ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – As Elmira College welcomes a new class on campus, it’s also offering new online cannabis courses. They are designed to prepare people for the new jobs being created in the legalized marijuana industry. Anyone can sign up for the 9-week programs, not just current students.

“Right now, it’s really, it’s growing. It’s the fastest growing job market in the country,” said Daniel Kalef, Chief Growth Officer at Green Flower, a cannabis education company based in Ventura, California. “It’s still the fastest growing industry in the country, and you think about, it’s pretty remarkable when it’s not legal in every state.

Green Flower partners with universities nationwide to offer certifications in different areas of the cannabis industry.

“There are three programs that we’re offering with Elmira, and they’re all designed to train people to get jobs in the industry right away,” said Kalef. “So, there’s the cultivation specialist certificate, there’s a retail specialist certificate, and then our extraction and product development specialist certificate.”

The “Ganjier” certification also allows people to study marijuana like a fine wine. “It’s like a sommelier certification,” said Kalef. “All of those programs are nine weeks long and they’re asynchronous, so they’re fully online. There’s no instructor leading the program, but there are instructors who are lecturing via video in the courses.”

Kalef says many people who work or are interested in working in the cannabis industry have no formal training or experience.

“The turnover is tremendous, because too many people come in not knowing anything really. Maybe they worked at The Gap or maybe they worked at The Garden Center or something like that, but it’s not the same obviously.”

Each certification costs $800 dollars when paid in full. There is also a payment plan. Kalef says financial aid is not available because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. Salaries can vary in different sectors of the industry. Kalef says they’re already pretty high, with room for growth.

“One thing we’ve seen is that typically, rates and wages are about 20% higher in the cannabis industry compared to something similar in another industry, which is really fantastic. When you get to management levels in any of these areas, six figures is not uncommon at all.”

To learn more about the cannabis courses courses being offered at Elmira College, go to cannabiseducation.elmira.edu

You can watch the full interview with Daniel Kalef below: