Michael Zaytsev, Academic Director of the Business of Cannabis at LIM College, starts every day with gratitude, yoga, and a cup of tea. After that, he says that no two days are alike, which is one of his favorite aspects of working in the cannabis industry.
“Sometimes in one day, I am meeting with elected officials and regulators to discuss policy issues, working with industry leaders to bring employers into the classroom, developing cannabis curriculum and education resources with our brilliant faculty, and sometimes even talking about all of the above as a guest on a podcast,” said Zaytsev.
Zaytsev is also the author of The Cannabis Business Book and the founder of cannabis education and networking group High NY.
Zaytsev got involved in the cannabis industry in 2014 shortly after New York State passed the Compassionate Care Act and legalized cannabis for medical use. For him, the opportunity to raise public consciousness about the benefits of cannabis and its ability to improve public and environmental health is key.
In addition to his role at LIM College, Zaytsev is a cannabis business coach and advisor to startup entrepreneurs. He says he feels “super lucky” to be doing work that challenges and inspires him every day.
Cannabis in History and in Today’s World
Zaytsev credits cannabis for shaping human history much more than most people realize, stating, “The sails and ropes on Christopher Columbus’s ships were all made of hemp. After the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, hemp/cannabis plants were used to decontaminate the soil and pull radiation out of it. Perhaps most importantly, cannabis is a powerful medicine that helps improve the quality of life for millions of sick people and their loved ones every day.”
He believes it’s absolutely critical to understand the many ways the cannabis industry itself and marketing cannabis are unique. One thing that makes the cannabis industry unique from many other business fields is the incredible growth that still lies ahead.
“Billions of dollars of economic impact and hundreds of thousands of more jobs will be created by the cannabis industry worldwide. The scale, ubiquity, and intersectional nature of the business of cannabis offers entrepreneurs and leaders the chance to create generational wealth and make lasting social impact. Perhaps more exciting and meaningful than that is the potential for significant cultural and political shifts that will improve public health and public policy, creating more compassion and equity, while also instilling in people a greater respect and appreciation for the natural world,” says Zaytsev.
Earning a Degree in Cannabis and Jumpstarting a Cannabis Career
Zaytsev says that for decades, there’s been much misinformation about cannabis and the people who use it.
“Until recently, it’s been difficult to get access to quality cannabis education. An education in the business of cannabis shows prospective employers and investors that you’re committed, qualified, and ready to lend your experience to helping build the industry.”
“To succeed in the business of cannabis, you must understand the legacy of cannabis commerce, the science behind the plant, the unwritten rules of the counterculture, cutting-edge agriculture and extraction technologies, policy, and much more. There’s always so much more to learn when it comes to cannabis.”
LIM’s BBA and MPS degree programs in the Business of Cannabis will prepare graduates to succeed in a variety of cannabis-related careers and to be impactful from day one. “[Students] will already understand the fundamentals of cannabis and the nuances and idiosyncrasies that are unique to the cannabis industry,” Zaytsev said.
When it comes to advice for potential students searching for cannabis jobs, Zaytsev says, “To succeed in this industry, you need to have a higher purpose driving you than profit. You must also have an education in both business and cannabis to be effective in this industry. Often people come into cannabis having one and not the other. You need both to make an impact.”
College for Cannabis: Learn the Business of Cannabis at LIM College
LIM offers both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in The Business of Cannabis. Coursework includes marketing, product development, regulatory compliance, retailing, social justice issues, and more.
As part of the world-class cannabis education available at LIM, students have the opportunity to learn directly from Zaytsev, as well as other industry leaders, including as of Fall 2022: Dasheeda Dawson, City of Portland Cannabis Program Manager; Branding Bud Consulting Group founder David Paleschuck; Penelope Nam-Stephen, Chief Commercial Officer, Community Growth Partners, and others.
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