By Jacki Wood

In an effort to expand non-credit programming, and with a shortage of qualified professionals in the growing cannabis industry, Northwest Missouri State University partnered with Green Flower Media to create an online cannabis education program last year to help meet those needs.

One year into the program and around 70 individuals have taken classes so far with focused instruction from top experts in the industry.

“We were looking at how we can provide some programming in our non-credit area and do some things that were a little outside the box, in some of the more innovative industries that are growing in the nation and in the region,” Dr. Jay Johnson, associate provost of academic operations and development at Northwest, said. “With medical marijuana being approved in 2018 in the state of Missouri, Northwest was thinking about ways we could work in the industry. It really just fit perfectly in our portfolio of non-credit programs.”

Green Flower’s curriculum features trusted information and perspectives from industry-leading cannabis professionals.

Daniel Kalef, vice president of higher education, said Green Flower is considered the leader in cannabis education and curriculum.

“We are very closely connected to leaders across every area, from major corporate operators to small companies, and we created the curriculum with those experts,” he said. “We decided one of the best routes to go was to partner with universities.”

Johnson said collaborating with higher education helps individuals get better prepared for careers in the cannabis industry.

“Going with higher education to provide training to people is significant because we have to make sure our programming is rigorous and valuable,” he said.

Northwest offers four certificate programs through Green Flower:

• Cannabis Healthcare and Medicine Certificate is designed for healthcare providers, allied health professionals, and retail professionals and manufacturers – “From Cannabis 101 to in-depth Integrated Clinical Practice, this is the healthcare knowledge you need to take your career to the next level.”

• Cannabis Law and Policy Certificate is designed for legal professionals, law enforcement professionals and those interested in compliance – “The information and insights you need to participate in the ever-changing legal landscape surrounding the cannabis industry.”

• The Business of Cannabis Certificate is designed for entrepreneurs, business professionals, and operators and manufacturers – “Understand the challenges and opportunities presented by the cannabis business as you progress from seed to sale.”

• Cannabis Agriculture and Horticulture Certificate is designed for novice and experienced growers, grow facility managers, and hobbyists – “Develop an in-depth understanding of the complex process of cannabis production, management, and cultivation. Plant care, yield maximization and more.”

Each certificate consists of three eight-week courses and takes approximately six months to complete. The next round of classes begin January 10.

For more information or to enroll, visit