For new businesses and "green" entrepreneurs, Proposition 203's passage meant an opportunity to make some serious cash.
And instead of cooking up a storm in the kitchen or inventing the latest glassware, many marijuana advocates took the "educational" route and opened "medical marijuana colleges" before the Arizona Department of Health Services had even issued its regulatory rules.
Now that ADHS has outlined the rules, cannabis education keeps moving forward.
Greenway University is based in Denver, Colorado, where medical marijuana has been decriminalized since 2000. In Colorado, Greenway University is state-approved and regulated, and founderGus Escamilla
hopes to have similar approval in Arizona when he opens a campus in the Valley.
He's currently scouting locations, and plans to open GU in a 10,000 square-foot space.
Though they're still working on finding a Valley location and getting state education certification in Arizona, Greenway University already has a pest control product approved by the Arizona Department of Agriculture. It's called No Spider Mites, named after the bugs that ruin marijuana plants. Escamilla says the pesticide is "100 percent organic, completely safe, and effective," and that it kills spider mites and their eggs without damaging plants.
It's just one point of pride for Escamilla. In addition to offering certification programs and an MBA in medical marijuana business administration, Greenway University offers courses in growing, cultivation, business administration, legal issues, and "budtending," which sounds more fun than bartending.
"It isn't just about being a dispensary owner or a grower -- there are so many other opportunities," Escamilla says, naming jobs in web design, sales, and advertising as examples. "There will be industries within the industry."
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Future pupils can get a glimpse of what Greenway University will offer at a seminar taking place Saturday and Sunday, February 26 and 27 at Talking Stick Resort, but it won't be cheap. Seminar tickets cost $295. Escamilla says it's worth it to make sure entrepeneurs are operating in compliance with the law, and points out the qualifications of the seminar speakers and instructors at Greenway University.
Among them are Mark Kent, who Escamilla says opened 200 medical marijuana dispensaries in California; Arizona attorney Ryan Hurley, who focuses on medical marijuana laws; Dan Halbert, who owns dispensaries in Los Angeles and San Diego; and Phoenix doctor Edgar Suter, who was one of the first physicians in Arizona to offer recommendations for medical marijuana. "We strive to provide real-world, market-tested information," Escamilla says. "Our entire weekend and seminar format is set up only for Arizona."
The Greenway University seminar takes place Saturday and Sunday, February 26 and 27, at Talking Stick Resort, 9800 E. Indian Bend Road in Scottsdale. Tickets cost $295. Call 855-888-6653 or visit www.greenwayuniversity.com for more information.