"For the first time, the top thought leaders and brands in cannabis have come together to create a standardized, industry-accepted set of job credentials that ensures every worker has the skills, knowledge, and credibility necessary to succeed in cannabis today," said Max Simon, CEO and co-founder of Green Flower. "GF Institute, or simply GFI, will solve many of the problems we've been hearing about for years around properly training and developing the cannabis workforce, resulting in much higher quality talent and retention, better service to customers and patients, added safety and consistency to cannabis products, and increased confidence, sustainability, and value to our industry as a whole."
Companies in the U.S. cannabis industry have not had a set of guidelines and credentials to develop and grow the combined workforce of more than 321,000 full-time workers. This need is made more acute by the fact that the vast majority of talent being recruited to this quickly-growing industry has little or no cannabis experience or baseline knowledge.
GF Institute is launching with three standardized credentials, each requiring approximately 12-16 hours to complete:
- Dispensary Associate Certificate (DAC)
- Manufacturing Agent Certificate (MAC)
- Cultivation Technician Certificate (CTC)
GF Institute has worked with the industry's leading subject matter experts and instructional designers to create 100 percent online, outcome-driven training courses consisting of written, audio-visual, and interactive content tailored specifically to each cannabis-industry job category.
Three independent steering committees, consisting of more than 30 of the cannabis industry's leading companies and voices, have validated and approved the program's overall learning outcomes.
"The explosive growth seen in the cannabis industry in recent years underscores the critical need for the establishment of real, powerful, research-tested standards like this for our workforce as we move toward the inevitability of federal cannabis legislation," said Gil Christie, the inaugural chairman of GF Institute. “We are now working with ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB), the largest multi-disciplinary accreditation body in the Western hemisphere, for both federal and international accreditation to provide a robust and sustainable corporate training solution created by the industry, for the industry."
GF Institute's Steering Committee Founding Members represent a diverse range of companies who share values aligned with GF Institute's overall mission. These individual leaders were invited over many months to join and guide the inaugural curriculum content through each stage of its development, from providing input on learning objectives to approving actual exam questions.
Individuals who successfully complete any of the three certificate programs become members of the GF Institute and will receive a certificate representing their success, a digital badge for LinkedIn, as well as a wearable enamel pin that shows their co-workers, customers, and clients that they have successfully completed the credential.
"Cannabis continues to evolve and, as it does, GF Institute is leading the effort to establish a new level of professionalism, reliability, and a common language for communication in the cannabis industry," said Graham Farrar, president of Glass House Group and GF Institute Steering Committee Founding Member. "GF Institute's Standardized Certificate program places a cornerstone in the effort to help build an expanded cannabis industry by providing standardized training and educational benchmarks that can be respected by insiders and consumers alike."
GF Institute will soon make a significant announcement, in coordination with all steering committees and founding members, regarding an initiative that will power the cannabis education efforts of social equity applicants at an unprecedented scale.
GFI is currently accepting new founding member companies that believe that properly training their people is a priority. Interested parties can find more information, including a certificate course syllabus for each credential and complete program documentation on the GFI website.
The founding member brands currently represented on GF Institute's Steering Committee are:
- Ayr Wellness
- Ascend Wellness Holdings
- Berkshire Roots
- Blue River Terps
- Conception Nurseries
- Cresco Labs
- Eden Labs
- Flower One
- Flow Cannabis Co.
- Glass House Group
- Goodness Growth Holdings
- Heylo Cannabis
- Jushi Holdings
- Kiva Confections
- Ilera Holistic Healthcare
- NorCal Cannabis Company
- Papa and Barkley
- Revolutionary Clinics
- Slang Worldwide
- Synergistic Technologies & Associates
- The Parent Company
- The Evergreen Market
- Wana Brands
- Wonderland Nursery