The Business of Cannabis


The Business of Cannabis online Course provides the most comprehensive education available for entering the Cannabis Industry. This course consists of resources, presentations, and mastery exercises developed by industry leaders. It is designed for anyone looking to learn about the cannabis industry and what to look for to start a business within the industry.

Module 1 : Cannabis History & Policies

Cannabis has been used for practical, medicinal, spiritual, and social purposes for thousands of years; it was not until the 20th century that the plant developed a reputation as a dangerous and malignant substance that needed to be stamped out through total prohibition. This lesson will explore the history of cannabis and the major role it played in the shaping of the modern world, as well as the many misguided public policies that have arisen as a result of efforts to prohibit it. We will then examine the shift in public attitude toward the plant in the 1990’s 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 lesson will conclude with a brief discussion of the ongoing push toward medical and adult use legalization in the U.S. and around the world, and the role you can play as we write the next chapter of cannabis history.

Lessons in this module:

  • Origins of Cannabis
  • Early Prohibition
  • Counterculture
  • Revolution Reaction: Nixon’s War On Drugs
  • Medical Legalization: Shifting Attitudes & State Laws
  • Post-215 Era: Adult Use & Beyond

Module 2 : Federal vs. State Law

This course is an overview of state and federal cannabis laws, public policies, rules, and regulations. The class will cover federal laws prohibiting cannabis and the risks of breaking those laws including mandatory minimum prison sentences, asset forfeiture, and collateral consequences. You will gain an understanding of the evolving federal enforcement priorities and tactics. 

In addition to federal law, this class also introduces students to state laws governing cannabis. You will understand how states prohibit or allow medical and adult-use cannabis. It includes an overview of the legal framework for regulating personal use and commercial cannabis. Upon finishing this course, you will have a grasp of the range of state cannabis laws and the licensing framework for commercial cannabis.

Lessons in this module:

  • Overview of U.S. Government & Legal System
  • Federal “Marihuana” Laws and Policies
  • Federal Risks & Penalties
  • Federal Laws and the Business of Cannabis
  • State & Local Cannabis Laws
  • Civics

Module 3 : Cannabis Products and Methods of Ingestion

Module 2 illustrates how the cannabis plant affects the human endocannabinoid system, describing both the therapeutic and potential side effects. The course then details the various methods of extraction for the purpose of creating cannabis products, as well as the methods that humans can ingest those products.

Lessons in this module:

  • Cannabis Products and Methods of Ingestion Overview
  • Scientific Research on Cannabis (add this course)
  • Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis
  • Introduction to Extractions
  • Methods of Ingestion & Delivery Systems

Module 4 : The Business of Cannabis Cultivation

Module 3 reviews all 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.

Lessons in this module:

  • Plant Science
  • Facility Design Requirements
  • Cultivation Financials
  • Regulation and Compliance
  • The Business of Cannabis Cultivation Optional Project
  • Mastery Exercise

Module 5 : The Economics Behind Cannabis

Module 4 defines economics principles as they pertain to cannabis markets, which are heavily influenced by laws and regulations. The module then discusses the economic benefits and financial barriers the cannabis industry experiences.

Lessons in this module:

  • Economics and Public Policy
  • The Economics of Legalization
  • The New Cannabis Economy
  • The Fight Against Legalization
  • Financial Barriers in the Cannabis Economy
  • Economics Optional Project: Economic and Policy Landscape Analysis
  • Economics Optional Project: Cannabis Market Research
  • Mastery Exercise

Module 6 : Business Startup

Module 5 takes the student through the steps of first choosing a cannabis business model and then developing a business plan around their chosen model. The module finishes with the creation of a brand identity that reflects the student’s vision, mission, and values.

Lessons in this module:

  • Writing a Business Plan
  • Choosing a Business Model
  • Brand Marketing
  • Intellectual Property
  • Business Startup Optional Project: Outline Your Business Plan
  • Mastery Exercise

Module 7 : Business Management

Module 6 takes the business plan developed in Module 5 and puts it into action, showing the student how to launch and oversee the daily operations of an effective and efficient cannabis business. In this module, the student learns about special licensing and permit acquisition, the value of budgeting and financial management, standard operating procedures, hiring practices, ethical operations, and leadership.

Lessons in this module:

  • Business Registration and Licensing
  • Financial Management
  • Employee Hiring and Management
  • Business Management Optional Project: Budget Your Business
  • Mastery Exercise

Module 8 : Advocacy

Module 7 talks about advocates, who in the past risked arrest and prosecution to educate the public about the benefits of cannabis and provide medicine to patients in need. Advocates played a central role in the creation and evolution of the cannabis industry. This module defines advocacy as a form of marketing, reviews the role of advocates and organizations in normalizing cannabis adult-use and achieving meaningful pro-cannabis policy reform, and then provides strategies and techniques for engaging effectively as an advocate. The module concludes with an exploration of the recent influx of influential investors in the cannabis industry and the surprising interest from former political opponents.

Lessons in this module:

  • The Importance of Advocacy
  • Federal Drug Policy and the Supremacy Clause
  • Value of Engagement and Effective Advocacy Strategy
  • Looking Forward to the Future of Cannabis Advocacy
  • Advocacy Optional Project: Explore Advocacy Opportunities
  • Mastery Exercise

Certification Program

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

 There are no scheduled times. You may complete the modules on your own schedule, and you will have 180 days to complete the course. A certificate of completion may be printed upon successfully passing the final exam.