INDEPENDENCE, OH (WOIO) - Medical marijuana won't be available to patients in Ohio until September, but work has been going on for years behind the scenes.
Thursday evening, nearly 40 men and women made history by becoming the first class to graduate from the Cleveland School of Cannabis.
"I feel like we're making history. I really do," said graduate William Hutson.
Hutson majored in horticulture. He believes his degree will set him apart from others eying the cannabis business.
"I want to put my app in at the Buckeye Relief, so getting this today kind of helps me with that and furthering my career," he said.
Graduates range in age. Some are fresh out of high school, while others are older and recently changed career paths.
"What they all have in common is that they believe in the good that cannabis can serve, particularly as medicine, and they believe in the good cannabis can serve for the economy," said Jacob Wagner, Cleveland School of Cannabis Dean of Instruction and Student Services.
He said some students already accepted cultivation jobs.
"We have students who want to work at dispensaries as budtenders. We have students who are interested in processing, students who are interested in business, so you don't have to work directly in the industry," he said.
Marian Tucker wants to work in management on the medical marijuana side.
"I'm an entrepreneur, so I was seeking an opportunity to get engaged in something and this is one of them on the medical level that I'm willing to apply my skills to now," she said.
Ohio has about 2,000 jobs in the cannabis industry. Nationwide, there's about 200,000.
The Cleveland School of Cannabis is the only certified school east of Colorado to offer these courses.
The curriculum is broken into three majors: cannabis horticulture, cannabis business and the medical applications of cannabis.Students can also choose to get an executive major, which covers all three.
People interested in learning more about the school can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The school typically takes students six months to a year to complete. The next weekly classes begin July 9.