ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The University of New Mexico (UNM) is trying to prepare the next generation of cannabis professionals.

“It’s growing at a very rapid rate here in New Mexico and the business, the leadership, and the compliance skills are also very in high demand because of that growing industry,” explained UNM Continuing Education Marketing Manager Laura Jimenez.

The University of New Mexico is trying to give students interested in the cannabis industry an upper hand by offering a new certificate program. UNM said the Cannabis Compliance and Risk Management Certificate Program is in response to the fast-growing industry in the state. 

“This skill is very high in demand, and so, the more we can offer it here locally, the less our professionals need to look elsewhere or go elsewhere to gain these very important skills,” stated Jimenez. 

UNM has partnered with a company, Green Flower, to create the six-month curriculum, which is offered entirely online. While this is a first of its kind in New Mexico, the company has already partnered with 18 other universities and colleges around the country. 

“This program is developed for people who are running businesses or consultants, attorneys, accountants, anyone who’s helping a cannabis business in any way, shape or form, deal with all of the regulations, rules, licensing, etcetera,” said Green Flower Higher Education Vice President Daniel Kalef. 

The program includes lessons on the business side of agriculture, distribution, retail operations, marketing, and accounting. 

“Once we get these people educated and trained on the risks and the laws and get them certificates, we can get a lot more people involved in the business,” said Sapphire Persinger, UNM student. 

Anyone can sign up for the program, even if you’re not a UNM student. Classes begin May 1.