MACOMB (WEEK) – Students at Western Illinois University can earn a minor in cannabis production, starting next fall.
The majority of the courses for the 18 to 19 credit hour minor will be offered through WIU’s School of Agriculture, but some of he classes will come from the school’s Department of Biological Sciences.
Recreational marijuana use became legal in Illinois starting Jan. 1. Forbes magazine listed the cannabis industry as one of America’s fastest growing job markets.
Cannabis directly employs 211,000 full-time workers in the U.S., according to Leafly’s 2019 Cannabis Jobs Count.
„We’re excited to be a part of this flourishing industry and providing in-demand, and new, academic opportunities for our students,” said WIU Interim President Martin Abraham.
„Because of our many years of work in alternative crops, and the outstanding expertise of our faculty at Western, we are in a unique position to be at the forefront of cannabis studies,” Abraham also said.
The university is also introducing a new course called Cannabis Biology and Production, which aims to assist with developing employees for the new Illinois industry in cannabis production, according to School of Agriculture Director Andy Baker.
Horticulture Professor Shelby Henning, will lead the biology/production course, which includes cannabis anatomy, physiology, breeding, propagation methods, management techniques, post-harvest processing, commercial production, crop rotations and product applications.
„This new course and minor are perfect complements to our comprehensive agriculture degree program,” said Baker.
Other courses available in the minor already exist through the School of Agriculture and Department of Biological Sciences. They include crop sciences, introduction to horticulture, introduction to plant biology, genetics in biology and agriculture, pest management, plant structure, plant physiology, landscape construction and management, greenhouse and nursery management, plant breeding, crop improvement and hydroponic plant production.
WIU’s Faculty Senate approved the new minor at its Feb. 4 meeting.