Do Marijuana Industry Certifications Really Matter?

As training schools offering cannabis education certificates become more commonplace, the question arises as to whether it is actually worth the time and money to earn a marijuana industry certification. Does a certificate really help set some job applicants apart from others? We asked hiring managers and executive directors from some of the top cannabis businesses across the country.

“Depending on the specific job, some type of cannabis industry certification can certainly give a job applicant an edge over other candidates,” says Kelsey Schnack of SPARC, a renowned medicinal cannabis dispensary in San Francisco that is currently hiring. “In particular, as a PFC certified dispensary, we give all of our retail, safety and administrative staff the ASA-CTI certification training and exam during their first week of being hired, so if an applicant applying for one of these positions already had [their] CTI certification, it would definitely give them an advantage over others.”

Most hiring managers for reputable cannabis businesses, while appreciative of hands-on experience with the products, are interested in practical skills and knowledge that are directly applicable to the position being filled.  “We need our employees to not only have personal experience with cannabis, but also a have a working knowledge of the endocannabinoid system, cannabinoids, terpenes, and how these all work metabolically.” says Len Goodman, executive director of New MexiCann in (you guessed it) New Mexico. “We cannot advise our patients unless we understand the plant, its active ingredients, and how they work in the body.”

“People have no idea what it means to be a professional in the cannabis industry,” says Jeremy Kaufman of The CPC in Seattle. “If an applicant provided proof of extended education as far as cannabis was concerned, it would definitely demonstrate a drive for knowledge and a desire to succeed. This would put any applicant head and shoulders above the rest.”

So is an ASA-CTI certification derived from the mandated training requirements for Washington D.C medical cannabis businesses (see section 5106) worth having? We certainly think so, and industry leaders clearly agree.

Photo of SPARC interior courtesy of Drug Policy Alliance.