Pot 101: Entrepreneurs offer cannabis classes

In Colorado, 'THC University' looks to train people going into the booming marijuana business.

By Bruce Kennedy Feb 12, 2013 11:51AM

Image: A green chalkboard with the alphabet written on it -- Ocean/Corbis /CorbisMedical marijuana is legal in nearly 20 U.S. states, and adults can smoke pot recreationally now in Washington state and Colorado. And starting next year, stores legally selling recreational marijuana are scheduled to open in Colorado.

Those facts have inspired a group of budding young entrepreneurs looking for a niche in the cannabis market to come up with a potentially profitable idea: Develop a program to train people to not only grow marijuana, but to prepare for potential careers with marijuana growers, manufacturers and dispensaries.

"The medical industry is already thriving, here the recreation industry is about to boom and there's no source here in Colorado for people to really get a professional education in the field," says 24-year-old Matt Jones, co-founder of THC University. "There's no standard for educating the workforce for this industry."


Over the weekend, about 20 people attended THC University's first class, "Growing Marijuana 101," in a rented room at an educational complex in downtown Denver.


No marijuana was allowed in class. Instead the students practiced on tomato plants as they learned how to grow and cultivate cannabis -- using information gathered from local cannabis industry veterans.


Jones and his business partner Freeman LaFleur decided to create a course for people who want to grow marijuana at home -- as well as for those with an eye on the industry.


"Right now were are in a grey area," Jones says. "Recreationally it's legal to smoke [in Colorado] but it's illegal to buy or sell. The only way you can get the plant is if you grow it on your own."


Students at the Marijuana 101 class paid $175 for the one-day seminar -- or $275 for the course plus a year of 24-hour tech support once their plants are growing.

Demand is such that the university is now offering 14 courses, both in a classroom and online.


And Jones says he and his colleagues are working with marijuana producers and dispensaries to create a curriculum that produces the kind of employee the cannabis industry wants and needs. They're also creating an online jobs board where graduates can find employment and where companies can search them out.


Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and Jones says the new cannabis industry needs employees who are more than just, in his words, "enthusiastic potheads" -- people who not only know their product well, but who understand their legal responsibilities.


"Our generation has such a unique opportunity," he says, "a chance to get into an industry that's just beginning. My advice is to start planning, start doing. Start connecting."

More on moneyNOW

Feb 12, 2013 3:22PM
Marijuana ought to be legal in all 50 states.
Feb 12, 2013 2:49PM
Congratulations to these inspired and innovative young people.  Take the Bull by the Horns and Go Go Go!  Way to take advantage of an opportunity.  There should be more people out there like these gentlemen, willing to take a risk and make a better society through education and hard work.  Teach the masses to think and work and produce products and provide services which are obviously going to be in high demand (pardon the pun).  Knowledge is power and with enough education about cannabis and it's related products and services we can finally get past the fear mongering and reach a state of true enlightenment.
Feb 12, 2013 3:02PM
The way out of the national debt can be obtained through cannabis and related products.Might take a few years but it'll be fun for everyone in the meantime except for the people who think Reefer Madness is a documentary.
Feb 12, 2013 2:58PM
The industry is skyrocketing and is going to continue. I live in rural Colorado where lots of pot is grown and we have dispensaries opening daily. It's not going away.  Fortunately I took a small gamble six months ago and bought into the industry with a few penny stocks that are posed to boom even further. They're up collectively about 20 times where I purchased them originally and I'm buying more.  Pretty confident they are going to explode.  See MJNA, HEMP, GRNH, and PHOT.  Hopefully you don't look at them a year from now and say "shoulda, woulda, coulda"
Feb 12, 2013 2:44PM

Progress sometimes comes slowly!

DirtCheap Hydorponics


Feb 12, 2013 7:15PM
Maybe this will take a bite out of the Mexican Cartel pockets.
Feb 12, 2013 7:09PM

American money will stay in America.

Feb 12, 2013 6:50PM

I don't smoke marijuana, but I've seen enough studies on the plant's cancer healing powers to hope that with it becoming legalized, there will be more research done on this property of the plant.  The only people who probably don't want to see cures for cancer that don't cost hundreds of thousands of dollars are several of the medical equipment companies and pharmaceutical corporations - they same guys who continuously lobby to keep this plant illegal. 

Feb 12, 2013 7:11PM

Sure, why not, It's only a weed but to get the maximum potency from it takes a learned skill.

I haven't lit up in many years but I think it is much less dangerous than alcohol.

Feb 12, 2013 6:48PM

I will grow for me only, no sales. I am not giving the government ****. By the way, **** all liberals and MSN.



Feb 12, 2013 8:10PM
The main roadblock in making mariju****gal are the single minded misinformed old farts in office that still think that the old movie "Reefer Madness" is the real way that marijuana works.
Until we get these old farts out and replace them with more informed open minded people it will always be federally illegal.  
Feb 12, 2013 7:41PM
In the 40's we had freedom fighters in America who killed law enforcement officers.  The gangsters and mobsters of prohibition.  The descendants of Jack Daniels and Jim Beam.  Legal legalize drugs and the killings in Mexico will stop and most important, get the crooked cop off the block!
Feb 12, 2013 7:45PM
Gee... we only have one state pot shop, here in New Jersey! Hope there's more coming, soon.
Feb 12, 2013 7:27PM
If your kid is only taking one or two classes, it might behoove you to check which ones they are before you keep writing those tuition checks, parents.  You might be paying out the big bucks just to teach your kids to grow pot.  Ha, Ha. 
Feb 12, 2013 7:41PM
YES!! Way to GO!! I wish my generation had half the ball$, instead they sit in the corner wondering who's gonna be the first person on the dance floor. The music is over by time they decide. 
Feb 14, 2013 12:36AM
I don't smoke it.  I tried it didn't like it years ago in college.  but you should be able to grow and smoke all of it you wish to.  just like any other weed.  free the weed.
Feb 12, 2013 8:46PM
This is nothing new, there's the Oaksterdam University thats been in business for years, but all the growers in the world won't sway the feds position on Pot.
Feb 12, 2013 6:34PM
Feb 12, 2013 7:15PM
Finally, a job for those that don't want to work!!!
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