Prepared by: Proven Media


Emerald University’s Innovative Cannabis Education Program is a Win-Win for Patients and Staff at Emerald Dispensary 

Arizona’s Emerald Dispensary has raised the bar in patient service through its innovative employee educational courses. Emerald University is an in-house program that educates team members on the benefits and features of medical cannabis, and how to assist patients in making informed decisions.

“Through our own experience, patient feedback, and market research, it was clear that knowledge and information was necessary to best service patients’ needs.  I saw an opportunity to develop a formal and comprehensive education platform for our dispensary teams and establish an identity for our training that complements our Emerald brand.  This was the inception of Emerald University,” explained Rob Smith, Director of Patient Services.

Led by Amalia Celaya, Brand Ambassador of Emerald Dispensary and Infusion Edibles, Emerald University offers 12 courses at its Gilbert and Phoenix locations. The structure provides a solid framework of consistent education for team members resulting in a reliable resource for patients.

In September 2018, the university celebrated its first anniversary. Out of Emerald’s 65-person team there are 40 first-year graduates with an average class attendance of 86% in both stores.

The program coursework is divided into front of house and back of house subjects, with a series of required classes for initial onboarding training. Topics include: POS Basics, Inventory Basics, Conversions, Paperwork Compliance, and Menu Math. Dispensary managers at each location and Celaya lead the onboarding coursework.

After students complete onboarding orientation, they move onto medicinal education. Classes cover Cannabis Basics, Terpenes, and Edibles, as well as Concentrates, and Cannabinoids. At the end of each class, students get to engage in a friendly quiz competition. Winners receive prizes and students who achieve 100% attendance are bestowed a Certificate of Completion, as well as a commemorative Emerald University pin.

An unforeseen success of the program has been Emerald University’s profound impact on employee camaraderie. “It has shaped morale by instilling a confidence to speak intelligently about cannabis,” stated Celaya. “Within this first year, we’ve received feedback from team members that university coursework is an asset to their growth and development. It is inspiring to see our team’s motivation and desire to learn. The patients have also remarked upon the superior quality of service they receive.”

Brand awareness is also recognized as a core facet of the industry, which is why Emerald University offers vendor courses. These product training classes are subject to the availability of the vendor where team members have the opportunity to learn more specific products and how to run successful promotion days.

Unlike traditional universities, Emerald’s material is largely shaped by an industry that is constantly evolving. As new research becomes available and as the industry changes, so too will the courses at Emerald University. Celaya is already planning on adding twelve (12) more classes in addition to the first-year coursework.

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