Medical marijuana school opens in Nevada

HENDERSON, Nev. — The first school in Nevada devoted to teaching people how to operate a successful medical marijuana dispensary has opened.

The Cannabis Career Institute launched its Budtender School with a workshop for about 40 students on Saturday in Henderson.

Institute founder Robert Calkin says his school educates would-be entrepreneurs on all aspects of the medical marijuana business, including how to grow marijuana legally and bake it into brownies, cookies and cakes.

The school’s opening comes as Nevada lawmakers consider a bill that would provide a way for patients to finally get the drug 13 years after Nevada voters approved use of medical marijuana.

The measure cleared its first hurdle Thursday as the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved it. The bill calls for the establishment and regulation of pot dispensaries.

“It’s coming,” Calkin told the Las Vegas Sun. “Nevada has always been cutting-edge socially and politically. It was ahead of other states on gambling and prostitution, and (marijuana) is a lot less problematic. Nevada appears to be on the cusp of approving it.”

A bill to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the Silver State died Friday in an Assembly committee without a vote.

The institute has held similar workshops in other cities across the U.S., and more than 1,500 people hold certificates from it.

But Calkin acknowledges a federal law prohibiting the growth and sale of marijuana poses a problem for the business. No state law will prevent federal authorities from sending owners of pot dispensaries to prison.

“We know that (because of) federal laws, no matter what we do in the realm of medical marijuana, it is illegal,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Hopefully in the future, that will evolve.”

A successful marijuana dispensary can earn $250,000 a year, Calkin said, and the average dispensary in Arizona can make up to $10,000 a day.

“It’s quite a challenge to open a dispensary that meets all the legal criteria,” Calkin said. “But it’ll be pretty lucrative for whoever has the skills. And it’s definitely going to be a boon to the economy here.”

Saturday’s daylong seminar, which cost $249, featured instruction by several marijuana experts and the use of a textbook on pot dispensaries.

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