SUNY Morrisville wants to prepare students for a fast growing industry around the country, and possibly right here in New York, by offering a Cannabis Industry Minor.
The school is currently in the development stages of the program but hopes to have it ready to offer to students for the upcoming Fall Semester.
Recreational marijuana is currently legal in several states and Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for its legalization in New York.
Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins is an Assistant Professor of Agricultural Science at SUNY Morrisville.
“We’re an ag[riculture] and technical college. Our job is to train the workers that are on the ground in the workforce and that’s our goal, that’s what we’re doing. So if these jobs are going to be there we need to make sure our graduates are the ones filling those positions,” she says.
As an Instructional Support Associate for the Horticultural Department at SUNY Morrisville Howard Rice is in charge of the organic farm and hydroponics and aquaponics growing at the College.
Rice tells NewsChannel 9, “They want students who went for horticulture or similar environmental majors because they understand plant growth, they’re not just hiring the guy who was growing in his basement for 10 years, they want the people who understand the science behind it.”
Morrisville is planning to use pieces of its diverse programs in agricultural engineering, science, and business and horticulture to develop a cannabis program.
For starters they aren’t expecting to plant any marijuana but instead use hemp plants, which are very similar to the marijuana plant, as stand-ins to help students to understand marijuana cultivation techniques.
“The main difference is the levels of THC, so the hemp doesn’t have those pyschoactive effects so we can use it as a model for growing marijuana,” Rice adds.
Jenkins says, “We need to be the institution that people think of when they want to learn about this industry.”
The school plans to use its expertise with the hemp plant and indoor farming, which they expect many marijuana growers to use, to help with the Cannabis Industry Minor.