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Posted: 2017-07-10 19:04:07

PFC-CIPS.pngThe University of Maryland School of Pharmacy has partnered with American’s for Safe Access to host its Patient Focused Certification (PFC) training! This sets our PFC training program apart from other medical cannabis training programs as we seek to bring educational standards to a growing but uncertain industry.

"If you're going to be dispensing [cannabis], let's make sure your staff is trained in best practices to do it safely and effectively" said Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, a pharmacy professor and executive director of the school's Center for Innovative Pharmacy Solutions (CIPS). "We wanted to be there as a resource.", which launched on June 19th, offers classes through the CIPS online platform, to help people in the industry get the training required under every state's medical cannabis program laws. Courses offer instruction for each sector of the industry: growers, manufacturers, dispensaries and labs. The courses cover laws and regulations; the latest evidence on uses for medical marijuana; plant and product consistency; pesticides; sanitation; operating procedures; labeling, inventory control and record keeping; and other relevant information.

The burden will be on businesses to ensure there is training relevant to a person's position, and there will be inspections”, said Patrick Jameson, executive director of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. “Like other states [Maryland] does require growers, processors, dispensaries and laboratories to be "certified".

"There are numerous training requirements for those people working in the industry," Jameson said. "Grower agents, processor agents and dispensary agents have specific training requirements as listed in state law”, he said. "Dispensary agents have even more requirements." The CIPS/PFC program ensures trainings are available that help the cannabis operators achieve their staff training requirements, as expected by Mr. Jameson’s commission and their inspectors.

Americans for Safe Access has been offering training since 2002 when there were less than a dozen dispensaries around the country. “Now that there are several thousand legally operating businesses in this country, they must be ready for inspections. The inspectors can issue violations for poorly trained staff and data integrity issues”, said Dr. Jahan Marcu, ASA’s Chief Scientist and Director of Patient Focused Certification. "OSHA violations alone can cost cannabis businesses more than $1 million in fines. It's critical to take these safety steps, such as properly training staff, to avoid liability"

Training is only one part of the PFC program. PFC also offers business certifications, pre-state inspections, and application writing, reviewing, or advising services-all proceeds directly support patient advocacy. For more information about the PFC training program and other services please visit,

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