Since the black market has deep do-it-yourself roots, many cannabis entrepreneurs and longtime growers are hesitant to invest in certificate programs.

And rightfully so, seeing as the majority of what we know about cultivating and harvesting cannabis comes care of the black market. While we should never forget to honor the cannabis underground and the decades of knowledge it has given us, we do need to adapt to the rapidly changing industry and its current gray-market status.

So, when we ask, should we pursue Master Growers certification programs or not, the answer is yes we should — but that’s not all. Rather than choosing between traditional educational avenues, practical DIY education, and more recent certificate curricula, we can embrace and take advantage of all education methods. Here’s how you can get started.

Surf The Internet

Baby boomers may have relied on High Times magazine to learn about cannabis, but today, we have endless information right at our fingertips, thanks to a simple Google search.

Plug yourself into online cannabis communities on social media through Facebook groups, reddit forums, YouTube playlists and Twitter hashtags. Watch TED Talks on cannabis, of which there are many. Take advantage of what’s already out there for free.

Indeed, while there are many print magazines and online publications dedicated to the craft of home growing, especially informational how-to’s, mainstream media organizations are also cashing on the green rush by providing accurate, truthful reportage about cannabis.

Build Your Own Cannabis Library

Read up and start a cannabis book collection if you haven’t already.

While titles like Grow Your Own are oriented on the basics of home growing, history books including Hemp: American History Revisited and Home Grown: Marijuana and the Origins of Mexico’s War on Drugs provide important historical contexts that can help cannabis entrepreneurs better understand the social and racial inequalities that exist in our industry, and how they came to be. While we are leaders in a tightly-knit cannabis community, we are also the leaders people will remember when prohibition has completely ended.

Sign Up For Coursework

Investing in coursework is definitely worthwhile if it accompanies your online learning and independent reading.

US states that have enacted recreational legalization also now provide top-tier grower certification programs offered in a traditional classroom-style learning environment. Oakland, California is home to Oaksterdam University, the county’s first cannabis college, which offers coursework in grow demonstrations, several types of lab work, land preparation, irrigation systems, and more. East Fork Cultivars also offers a program called CBD Certified for Oregon-based budtenders and other cannabis professionals.

There are even accredited United States universities — including University of Washington, The Ohio State University and The University of Vermont — who offer classes in cannabis, particularly as it pertains to cannabis law, policy and biology.

Otherwise, should you prefer to not venture far from home (or far from your grow op), there are plenty of online courses to guide you through your learning, such as those offered through THC University and Cannabis Training Institute.

Communicate Within The #CannabisCommunityInfo

As mentioned, most of what we know about cannabis has been passed down from older generations of cannabis entrepreneurs who only existed within the confines of a black market. The nature of the industry has long relied on peer support and feedback, especially when it comes to training and shadowing.

Use your network to stay updated on new information. Ask yourself who in our community is being interviewed by reporters, giving lectures, presenting at conferences and panels, is a social media thought leader and influencer, etc. What are they talking about? Chances are, what they’re discussing publicly is information you should be paying attention to.