South Dakota College Puff Puff Passes a New Mandatory Marijuana Class Requirement

South Dakota College Puff Puff Passes a New Mandatory Marijuana Class Requirement

In the heart of Sioux Falls, Southeast Technical College is flipping the script on education. Imagine this: the lowdown on weed, not just as a chill pastime but as a full-fledged course. Benjamin Valdez, the brains behind the academic operation at Southeast Tech, spilled the beans to the state legislature’s Medical Marijuana Oversight Committee. What’s the deal? Mandatory marijuana classes for those behind the dispensary counters.

The proposed program is like cultivating a sensitive cannabis plant. It's a semester-long certificate gig that takes students on a journey through medical marijuana laws, pharmacology, ethics, compliance, and caps it off with a hands-on stint in an actual dispensary. Think of it as a crash course in Mary Jane management.

Why the sudden interest in educating the green thumbs of the marijuana realm? Valdez is all about keeping the good folks of South Dakota safe as the state wades into the murky waters of medical marijuana. He’s passionately pitching the need for some sort of education for the folks dealing out this narcotic as medication.

This cannabis certificate idea is a wild one in the world of marijuana education. While 38 states and the District of Columbia have already embraced the herbal revolution, Valdez’s brainchild suggests South Dakota could be the first to lay down the law, mandating formal education for dispensary goers. Right now, the state’s rules are more like guidelines – a bit of training in record-keeping, safety, and security protocols, but nothing too serious.

The move towards marijuana enlightenment is definitely stirring the pot. Governor Kristi Noem isn't the biggest fan, consistently labeling marijuana as a social menace and opposing any form of legalization. But hey, the people spoke in 2020, giving a thumbs up to medical cannabis.

South Dakota's political play with pot is like a seesaw. They greenlit recreational marijuana in 2020, but Noem threw a legal curveball in 2021, trying to squash the recreational amendment. The state's supreme court sided with her, scrapping the voter-approved amendment. In 2022, voters indicated a negative stance to another shot at recreational marijuana, but they might be gearing up for a rematch in 2024.

Valdez, with no clear stance on whether to blaze it up for fun, sees this proposal as a strategic move for the college. Enrollment numbers are soaring, and this Mary Jane education proposal could be a one-two punch for enrollment and meeting the demand for weed-savvy professionals.

If this idea buds into reality, it could be a game-changer for the cannabis industry. Without clear educational guidelines, dispensary employees' knowledge about marijuana is all over the place, depending on what their boss demands or what they've Googled.

While some private institutions offer courses on the green stuff, Southeast Tech wants to make marijuana knowledge accessible and affordable. Valdez is even throwing the idea of federal financial aid eligibility into the mix.

But hold up – the logistics are murkier than a hotboxed room. Lawmakers are firing questions at Valdez, concerned about how the courses will roll out and if current dispensary workers will be forced into weed school. Valdez is cool as a cucumber, assuring them that the college can deliver courses in all strains – hybrid, virtual, and in-person. He even wants all the current employees to join the Mary Jane class, though who foots the bill is still up in the smoky air.

This marijuana education thing is causing waves of excitement and side-eye glances. Supporters think it's a killer move to standardize what dispensary workers know and make the industry legit. Critics are stressing about potential chaos in dispensaries if workers have to earn certificates and where colleges will find instructors who know their stuff.

While the proposal is in its early stages, it's sparking some wicked questions about the intersection of education, workforce development, and the ever-evolving landscape of marijuana laws in the U.S. As the Mary Jane mist clears, South Dakota’s plunge into marijuana education might just be a groundbreaking move in the country's higher education scene.

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