Pot class in session at Alberta cannabis growing facility

An Alberta cannabis producer has opened its growing facility to students for a three-day pot production class. 

Citing the cannabis industry's struggle to keep supply up with demand, Freedom Cannabis Inc. partnered with Edmonton's NorQuest College to offer the practical component to the school's Cannabis Trimming and Production course this year. 

The three-day class started Saturday at the Alberta-licensed cannabis producer's 126,000 square-foot facility in Acheson, Alta., an industrial area just west of Edmonton.

"I feel super excited," student Devin Brown said. "This is an industry I've always wanted to even just get my foot in the door for."

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Brown said the course is preparing him to work in the highly-regulated industry. 

"Just like the food industry, people are consuming this, they're eating it, they're smoking it," Brown said. "You don't want any contaminants that can make anyone sick. So it's important to kind of teach people all those regulations and how to avoid any potential disasters." 

Recreational cannabis became legal in Canada last October, and next month will see the legalization of cannabis-infused foods, beverages, and topicals.

Challenging regulations

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Adhering to Health Canada's regulations is one of the major challenges producers face, said Troy Dezwart, executive director and co-founder of Freedom Cannabis. 

The company partnered with the college to help stave off a potential labour and supply shortage looming over the cannabis industry, he said. 

"Of course growing cannabis in an indoor environment under such highly-regulated circumstances is difficult," he said. "But if you've got a team that understands it and respects the process you can be very successful."

The class continues next weekend.