Applications opened Wednesday for a marijuana education pilot program at Roxbury Community College that will provide scholarships, workforce training, pro bono legal services, and job placement for people who have been disproportionately hurt by the war on drugs.
The CultivatED program, which was introduced at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition in Boston in October, will choose 15 fellows for its small-scale, 12-week summer semester, slated to begin in early June.
Candidates for the program must be at least 21 years old and a US citizen or permanent resident. Preference will be given to applicants who have marijuana-related infractions on their record, though the program is also intended to help others who have been negatively impacted by the enforcement of marijuana prohibition.
Fellows who complete the program will receive a higher education certificate and will have the opportunity to participate in a paid retail and cultivation experience, which will last eight weeks. Fellows are guaranteed employment in the industry once they complete the program.
“The goal of this program is to provide a continuum of support, from individualized legal services and record expungement, to specialized industry-related education, as well as workforce development opportunities during and after the program, which will prepare our students to enter the workforce with the tools they need to excel,” Massachusetts Representative Chynah Tyler, who has championed the program, said in a statement.
“It’s a true jail-to-jobs program that’s needed to correct the systemic inequities that put people in jail for the very product that is now legal," she continued.
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh thanked Tyler for “being a strong advocate and leader on this issue.”
“We are committed to ensuring the new industry is fair, transparent and equitable for all who wish to participate,” he wrote in a statement.
CultivatED is funded through a combination of public and private partnerships, including $50,000 in state funding. An additional $150,000 in contributions have come from cannabis companies such as MedMen Enterprises, New England Treatment Access, Sira Naturals, Garden Remedies, and PharmaCann.
Roxbury Community College will host the classes for CultivatED fellows, and other services will be provided by the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges, Greater Boston Legal Services, the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, the Commonwealth Dispensary Association, Lawyers for Civil Rights Boston, and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department.
Applications for CultivatED will be accepted through April 8. To learn more about the program or to apply, visit masscultivated.com.