Oakland Pioneers Paid Internship and Academic Program for Equity Applicants

The City of Oakland has launched a first-of-its-kind academic and paid internship program for individuals in the City of Oakland who qualify as Equity Applicants under the city’s cannabis ordinance. Funded by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz) and the City of Oakland, and overseen by Case4Cannabis, Inc., in partnership with Merritt College and the Oakland Private Industry Council (OPIC), this initiative provides qualified Oakland residents with free academic training and a 10-week paid internship with participating Oakland cannabis businesses. The program’s primary objective is ensure a living wage for interns in the cannabis industry while providing these interns with the knowledge and skills they will need to thrive in the cannabis economy. Launched last month, the first cohort is currently completing the academic component of the program overseen by Merritt College. The second cohort will launch later this summer with an application deadline of August 15, and the third and final cohort will launch next year with an application deadline of January 31, 2025. Participants in each cohort cover eight learning modules during the academic component of the program, addressing every link in the cannabis supply chain from cultivation to lab testing to retail sales, along with cannabis laws and compliance, as well as the Metrc system. Cannabis business employers who participate in the program get the benefit of interns’ academic training while being exempted from directly paying the interns’ $21.28/hour wages. Participating cannabis business employers can also receive a tax rebate upon an intern’s permanent hiring. All three cohorts will graduate from this program together in June 2025.