This past year, before Ohio even legalized the marijuana for medical use conferences and workshops have been cropping up across the state.
But a Northeast Ohio native has started the state’s first brick-and-mortar facility to offer more in-depth training about the industry as well as the plant.
After the state has finalized details about the medical marijuana program in Ohio, the Cleveland Cannabis College will offer classes in horticulture, law, history and other areas this fall.
Founder Richard Pine said the school is geared toward individuals who would like to work as medical marijuana growers or in dispensaries, but classes are offered to anybody who would like to learn more regarding the plant and its uses.
“Ohio’s actually setting the bar for the laws in medical marijuana — they are treating it like a medicine unlike some states out west,” Pine said. “What we plan to do is share the scientific facts about cannabis with as many people as possible.”
Pine, 28, attended Kent State University and grew up in Broadview Heights. After graduation, he moved to Georgia but returned to Ohio last year after state lawmakers legalized medical marijuana.
Ohio law permits people to use and purchase marijuana if recommended to them by a physician for one of 20 qualifying medical conditions. Growing it at home or smoking pot aren’t allowed under the law.
State regulators are still drafting details of the program, including requirements for businesses as well as their employees, but it has to be finalized by September.
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After having back surgery following a car crash, Pine became interested in medical marijuana. He found it relieved his pain much better than opioids that was prescribed to him. He wants to eventually provide a class for physicians that satisfies the state requirements for continuing education.
Tuition costs $1,000 per six-week class or $5,200 for the complete program totaling 135 hours of instruction. Pine said students will undoubtedly be connected with job opportunities and internships, and also job placement is guaranteed by the school within six months for full-time students.
Cleveland Cannabis College has started offering a weekend introductory course that covers several topics for $250.
Marijuana remains prohibited federally, so financial aid won’t apply.
Classes are taught in space leased in a regular office building. There aren’t any marijuana plants or paraphernalia; that isn’t permitted under state law.
Pine said he received some complaints that a photo of a cannabis leaf was visible through the first floor window.
Pine encouraged those offended to take an introductory course free of charge.
“We want to educate them that this isn’t a group of dirty hippies running around smoking bongs and listening to Bob Marley,” Pine said.