Francisco Alvarado of the Miami New Times takes an in-depth look into the cannabis “training school” industry and some of the things you may (or may not) learn there:
Inside a conference room at a Sheraton Hotel in Miami, Bob Calkin paces in front of a small stage, holding a microphone. The 50-year-old Los Angeles cannabis hustler with ’80s rock-band hair flies around the United States, charging folks $299 a head to learn how to make a fortune dealing po — sorry, “dispensing medicine.” Before 9 o’clock on a Saturday morning, 150 wannabe marijuana barons have filed in for a ten-hour crash course put on by Calkin’s company, Cannabis Career Institute. He’s just raked in $45,000 for a day’s work.
Dropping hundred-dollar bills on medical marijuana classes may seem like a good idea, and some school operators are already making a mint. But David Jones, communications director for the Florida Cannabis Network, a Melbourne-based nonprofit organization, cautions: “Some are trying to be perceived as experts and take advantage of the ill-informed.”
Some classes may offer real insight; others could be just puffing smoke. Calkin says his Cannabis Career Institute can teach people how to create a business plan, find business partners, and recruit growers who can cultivate high-quality marijuana. Once students have paid their $299, they can attend as many seminars as they want. “In the marijuana industry, it is all about networking,” Calkin says. “Some people won’t work with you unless someone they know vouches for you. We introduce you to those people.”
Yet it sounds like he has a low bar for who qualifies as an expert: “You can even become a consultant too after attending one seminar. You can start charging other people to teach them.”