By Robert Jalon
Demand for cannabis education is expected to increase thanks to the passage of Proposition 64, which legalized the use of recreational marijuana. City College itself announced plans to work with Oaksterdam University to develop a cannabis curriculum by spring 2018.
On the surface, it seems an appropriate response. If City College were not fresh off the battlefield of accreditation, there would seemingly be no reason to develop this curriculum.
In that accreditation battle, however, various departments such as art, journalism and broadcasting saw classes get cut, teachers let go and less students enroll.
On one hand, partnering with Oaksterdam is a no brainer. Founded as a marijuana trade school and labor union, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) in 2007, they now represent thousands of medicinal cannabis workers across six states and the District of Columbia.
City College spokesperson Jeff Hamilton told the San Francisco Examiner’s Joshua Sabatini that “CCSF wants to use Oaksterdam’s faculty for the program because they have expertise in this area.”
The college is already developing an apprenticeship program for its pharmacology technology department with the UFCW.
Oaksterdam University’s Executive Chancellor Dale Sky Jones has her reservations though, saying that “there are things that need to be sussed out, including who the training in for.”
Jones would like to see the training not be just for union members, but be open to as many people as possible.
Hamilton says that City College hopes to have these classes and training in place, but they aren’t being considered for open enrollment at the moment.
City College should make it a priority to service its departments in need first, while continuing to develop the curriculum that will make up its cannabis curriculum in a controlled, measured manner.
It’s obviously a good idea for the school to provide training in the cannabis industry to students. Many estimates claim the sale of marijuana could exceed $7 billion by 2020 in California alone.
City College is trying to get its students ready for a diversifying San Francisco job market.
With enrollment for these classes limited to union members, however, how many new students will this program really attract and help?
The key is balance and prioritizing the needs of its existing students, of which there are many that cannot get into core classes.
In this, City College is stuck between a rock and a wall because they cannot offer training for everyone in a hugely expanding industry.
The college should take care of existing rot to truly grow.