By: Cecil King
A New Class of Cannabis Worker
Beginning July 1, 2016 the state of Washington will allow a new class of legislatively mandated cannabis worker to report to work, thanks to the 2015 Cannabis Patient Protection Act (CPPA).
Newly certified Medical Marijuana Consultants can begin their duties advising registered medical cannabis users on the benefits of cannabis.
Existing medical cannabis dispensaries, which totaled 273 in January 2016, that do not get a new retail cannabis license under CPPA rules must close their doors. To continue providing medical cannabis, these medical cannabis dispensaries must procure a retail cannabis license and a Medical Marijuana Endorsement.
Among the requirements for a retail shop with the medical endorsement is to have a certified Medical Marijuana Consultant on the premises.
Of the 343 retail cannabis stores licensed by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) 81% have sought endorsements to their license to sell marijuana to authorized medical patients. A medical endorsement license from the LCB is available no charge.
Candidates for the state’s Medical Marijuana Consultant certification must undergo a challenging 20-hour Consultant Certification Program and pass their final exam.
Topics in their program include Washington state marijuana laws, the positive and negative effects of cannabis, qualifying conditions and symptoms for medical patients, recommending types of administration, identifying overuse, and protection of patients’ privacy.
The trainee must receive Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training which is also mandated under CPPA.
Job outlooks for the newly created job of certified Medical Marijuana Consultant couldn’t be better in Washington. Hundreds of medically certified retail shops are staffing up with these new consultants. For Missourians, no career path of this type is available.
During the past two decades Missouri citizens have stood on the sidelines passively watching while 25 states across the US have slowly and methodically built controlled and regulated cannabis markets. These legal cannabis states create new jobs and new industries for their citizens.
Creating and building the infrastructure to allow medical usage of cannabis in Missouri seems to be well beyond the grasp of legislators in the Show-Me state.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board is busy fulfilling their mission to “promote public safety and trust through fair administration and enforcement of liquor, tobacco and marijuana laws.” Washington citizens approved the cannabis legalization laws.
The Washington State Department of Health is actively soliciting the next class of cannabis worker – Certified Instructor – to teach certification classes for medical marijuana consultants.
Some of the primary requirements include: licensed health care professional, licensed to practice law, degree in agriculture, botany or horticulture, or a bachelor’s degree or higher in nursing with an active license to practice.