As cannabis jobs become plentiful under the United States’ burgeoning recreational marijuana industry, the need for quality education of the plant is more necessary than ever before. In correspondence with the country’s ever-changing landscape, one Ohio college has found a new way to attract a wide array of students interested in the rapidly expanding industry: by offering the opportunity to become a cannabis lab technician major.
You Can Now Become A Cannabis Lab Technician Major
Hocking College, a southern Ohio-based university, received the final approval from the state’s Higher Learning Commission to offer the cannabis-centric major.
The school hopes that offering one of the country’s first ever marijuana-related major can help attract more students—both in-state and out.
And while the major is tied to the cannabis industry at the hip, Jonathan Cachat, the university’s director of laboratory science, says the program caters to anyone interested in agriculture or environmental sciences, in general.
“It’s been a great opportunity to arouse interest in students who maybe didn’t think they had a career in biomedical science,” Cachat said.
The Program Has Been In The Works For Quite Some Time
For anyone familiar with Ohio’s own MMJ program, it should come as no surprise that Hocking College now offers a lab technician major.
In fact, the whole endeavor has been a pretty big work in progress. According to Cachat, he’s been diligently working on developing a suitable program over the last calendar year. The major, which is set to debut in the fall semester of 2019, will not only offer the advanced machinery used in cannabis labs across the US, but some much-needed industry insights and tips.
“The hands-on lab component is really using the chemical instruments and the advanced machinery to do the lab testing, Cachat said. “But the broader scope is where the industry come from? What are the struggles today? The struggles of the past? And where are we going in the future?”
Back in July, Hocking College, alongside Central State University, were awarded provisional licenses to house medical marijuana testing labs. Under Ohio’s medical marijuana program, the state is permitted to license an unlimited number of lab testing groups. However, to date, there have only been nine applicants, with only the aforementioned college’s considered public institutions.
Publically-run facilities are considered more effective than private institutions, simply because they cannot be “bought” by cannabis companies paying a premium to push their own products.
However, for Hocking, receiving such a license had personal implications as well —it ultimately opened the door for the newly-approved cannabis-related bioscience major.
“This is a time for producers and growers to establish a relationship with Hocking College to provide quality laboratory services while demonstrating a commitment to public education and workforce development,” he said back in July.