A university in Canada has academia buzzing over a new class on cannabis. If the professor behind it is any indication, it’s worth the hype.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) Introduction to Professional Management of Marijuana for Medical Purposes in Canada plans to provide a roadmap into an industry that’s in desperate need of qualified individuals. Just hours after opening, the 120-person course was completely sold out, leading to requests that the university add more.
The 14-week online class, which anyone (inside of Canada or out) is eligible to sign up for, will guide students through all of the most important skillsets of a career in cannabis. Lessons include plant production, facility management, marketing, and patient acquisition.
“It’s important because it’s a competitive industry and consumer driven,” says Tegan Adams, the Canadian-born professor who thought of the idea and will be teaching most of the classes. As a business development manager at a firm that tests marijuana, she’s acutely familiar with the drug.
But it wasn’t her work with the plant that inspired her to pursue the course.
The idea sprang from her work as an industry consultant. “One of my clients in the agriculture industry had decided to start on marijuana and I had a hard time working with HR people to find qualified employees,” she tells The Daily Beast. “We found a gap between investors and growers… there was a need for more people who could balance both areas.”
So last December, after failing to find any legitimate cannabis courses out there, Adams took a chance and drafted one herself. When she met with top officials at the university, they jumped at the chance, saying they’d been considering adding a course on the topic.
On the school’s website, it describes the class as one “designed to provide an overview of the successes and continual challenges within the rapidly expanding medical marijuana market.” Students will be required to read the more than 100-page textbook that Adams co-wrote with another professor, and complete worksheets on the topic.
“Growing weed,” she answers laughing, “will not be part of the homework.”
So who is the woman taking on the brave new world of weed? A dolphin lover, risk taker, and—surprisingly—non-pot smoker. Meet your new professor of pot.
Where are you from originally?
Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada (I was born in Vancouver).
What did you study in school?
I got my BCs (bachelors) in global resource systems and MSc (masters) in land and food systems. Both programs were in the agriculture faculty and my thesis was on border carbon adjustments and how they affected Canada’s food system.
What are three words you’d use to describe your personality?
Adventurous, risk-taker, happy.
Any specific hobbies you enjoy while not working?
Swimming each morning, yoga most days after work. I just moved to Toronto and have tried racing/sailing on the lake this year. I also love hiking and anything in the mountains like skiing and back country camping. The longest hike I’ve been on is 30 days in Nepal and I’m generally scheming how to do more.
Toss up between blue and pink.
Dolphins are my favorite animal.
Are you more of an extrovert or introvert?
People have called me an extrovert and outgoing, though I do hide at home a lot with tea and the radio if I can.
Do you have any pets?
I have one Bengal and one Siamese kitten.
Any movies or TV shows you’re obsessed with right now?
I haven’t had a TV in 12 years and generally try not to be obsessive over anything. For movies—anything with George Clooney—can you get him or Leonardo DiCaprio to call me?
What music do you like to listen to?
I use Songza and like all music especially folk and jazz.
Do you use marijuana?
I do not.
Did you ever imagine you’d grow up to be teaching a class about legal pot?
I can’t say I planned for it up until about a year ago. When I first went to school in sciences it was to be a doctor. I’d still like to complete a PhD perhaps in a few years. Normally when I think about career goals my focus is on contributing to the community and most importantly having fun!
Where are you right now?
I’m in Mount Tremblant on a hike with my mom. Part of the reason we chose an online format for the class is so that anyone can do it anytime—including from patios on the lake!