Maryland rolls out series of Cannabis Workforce Development programs

28 June 2024- The Washington County Department of Business and Economic Development is thrilled to announce a groundbreaking initiative led by Governor Wes Moore: the launch of the Cannabis Workforce Development Program. This effort, the first of its kind administered by a cannabis regulatory agency nationwide, aims to support Marylanders entering the expanding cannabis industry. The program prioritizes individuals with prior cannabis-related offenses, aligning with Governor Moore’s recent historic pardon of over 175,000 such charges. 

This program, which will prioritize individuals with a history of cannabis-related offenses, is launching after Governor Moore’s pardon of more than 175,000 cannabis charges last Monday.

“This groundbreaking collaboration will support Marylanders interested in joining the state’s growing cannabis industry and prioritize individuals and communities directly impacted by the War on Drugs,” said Gov. Moore. “For decades, cannabis policy has been used as a cudgel. Together, we prove how cannabis policy can be used as a valuable tool to leave no one behind.”

The Cannabis Workforce Development Program – which will be offered free of charge to eligible applicants – is a joint partnership with the Maryland Cannabis Administration and the Maryland Department of Labor’s Employment Advancement Right Now (EARN) Program. The program will help reduce barriers to employment and create paths to sustainable jobs in the cannabis industry. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis starting July 1.

“Maryland is leading on cannabis reform and reinforcing that legalization must be accompanied by efforts to address the burdens of criminalization,” said Maryland Cannabis Administration Director Will Tilburg. “Through this program, individuals adversely impacted by cannabis criminalization will be able to receive real-time, hands-on experience and access to job placement.”

Program participants will have access to eight instructor-led, self-paced courses taught by industry experts, licensed operators, and college professors. Upon completion of 100 cumulative hours of virtual coursework and instruction, participants may enroll in a two-day intensive in-person course that provides 16 hours of hands-on occupational training. In-person training will be offered once per month beginning in November 2024 at locations across the state.

Anticipated locations and dates for the initial roll-out of the Cannabis Workforce Development Program include:

  • November 2024: Baltimore Region
  • December 2024: Anne Arundel County
  • January 2025: Southern Region
  • February 2025: Prince George’s County
  • March 2025: Eastern Region
  • April 2025: Western Region

“EARN promotes jobs and economic growth in Maryland, and the cannabis industry offers opportunities for entrepreneurs and career seekers,” said Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Portia Wu. “We wanted to prioritize that opportunity for residents who have been limited in the past by a prior cannabis-related conviction.”

In addition to receiving a grant award of $122,000 from EARN to jumpstart the program, the Maryland Cannabis Administration has secured partnerships with several licensed cannabis operators and two institutions of higher education with longstanding and celebrated records of innovative cannabis industry education and workforce development: Anne Arundel Community College and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

To learn more about the program, visit www.cannabis.maryland.gov.