Community colleges in Campbellton and Moncton hope to offer medical marijuana training by 2017

By Vanessa Blanch, CBC News Posted: Oct 05, 2016 12:09 PM AT Last Updated: Oct 05, 2016 12:42 PM AT

A new community college program is being developed in New Brunswick to train people to work in the growing medical marijuana field.

Michel Doucet, executive director of contract training and customized learning for Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick, said he hopes the course will be offered at francophone community colleges in 2017.

“We know there’s a need for qualified workers. It’s a brand new industry,” Doucet said.

“We’re really targeting entry level positions in terms of supporting growers’ needs to have access to trained employees in the area of medical marijuana.”

Doucet is working with licenced medical marijuana growers Organigram in Moncton and Zenabis in Campbellton, which hopes to be operating by 2017.

He said the goal is to offer the training program in both of those cities.

Medical marijuana key to growth in province

The Gallant government’s economic growth plan, which was unveiled in September, identified marijuana as an opportunity that should be pursued.

Doucet said the new program is part of that strategy.

“We’re really at the start of what we feel is an important industry and it’s no different than any other industry. Industry requires that we need to have access to qualified skilled employees,” Doucet said.

Doucet said while there are other training programs available across Canada, none are as specific as the course that is being developed in New Brunswick.

“The quality control aspects, the harvesting, the care of the plant and all that is very industry–specific as it’s done in very confined and very regulated environments,” he said.

“We know that the recent announcement of Zenabis in the Campbellton – Atholville area  has generated a lot of opportunities.”

Doucet expects the course, which will teach a “unique skill set,” to be offered as early as the fall of 2017.

“We’re very optimistic. We know there’s a need for qualified workers … but what we have to keep in mind here is that this training program that we’re building … is done so in accordance with some very specific rules and regulations.”

~ with files from Information Morning Moncton

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