'Budtender Fight Club' aims to educate Nevada's marijuana work force

A cannabis education class is conducted Sunday, October 22, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Corwin Hall/KSNV)

As Nevada’s marijuana industry expands, so does the need for an educated work force. While there are thousands of new job opportunities, it’s often hard for people to break into the business.

Cannabis advocate Jason Sturtsman says “Budtender Fight Club” is his answer to making sure there is enough education for those seeking to enter the work force.

On Sunday evening, nearly 100 people packed into a classroom in central Las Vegas. Those in attendance were prepared with pencils, paper and questions about pot.

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“They're getting taught by doctors they're getting taught by people who are actually working in the industry,” said Sturtsman. “There are thousands of applications that come in on a regular basis to every single dispensary and cannabis business in the state – the way to differentiate yourself is to get educated.”

The monthly crash course in cannabis costs $20 per person and covers a variety of cannabis education topics, including edibles, cannabinoids and terpenes.

“When people come here as tourists, they want to have that high-quality experiences that they're used to, getting from their nightclubs, getting from their restaurants. And they're now going to get that from their dispensaries,” said Sturtsman.

For some employers, the three-hour course is the perfect place for scouting out new hires.

“We are head hunting,” said Robert Casillas, who is a consultant for Cannacopia dispensary. “We’re here looking for the people in the industry who are hungry for the education because it gives our customers and patients a better experience.”

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Folks such as Saundra Kawaguchi hope these cannabis classes will translate in a new job.

“I’ve been to eight of them,” said Kawaguchi. “In order to work in a dispensary, you really need to know about these things.”

As for Sturtsman, he hopes to develop a new curriculum for Budtender Fight Club in December. The hope is to create a curriculum that could eventually become a requirement for new hires for dispensaries.

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