Niagara College is offering what is thought to be a program that is the first of its kind, which will teach students how to effectively grow and cultivate marijuana. It is known that the program is the first and only one in Canada right now, and it is believed to be the only one in the world offering courses in cannabis growth for actual college credit and a certificate. The class is being offered for the first time this semester, so there hasn’t been any time to gather much feedback on how it is being received on campus, but so far many students seem to think it is pretty cool, according to CBC News.
Niagara’s College’s new cannabis program is headed by professor Bill MacDonald, who said that only five years ago, he would have thought a course of study like this would be impossible. With Canada only about a month away from making it legal to use pot on a recreational basis, quite a few things have changed regarding cannabis and the way people are looking at it. The course offers only 24 spots right now, but that may expand if the pilot program is successful as it drew in over 300 applicants.
The courses are being offered at the “On the Lake” location of the College, with the hands-on work being done at a secure location known as the “cannabunker.” The “cannabunker” is actually a series of shipping containers strung together to create a high security, high-tech lab for the growing and processing of marijuana. The entire network of shipping containers is fenced off, and access is restricted and monitored, according to Global News.
College President Dan Patterson told Global News that he feels the marijuana growing class is a perfect addition to their horticulture, winery, and brewery classes. He feels that it is all a part of helping create a capable workforce that can be competitive in the ever-changing landscape of business regarding emerging industries. With five licensed grow operations in the Niagara area already and plans to expand, the need for trained professionals in the field is growing.
The course covers issues regarding plant nutrition, climate, and pest control as well as plant selection. There are also a few courses covering the legal issues surrounding the growth, processing, distribution, and use of marijuana in Canada. There is a portion of the course that is fieldwork, which places students with legal grow houses, and job placement is available upon graduation, per the NCC website.