Pot schools close: Is CO's medical marijuana education industry suffering a brain drain?

Last year, one of the many new enterprises to spring up from the medical marijuana deluge were pot classes. So-called institutes, colleges and universities opened their doors to help newbies understand complicated marijuana regulations, open their own MMJ businesses and learn how to properly grow medicinal crops. A year later, it appears many of those schools didn't make the grade.

Medical Marijuana 101, a seminar series hosted by prominent marijuana lawyer Warren Edson, has shut down its website. "Warren doesn't have any plans presently of doing medical marijuana classes at the time being," reports Greg Daurer at Edson's office. And the Canna-Business Institute, a similar enterprise developed by Edson's legal colleague Brian Vicente, has also called it quits -- although Vicente will apparently continue to teach some classes through his new business, Vicente Consulting.

Why the shake-up? It could be due to the competition generated by Greenway University, a national chain that moved into town last year and claims to be offer Colorado's only state-certified classes. "It is a difficult industry, but we are building," reports "DJ," a Greenway salesperson and intern. "We are doing more classes, actually." Still, a glance at Greenway's website suggests that much of Greenway's recent efforts have been focused on new classes in Arizona.

It's a tough time for Colorado pot schools in general, reports Michelle LaMay, the co-called "Dean of Green" and founder of Cannabis University, Colorado's first marijuana-education program. "I am noticing the recession," she says. "And the up-in-the-air atmosphere with the legislature, that's hurting my business, too."

LaMay says a combination of low overhead and revenue from Cannabis U T-shirts and other paraphernalia has allowed her school to stay in business. But she notes that these days, most of her students seem to be coming from out of town and out of state. People in Colorado, she says, "think they know it all."

With the state's medical marijuana regulations still very much in flux, it might be time for some of those folks to go back to school.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana: 2,000 patient aps to be nixed under health board MMJ doc compromise."

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