Where Will New Yorkers Get Cannabis Training?

Stephen Andrews
25 Jul 2022

New York is taking its cannabis sector seriously. As part of its effort to build a legal and healthy functioning cannabis sphere, the Empire State will use a separate fund worth $5 million dedicated to community colleges. The money will help the colleges create various cannabis accreditation programs where those interested in a career in Cannabis can obtain training on their desired cannabis industry job.

Four schools within the State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) will receive financing of $5 million to be directed for the creation and maintenance of various credential programs and courses "that quickly address local employer skill needs within the cannabis sector, a projected multi-billion dollar industry with tens of thousands jobs."

The programs created will include non-degree and degree-eligible courses and programs, stackable credentials, and micro-credentials. 

The official announcement on the multi-million funding further says that "Selected campuses must also partner with local employers in the cannabis industry and receive their input on curriculum development."

Chris Alexander, the Executive Director of New York's Office of Cannabis Management, said in a statement, "It's wonderful to see community colleges across the SUNY and CUNY systems help their students develop the skills necessary to be players in this burgeoning industry. This is an excellent step towards helping New York's cannabis industry grow." 

The cannabis credentialing program is billed as part of Governor Hochul's pledge to create new employment opportunities for New Yorkers, especially those from historically underserved communities. The program will seek to source talent locally. The Office of Cannabis Management will help colleges define social equity candidates.

"New York's new cannabis industry is creating exciting opportunities, and we will ensure that New Yorkers who want careers in this growing sector have the quality training they need to be successful," Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement. "Diversity and inclusion are what makes New York's workforce a competitive, powerful asset, and we will continue to take concrete steps to help ensure everyone has the opportunity to participate in the cannabis industry."  

From the CYNY campus selection, the Borough of Manhattan Community College is chosen as a lead campus, set to receive $2 million in funding. This college will partner with Lehman College, the two accommodating more than 360 participants. 

From the SUNY campuses, three colleges will receive $1 million as part of the funding scheme: 

  • Schenectady County Community College (lead campus). Partners: Adirondack Community College, Columbia-Greene Community College, and Fulton-Montgomery Community College. Number of program participants: over 300.
  • Niagara County Community College (lead campus). Partners: Erie Community College, Genesee Community College, and Jamestown Community College. Number of program participants: over 4,000 participants.  
  • Orange County Community College (lead campus). Partners: Dutchess Community College, Rockland Community College, Sullivan County Community College, Ulster County Community College, and Westchester Community College. Number of program participants: over 200.

In addition, the announcement says that "the New York State Department of Labor and the Office of Cannabis Management will support efforts to expand learning opportunities by helping to connect businesses and job seekers to these essential training programs. Upon completion, the Department will help candidates complete resumes, prepare for job interviews and provide regional job leads."

"I am thankful to Governor Hochul and our partners at SUNY and CUNY community colleges for developing programs that will help develop a diverse, equitable and accessible New York cannabis industry," said Tremaine Wright from New York's Cannabis Control Board, the body responsible for authorizing applications and licenses to cannabis businesses and approving the rules and regulations which govern the industry in New York. 

"As our cannabis industry grows, so does our need for skilled workers, and this is a wonderful way to create opportunities for New Yorkers," Wright said.

The Empire State's newly regulated cannabis industry is expected to fully launch later this year. 

New York legalized recreational weed for adults back in 2021. Under the new regulations, those aged 21 and above can possess up to three ounces of pot without any fear of breaking the law.

Governor Hochul took over the office last August following the resignation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. She has proven to be a steady and reliable force in navigating the state's emerging cannabis sector.

Stephen Andrews