course explores the history of cannabis, its role in shaping the modern world, and the many misguided public policies that have arisen due to efforts to prohibit it. We will then examine the shift in public attitude toward the plant in the 1990s as people began to rediscover its therapeutic potential and how that shift ultimately culminated in the passage of the country’s first state medical cannabis law, California’s Proposition 215. The course will conclude with a brief discussion of the ongoing push toward medical and adult use legalization in the U.S. and worldwide and the role you can play as we write the next chapter of cannabis history.

Advocacy for the Cannabis Industry

Explore the collective quest for social, legal, and political acceptance of cannabis use. Review how advocacy has played a crucial role in shifting the perception of cannabis. What does advocacy look like under the current political administration? Which organizations are leading the way to end prohibition? How can you get involved in advocating for your rights as a patient or a business?

Introduction to Cannabis Science

This course introduces the endocannabinoid system and explains how cannabinoids act upon this system. It identifies primary cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, discusses their therapeutic utility, and highlights the importance of the ‘entourage effect.’ It also addresses the safety profile of medical cannabis, the established clinical benefits of cannabis-based therapies and their side effects, as well as situations for which it may be contraindicated and not recommended.

Safety and Efficacy of Medical Cannabis

This course will discuss key concepts surrounding the safety and efficacy of cannabis. It will provide an overview of the existing scientific literature, provide insight into how conventional medications are assessed for therapeutic effectiveness and acceptable safety, and then apply these same concepts to the cannabis plant. It will also briefly highlight some of the more established clinical benefits of cannabis and provide a basis for the potential use of cannabis-based therapies to modulate the progression of various diseases.

Methods of Ingestion and Delivery Systems

There are many ways to consume cannabis, and they all have different pros and cons, which business owners need to understand and communicate to their patients or customers. This course will teach you about the various types of cannabis products on the market and the methods of ingesting those products, including vaping, smoking, edibles, topicals, and more. Knowing the different ways to administer cannabis, the tools needed, and the process of making cannabis products is crucial to understand the cannabis industry fully.

Introduction to the Cannabis Supply Chain

 In this course, we define the concept of a supply chain and identify how regulations shape the cannabis supply chain. Then, we take a closer look at the different license types that make up the cannabis supply chain and discuss how the various license types are interrelated in the cannabis industry. We then more closely examine the practice of seed-to-sale tracking, a regulatory requirement that is one of the defining features of the cannabis supply chain and which has a massive impact on the day-to-day operation of a licensed cannabis business.

Economics of the Cannabis Industry

We define the concepts of supply and demand as they relate to cannabis markets and discuss how laws and regulations influence those markets. We explore the relationship between illegal and legal supply chains for cannabis and how policymakers have influenced the evolution of those markets. We outline the economic benefits generated by the industry, and how the sum of benefits argues in favor of ending prohibition. We conclude by discussing the financial barriers specific to the cannabis industry and how those barriers have impacted the cannabis economy.

Cannabis Business Licensing

 This course outlines the state framework for commercial cannabis laws and regulations. It also provides an introduction to local cannabis licensing and regulations. Students will learn the essential components of state licensing, including license types, licensing eligibility, application requirements, and operating regulations. Upon leaving the course, students will grasp the state license application process and the free resources available from state licensing agencies. If their state or country does not yet have commercial cannabis, students will be prepared to contribute to developing their licensing laws.

Branding and Marketing

 Branding and marketing are critical to the success of any business. Still, they are particularly important in the cannabis industry — competition is fierce, and many companies have very similar offerings. If you can’t differentiate your brand, it will get lost in the crowd. At the same time, there are several distinct challenges that cannabis businesses face in marketing their products. This course identifies the laws and rules that govern cannabis marketing, including content restrictions on the most widely-used social media platforms. We also discuss some unique aspects of cannabis consumer culture and the wide range of customer segments. We then present strategies for developing a solid brand and crafting an effective marketing strategy.

Cannabis Business Risks and Protections

This course is an overview of the various types of liability facing cannabis businesses and strategies for reducing risk. It emphasizes the complexities of the risks and the need for students to seek expert assistance. The goal is to familiarize students with liability issues to identify them before they arise, appropriately prepare their business, and respond as needed. The course introduces students to the concepts of regulatory compliance, legal liability, and business competition. Students will learn the basic operating requirements for cannabis businesses and understand the importance of regulatory compliance. It also presents students with the penalty structure for cannabis licensees.

Cultivation Science and Compliance

 Cannabis cultivation is a complex subject that includes a wide variety of topics such as botany, biology, chemistry, physics, and more. This course covers the basics of the cannabis plant’s physiology related to the business concerns of cultivation. We also address a foundational overview of how the cannabis plant grows. Whether your business includes a cultivation component or you plan to partner with cultivators that will provide cannabis biomass to your business supply chain, this course offers basic knowledge that you need to know.

Cultivation Financial Management, and Facility Design Requirements

Cultivation Financial Management
This course examines some of the financial considerations associated with launching and operating a commercial cannabis cultivation operation. We explore factors that determine how much revenue you can expect to generate. We examine capital and operating costs associated with different methods of cultivation.

Facility Design Requirements
This course examines the various types of equipment and compliance needs of a cultivation operation in the regulated cannabis industry. It offers a foundation of understanding of the vast array of equipment needed to cultivate cannabis successfully. It also explores the various components of ideal site selection within the context of optimal utilities setup.

Introduction to Cannabis Extraction

 Cannabis extraction has very likely been around for centuries since humans first discovered the plant. Today, it is a rapidly growing segment of the commercial cannabis industry. This course introduces the core concepts of cannabis extraction and looks back at some traditional methods used to extract beneficial compounds. Then, we introduce modern extraction methods in use today at a commercial scale and the techniques of post-processing that are required to produce the desired finished product. Finally, we identify the different types of products you can make with cannabis extracts and learn that the ideal method of extraction will always depend on your final product goals.

CBD and the Hemp Industry

The legalization of industrial hemp in the federal 2018 Farm Bill unleashed a wave of interest in hemp cultivation and hemp-derived CBD consumer products. This course examines the science, trends, and regulatory landscape for hemp and CBD and discusses how business owners can decrease risk while operating in a rapidly evolving market environment. We also discuss how the evolution of the cannabis market will influence the industrial hemp market and how the legalization of hemp will impact the future of the high-THC cannabis market.

Business of Cannabis Live (Fast‑Track)

Certification Program


Prepare for success and growth in the cannabis industry. Understand the nuances and special considerations that are unique to cannabis businesses. Learn what it takes to launch a cannabis business and manage its day-to-day operation. Starting with a comprehensive look at the history, policies, and science around cannabis, you’ll get the foundational knowledge you need to create quality cannabis products and develop an effective business model.

Meet with your instructors and classmates from around the world twice a week for 8 weeks via video conference to learn the most cutting-edge information available in the industry. Interact with your peers and have your questions answered in real-time. You’ll get the knowledge, connections, and certification, in an accelerated environment, to start your career in the exciting world of cannabis.

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Live Fast Track



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Certification Program

A certificate of completion may be printed upon successfully passing the final exam.

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