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Oakton Community College to launch medical cannabis training program

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Oakton Community College announced Wednesday that the school’s board of trustees authorized a new, trailblazing program to train students to work in the burgeoning medical pot industry.

The program, approved Tuesday, will allow students to earn a certificate as a cannabis dispensary and patient care specialist, according to a statement from Oakton. The certificate program will be added to the school’s curriculum in the fall pending approval from the Illinois Community College Board.

“This is timely and relevant,” said Ruth Williams, Oakton’s dean of curriculum and instruction. “With the passing of the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act and the Opioid Pilot Program allowing use of medical cannabis as an alternate pain management solution to opioids, there is increasing value in academic programs from accredited institutions that provide education and training to serve patients who elect to use medical cannabis.”

If the program gains approval, Oakton will become the first community college to offer a credit-based certificate that provides training for entry-level medical cannabis employees and people already working in the industry, the statement said.