Business of Cannabis (Self‑Paced)


This self-paced course can be done on your own time, from anywhere in the world. Simply log on and take the modules at your own pace. The course consists of the same curriculum as our Live Semester, developed by our professional faculty, and provides companion material and recommended reading you may follow to take a deeper dive. It also includes a video and resource library complete with lectures taped during our Live Classroom experience, to appeal to different learning styles. Students have 180 days to complete all the required materials and mastery exercises.


Course Overview

As prohibition comes to an end and more states legalize medical and adult-use cannabis, the industry is exploding. According to the 2021 Leafly Jobs Report, cannabis now supports 321,000 full-time U.S. jobs, averaging 27.5 percent employment growth each year since 2017. No other industry comes close.

There are a wide range of positions available in the cannabis sector, from entry-level retail, to horticulture and manufacturing. There are jobs in dispensaries, grow facilities, and extraction labs. The field is wide open for entrepreneurs who wish to get in on the ground floor and start their own business cultivating cannabis or bringing specialized cannabis and CBD products to market.

There are opportunities for ancillary industries to provide professional services to cannabis-related companies, such as media, marketing, packaging, real estate and law. There also is a need for public policymakers to set the course for intelligent, fair and equitable licensing and regulation as we write the next chapter of cannabis history.

This course offers a broad overview of the cannabis industry designed to prepare students to become responsible employees, educated voters, informed advocates and 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 industry and get you prepared for the risks and responsibilities you will face.


We begin the course 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 came before us and fought for the right to access medical cannabis, and learn more about 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, and cover the 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. We take students through the steps of first choosing a cannabis business model, then developing a business plan around the chosen model, including creation of a brand identity that reflects the student’s vision, mission, and values.

Finally, we take that business model and put it into action, showing you how to launch and oversee the daily operations of an effective and efficient cannabis business. We walk through special licensing and permit acquisition, the value of budgeting and financial management, standard operating procedures, hiring practices, ethical operations and leadership.

Throughout the course, projects and mastery exercises ensure that the student understands the material and challenges them to apply the knowledge.


  • 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

Certification Program

certificate of completion may be printed upon successfully passing the final exam and capstone project.