Cannabis, Accreditation, Regulation, and Education (CARE) is a new program created to properly educate all specialists that work with weed. It includes three-day workshops and online courses designed specifically for people working in dispensaries, medical marijuana doctors, and other industry professionals.
The chief medical officer of CARE, Ira Price, composed the curriculum of the program. He is an assistant clinical professor at McMaster University and a medical doctor himself. Price believes that the program “is very much needed” because many cannabis workers do not have the proper education and training to help patients and consumers. Some of the common misconceptions include the belief that particular strains have the abilities to treat certain medical conditions and that there is a clear differentiation between the qualities of indica and sativa strains. The doctor plans to “get the data out there.”
Working together with entrepreneurs Andres Marquez and Sari Gabbay, Price developed the CARE initiative. The new program contains information about the physiological effects of cannabis, the plant itself, and ways to identify cases when cannabinoids should not be used. Marquez is an entrepreneur and chef who helped open several restaurants. After having dealt with a lot of stress and pressure, he now medicates with marijuana himself. Having got rid of pain, he decided to take part in the development of an educational program that would provide reliable information to patients.
The dispensaries that send their staff to take the course will receive certification that will ensure the customers that their budtender is professionally qualified. President of a Los Angeles dispensary Buds & Roses, Aaron Justice, says a program like CARE is long overdue. He has already sent his budtenders on specialized retreats to learn about cannabis. However, he mentions that few dispensaries can afford this luxury. Justice works with one of the largely recognized medical cannabis organizations—Americans for Safe Access, where they develop a program for dispensaries to have their operating procedures reviewed. Justice agrees that a program that would certify the employees' knowledge about cannabis is also important.
Another dispensary interested in the new CARE workshops is Bud & Bloom. The company anticipates that in the near future all customers will expect to be served by certified budtenders.
Surely, more programs of this nature will be launched soon enough due to the rapid spread of not only medical but also recreational cannabis legalization. The number of first-time consumers is constantly growing, and it is important that they get quality information from professionals.
Besides, the whole licensing notion may push the movement to legitimize cannabis even further, says the marketing director of Bud & Bloom, Michelle Magallon.