Ohio Cannabis School Makes History As The First of it’s kind to be Accredited by MSA- CESS that is Recognized by the US Department of Education

Feb 29, 2024 12:00 PM ET

Ohio is on a roll after passing an adult use measure on November 7th, and now claiming home to the first accredited cannabis school in the country.  On December 7th 2023, the same day that the adult use measure went into law, The Cleveland School of Cannabis (CSC) also made history, receiving a 10 year accreditation from Middle States Association-CESS. MSA-CESS,  building on the 100+ year rich history of the Middle States Association, aspire to improve the quality of education around the world by assisting schools to achieve excellence through the process of accreditation, by affirming to the public a member school’s trustworthiness and commitment to continuous improvement, by providing the network and resources for the promotion of proven practices.

CSC offers in person, and online programs in horticulture, processing, and dispensary operations, along with a live online home grow program, called “My First Plant” that filled up in just one month after the passing of issue 2. The institution itself has been serving the cannabis industry since 2017 taking in students from 28 different US States and graduating over 1000 individuals. “It hasn’t been easy running a cannabis business in Ohio,” says founder Austin Briggs.  “For things as little as occupancy permits, we had to fight tooth and nail. For a largely conservative State, Ohio citizens have shown wide support for cannabis, both medical and recreational.  But there still seems to be a tremendous amount of resistance from the government in supporting cannabis programs in Ohio. With the passing of issue 2 and our accreditation, I’m hoping this will be a turning point for Ohio policy.”

When it comes to social equity and access to the cannabis industry, Ohio has been rated amongst the lowest in the country.  The original social equity license requirements for the medical program were struck down in the courts, and continued to increase the gap between the haves and have nots. At CSC, however, the diversity in educational interest has ranged from baby boomers to gen Zers, from democrats, to republicans, from different races, and genders, to cannabis enthusiasts and patients seeking understanding of the plant and the industry. While CSC has to turn away a large portion of its applicants due to the lack of support from traditional educational resources for students, the school continues its path to make Ohio the most educated and collaborative state to date.

“Workforce development and education is the key to socioeconomic mobility” says CSC president Tyrone Russell.  “Companies have to hire people from their communities, and that only happens if those community members have access to education. In Ohio, you can go to your Ohio means jobs office, and get a grant to be a barber, welder, truck driver, contractor, or nail technician, but not to work in cannabis”.  This is a much bigger issue than giving away social equity licenses.  The school is hoping that the 36% jobs and equity funds from issue 2 is left intact and the majority of those funds are allocated to workforce development, education, and jobs in the cannabis industry.  States like Illinois and New York have allocated Millions from their cannabis programs to cannabis education and workforce development.  CSC has high hopes that Ohio will follow suit.  “With the infrastructure in place from the current medical program, and access to quality cannabis education, Ohio has a chance to roll out the most responsible, and successful adult use program in the entire country” Russell explains.

Over the next few years CSC has plans to expand its programs through partnerships with colleges and universities.  They are encouraging schools to jump on board and serve their communities properly by offering cannabis programs.  The cannabis industry in Ohio is projected to be one of the top 3 industries in Ohio for new jobs over the next 8 years.  There are many colleges and universities offering non-credit programs for cannabis but only a few adoption in depth programs with access to title VI funding.  “We have taken all of the bumps and bruises already” explains Briggs.  “Our programs were reviewed in great detail and it took over 4 years of review to get us here and our accreditation and recognition from the USDE should give schools all the confidence they need to push forward with cannabis programs. We are here to help”

For more information about the Cleveland School of Cannabis and its programs, visit www.csceducation.com.

Tyrone Russell
Cleveland School of Cannabis
Phone: (216) 465-4161
Email: tyronerussell@csceducation.com