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Introducing Ganjier: The Cannabis Sommelier Certification Program

Introducing Ganjier: The Cannabis Sommelier Certification Program

The Ganjier Cannabis Sommelier Certification Program

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As cannabis emerges rapidly into the mainstream, a diverse new array of products and applications are entering the marketplace. At the same time, there is a void of knowledge and a lack of sophistication – even among cannabis veterans – when it comes to quality, flavor, and understanding effect profiles.

There has not been a consistent, established guide or standard of quality to help consumers navigate the myriad choices, products, and consumption methods right for them.

Enter the Ganjier

Analogous to the wine sommelier, beer cicerone or cigar catador, the Ganjier is equal parts deft aficionado and interpretive liaison – schooled in the intricacies of terroir and terpenes – serving as a conduit between cannabis and consumer from farm to flame, navigating complexities and elevating user experience.

The result—distilled from insight only decades of experience can produce—is a rigorous, one-year cannabis sommelier certification consisting of online training, live, expert-led instruction on cannabis assessment, and in-person final assessment exams. Dedicated to elevating and celebrating the art, science & enjoyment of cannabis consumption, connoisseurship, and service, Ganjier is creating an entirely new class of cannabis professional – The “Master of Cannabis Service.”

Derek Gilman from Ganjier
Photo Credit: Ganjier

To become a Ganjier, you go through rigorous online training, comprehensive skill assessment, and live, hands-on instruction, designed and conducted by 18 of the preeminent experts and artisans in the field encompassing: history, genetics, cultivation, processing, consumption, service, and more.

There are three steps to becoming a Certified Ganjier: the online training, the live hands-on assessment training, and passing the three final exams:

Online training: Composed of 10 online video courses and 31 individual lessons, led by experts from the Ganjier Council and covering topics from cultivation to consumption methods, this is the first step in building a solid Ganjier foundation.

Live Training: Hands-on, in-person instruction from preeminent experts on the Ganjier Council, this immersive sommelier-style instruction in the art of cannabis assessment takes place in the storied Emerald Triangle of Northern California.

In-person exams: The final step in the Certified Ganjier journey, students will be graded on their knowledge, service, and assessment acumen through written exams, in-person scenarios, and quality evaluation trials.

The Ganjier Council

Led by the cannabis industry’s most respected and brilliant minds spanning six decades of experience and disciplines, from cultivation to concentrates, chemistry to commerce, the Ganjier Council was established to guide, validate, and endorse the accuracy, validity, and rigor of the Ganjier Certification™ Program.

The 18 founding members of the Ganjier Council include:

  • Kevin Jodrey, Founder of Port Royal and Wonderland Nursery, Renowned Breeder and Cultivator, Emerald Cup and Golden Tarp Judge
  • Frenchy Cannoli, Master Hashishin, Cannabis Aficionado, Educator
  • Patrick King, “The Soil King,” Cannabis Entrepreneur, Founder of Soil King Garden Center, Plant Nutrient Expert
  • Jeffrey Raber PhD, Organic Chemist, Chief Scientist, Co-Founder, and President of The Werc Shop
  • Mel Frank, Hall of Fame Cannabis Breeder, Legendary Cultivator, Author of The Marijuana Grower’s Insider’s Guide
  • Swami Chaitanya, Iconic Cultivator, Competition Judge, Entrepreneur, Founder of Swami Select
  • Nikki Lastreto, Co-Founder of Swami Select, Cultivator, Cannabis Competition Judge
  • Nick Tanem (aka Nikka T), Award-Winning Hash Master, Owner of Essential Extracts
  • Wendy Kornberg, Legacy Cultivator, CEO of Sunnabis, Educator/Advisor
  • Omar Figueroa, Cannabis Legal Expert, Defense Attorney, Founding Member of National Cannabis Bar Association
  • Amanda Reiman PhD, Cannabis Educator, Advocate, Founder, and CEO of Personal Plants
  • Genine Coleman, Executive Director, Origins Council, Educator
  • Justin Calvino, Cultivator, Co-Founder of Emerald Exchange and The Mendocino Appellations Project, Executive Director, Terroir Mendocino
  • Kimberly Hooks, CEO of Frenchy Cannoli Brand, Aroma / Flavor Expert, Educator
  • Aaron Varney, Co-Founder of Dockside Cannabis, Educator, Advocate
  • Josh Wurzer, President of SC Labs, Cannabis Scientist, Educator
  • Alec Dixon, Co-Founder of SC Labs, Educator, Terpene Wizard
  • Derek Gilman, Managing Director of Ganjier, Legacy Cultivator, Connoisseur

Collectively contributing more than 8,000 hours of time over two years of development, the result was an unprecedented, uncompromising, rigorous, and comprehensive certification program, examining and exploring the finer points, complexities, and nuances of cannabis, including history, science, botany, genetics, cultivation, processing, sale, and consumption.

The Systematic Assessment Protocol

The quality of cannabis in today’s legal market is currently being judged, priced, and sold primarily based on the potency (THC level) of the product. This is an inaccurate and incomplete method of evaluating the desirability of cannabis—analogous to only using the highest alcohol percentage or caffeine levels to assess the quality of wine or coffee.

To rectify this problem, the Ganjier Cannabis Sommelier Certification devoted more than three years and thousands of hours into developing the Ganjier Systematic Assessment Protocol, known as “The SAP,” to create a 100-point scale that delivers the most thorough and accurate cannabis quality assessment method developed to date.

Harnessing the power of each of the four senses that interact with cannabis — Appearance, Aroma, Flavor, and Experience — The SAP guides the Ganjier on an interactive journey of exploration and discovery based on a robustly curated set of well-defined criteria and a mobile app to guide the assessment protocol.

The Systematic Assessment Protocol® has been rigorously tested and validated by the cannabis industry’s most qualified experts, including Emerald Cup judges, scientists, legacy cultivators, concentrate gurus, terroir experts, and more. Leveraging decades of combined experience, this group of industry leaders collaborated to develop and refine The SAP into a state-of-the-art tool that will provide enormous value to the cannabis industry.

Benefit to the Industry

The wisdom received from this Ganjier training will not only help students gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the plant, but it will also help them be better stewards and guides within the cannabis industry as a whole. Demand dictates supply, and if people are unaware of what quality looks like in their cannabis products, they can’t demand the best, and soon the market will reflect that reality.

Cannabis needs advocates to push legalization and more, but it also needs trained professionals to educate the masses on how to gain the most value from this plant so that the future of cannabis remains bright. It takes time and dedication to become the master of any craft.

For more information on the groundbreaking Ganjier Cannabis Certification program, visit 

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