A 5-acre piece of land will be occupied by researchers at Southern Illinois University (SIU) to cultivate hemp for research purposes. The DEA gave its final approval. Plants should start hitting the ground in the spring.
SIU also plans on offering a marijuana certificate program for medical marijuana production, according to The Chicago Tribune. The University has worked on plans to introduce these courses for several years. Interest in marijuana cultivation, science and production has steadily increased.
Karen Midden, the Dean of Agricultural Sciences, said, “We’re getting this request and input from stakeholders, who are reaching out to us, telling us they need the science. But we’re also getting it from students — current and potential students — that they would like to have programs to prepare them for work in these areas.”
It is not said when the marijuana-related certificate programs could be available. Some of the courses expected to be available include plant biology, chemistry, ecology, business and engineering for the marijuana industry.
Regarding the university’s venture into hemp research, testing of the soil has already been completed. The Interim Vice Chancellor for Research, Jim Garvey, says that the data received from cultivating hemp in this location will allow for data sharing with local growers.
Garvey said, “We will also be able to learn how to minimize soil erosion and ensure sustainable harvests.”