Community college in New Brunswick cancels cultivation course

| Staff

A Community College in New Brunswick had to cancel a cannabis cultivation course this winter due to a lack of enrollment.

The program was first launched in December 2017 in partnership with cannabis producer Zenabis and the Government of New Brunswick, and with the assistance of Moncton-based Organigram. It was initially well received, with the provincial government even paying full tuition for the first 25 students.

Le Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick (CCNB) was the first post-secondary institution in Canada to offer training for cannabis grow technicians

However, as the cannabis industry enters a contraction period following several initial years of rapid expansion, interest in the cannabis cultivation program at CCNB has been declining, Radio Canada reported recently.

Gérald Losier, the dean and director of CCNB, told Radio Canada that they are now considering offering more short-term “micro-credential” training to more efficiently address current industry demands.  

“The industry’s needs seem minimal or, for all intents and purposes, ad hoc needs. So we can easily respond with micro-certification,” he said [translated].

According to a media report in January 2021, more than 50 students had already completed the program. The community college was also designated as a cannabis research establishment by Health Canada in 2021.

New Brunswick has seen several large cutbacks in its cannabis industry since the heady days leading into legalization. In June 2022, Hexo, the new owner of the former Zenabis facility in Atholville, laid off 142 employees—over half of its workforce. Hexo inherited the facility when it purchased Zenabis in 2021.

In December 2021, Canopy Growth closed a $40 million facility in Fredericton, New Brunswick, shedding 63 jobs. The facility was purchased by another cannabis producer, Purple Farm Genetics

In January 2019, Cannabis NB laid off about 60 retail employees.

Despite some setbacks, other aspects of the province’s cannabis industry continue to grow. 

Kent County cannabis producer Greenherb Farms recently launched their own rosin into the New Brunswick market, and Moncton’s Organigram is one of the few public companies in Canada actually reporting profits.

There are currently 25 licensed cannabis producers in New Brunswick and 25 Cannabis NB stores managed by the province. An additional ten privately-run stores are also in the works.

Cannabis NB will be taking part in Cannabis East in February, a consumer-focused industry event offering cannabis education and non-infused product sampling.

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