As the cannabis industry grows, SLU’s education programs expand and dispensaries look to hire –

SLU’s online cannabis science certification program grew from 80 students in 2020 to more than 300 this year. Now, they’re adding a graduate program.

ST. LOUIS — The term ‘higher education’ takes on new meaning as more students enroll in cannabis science programs.

St. Louis University offers a certification in that area, as medical and recreational marijuana continues to be legalized in additional states.

The global cannabis market size was about $20 billion in 2020, based on a report from Fortune Business Insights. It’s projected to grow over $197 billion by 2028. 

St. Louis University Director of Cannabis Operations Stacy Godlewski saw that as an opportunity.

“We were approached by a couple of different dispensaries and CEOs and we quickly learned that there was a need for educating the future workforce of this rapidly growing industry,” Godlewski said.

SLU’s cannabis science program started with 80 students in August of 2020. Now, they have over 300 students enrolled.

“They look at manufacturing, dispensing, the history and the economics behind it,” said Godlewski. “They move into cultivation, they then move into the extraction of cannabis, they then go into compliance and dispensing, and then they go into the pharmacological properties of cannabis.”

Once they complete the one-year, online certification course at SLU, many often take jobs in dispensaries like Proper Cannabis in St. Louis, with CEO John Pennington.

“We’ve hired about 20 people through SLU’s program and I think our employees fall in almost every spectrum of our business,” said Pennington. “Cultivation, manufacturing, which is where we make various products, post-harvest, interacting with the plant after harvest and I believe we have a couple on the retail side.”

Pennington said they’ve had almost 7,000 people apply for jobs.

“Our starting salary, our wage is in that 15 dollar range all the way up to managerial position where you can make 75,000 dollars.”

They offer full benefits and are rolling out a 401K plan next year. As the industry continues to grow, Pennington said the wages will only get more competitive.

“It’s here to stay and it will get bigger and bigger,” he said.

The University is launching a new Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutic Management certificate program in January.

For more information visit SLU’s cannabis education webpage.

Visit the Proper Cannabis website for more information on their dispensary.


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