Universities Now Offering Cannabis Programs Globally

In assessing the speed at which the industry of cannabis has grown across Illinois, D.K. Lee imagines South Korea in the 1970s.

Cannabis studies
Image Credit: WBEZChicago

Lee is an agronomy professor of agronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign He has spent the bulk of his professional life researching perennial grasses as well as other special feedstocks.

Just three years in the past, Lee and his colleagues within his department in the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences began to talk about ways UIUC could expand its reach to specialty crops, while also assessing the needs and interests of Illinois farmers.

One crop that was constantly popping to mind was the cannabis plant, which is a specialized crop with family roots for Lee. Cannabis and hemp are both parts of the cannabis plant family.

“I remember back in 1970, around the time when the South Korean government started regulating cannabis, my grandma was producing hemp fiber,” that was then used to make clothing, Lee said. “At this time nobody knew about marijuana. The hemp plant had been growing fiber generation after generation.”

In the present, Lee sees similarities between the time when his mother cultivated hemp and present-day Illinois. The way that hemp was grown in South Korea, practices were passed down through generations however there was no formal training on the subject. In the United States, cannabis growers are only getting started with the cultivation and management of cannabis.

“There’s a lot of demand and interest for cannabis and hemp out there, but we realized there wasn’t necessarily any good information,” Lee stated. “We as a university need to be the ones to start developing and establishing some research for the younger generation.”

The popularity of both recreational and medical marijuana increases in Illinois as well, and the education surrounding the cultivation, production, and administration of cannabis is coming closer. In the fall of this year and in addition to being offered by the University of Illinois, 11 community colleges throughout the state more than ever are offering classes designed to prepare students for careers within the industry of cannabis. The selection of courses is ever more advanced, ranging beginning with “cannabis and the law” at Oakton Community College to “cannabis flower production” at UIUC.

Louis Levey is the Content Success Manager and Founder at No Strings Content. He's passionate about helping cannabis businesses use content to attract, educate, and convert audiences. His hometown is Boca Raton, Florida, but he currently lives and works remotely in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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