HomeNewsMaryland Launches Cannabis Workforce Development Program

Maryland Launches Cannabis Workforce Development Program

Following Maryland Governor Wes Moore’s pardon of many thousands of cannabis charges recently, he’s launched a workforce development initiative prioritizing those with a history of cannabis-related offenses.

Governor Moore announced in June he was granting clemency for 175,000 convictions for misdemeanour possession of cannabis and related paraphernalia, stating no-one should continue to suffer the effects of a conviction for conduct that is no longer a crime in his state.

He’s taking things a step further with what’s claimed to be the first workforce development initiative developed and led by a cannabis regulatory agency in the nation. Starting today, the program will be will be offered free of charge to eligible applicants and aims reduce barriers to employment; creating paths to sustainable jobs in the cannabis industry

“This groundbreaking collaboration will support Marylanders interested in joining the state’s growing cannabis industry and prioritize individuals and communities directly impacted by the War on Drugs,” said Governor Moore

Program participants will have access to self-paced courses delivered by industry experts, licensed cannabis operators, and college professors. Following completion of 100 hours of virtual coursework and instruction, participants can then enroll in a two-day in-person course of hands-on occupational training.  Following the hands-on training, selected participants will be invited to apply for direct placement and internship opportunities, which will commence in June next year.

A joint partnership with the Maryland Cannabis Administration and the state’s Department of Labor’s Employment Advancement Right Now (EARN) Program, several licensed cannabis operators are also involved along with Anne Arundel Community College and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

“Through this program, individuals adversely impacted by cannabis criminalization will be able to receive real-time, hands-on experience and access to job placement,” said Maryland Cannabis Administration Director Will Tilburg.

Further information on the initiative can be found here.

Maryland’s cannabis industry is booming, largely thanks to adult-use marijuana being legalized last year. The state’s medical cannabis program was signed into law in 2014, although it didn’t kick off until the first half of 2017. Combined medical and adult-use retail sales totaled $796.3 million in 2023, with $550 million since adult-use sales began in July last year. Medical sales this fiscal year to the end of May have reached $368 million, dwarfed by recreational sales reaching $641 million.

Terry Lassitenaz
Terry Lassitenaz writes exclusively for Hemp Gazette and has done so since the site launched in 2015. He has a special interest in the political arena relating to medical cannabis, particularly in Australia, and addressing the many myths surrounding this incredibly useful plant. You can contact Terry here.

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