In preparation for the launch of Canada’s first postsecondary cannabis production program, Niagara College held a panel to discuss the future of pot in Niagara.
The consensus: the cannabis industry will bring positive changes to Niagara’s economic and educational landscapes and Niagara College plans to play a key role in supplying Canada with properly trained job candidates for the industry.
Event panellists included: Jennifer Maccarone, chief quality officer at Up Cannabis; St. Catharines MPs Chris Bittle and Vance Badawey; Bill MacDonald, coordinator of NC’s cannabis production program; and Blake Landry of Niagara Economic Development.
“We’ve heard loud and clear from our partners in the commercial cannabis industry that there’s a current and future need for workers who are skilled in the practices and procedures of working in a licensed producer, as well as navigating Canada’s stringent regulatory framework,” said MacDonald.
“We developed the Commercial Cannabis Production program to respond to that demand, and our industry partners were critical in helping us design the program to ensure graduates will possess the skills both they and the industry need to succeed.”
MacDonald said there’s been a high level of interest in the CCP program from people with skilled backgrounds and qualifications.
“We’ve been very impressed by the response to the program – not only in the volume of applications, but also in their quality. We’re receiving applications from many qualified industry professionals, who bring with them a wealth of experience, and who are looking to enhance their skills and help move this new market forward.”
Bittle said the panel discussion is “another important step in our community’s discussion about how Cannabis legalization will impact Niagara, and Canada as a whole.”
“The legalization process will provide opportunities but it will also provide challenges to the status quo. This is why it’s important that we continue to have community conversations like this to ensure we are best positioned to succeed economically, while also ensuring that public health goals are met in a meaningful way.”
The Commercial Cannabis Production (CCP) Post-Graduate Certificate program starts in September and will train graduates in the operational procedures of licensed cannabis producers.
The program will partner with Up Cannabis, a Canadian retailer.
Maccarone, chief quailty officer at Up Cannabis said the company looks forward to being a leading employer in the region.
“Our industry and our company are poised for great strides, and we’re intent on taking them with the utmost care and responsibility, with our community stakeholders foremost in mind.”
The panel discussion was the college’s first event of a series planned to continue exploring the future of Niagara’s cannabis industry.