Western Illinois announces new Cannabis Production minor

Devon Greene, editor-in-chief

Students at Western Illinois University will soon have the opportunity to minor in one of the fastest growing economic markets in America.

Starting next fall, Western Illinois will offer a Cannabis Production minor through the School of Agriculture and Department of Biological Science.

The minor and its details were approved and discussed at the Western Illinois Faculty Senate meeting that took place on Feb. 4. The minor will be an 18-19 credit hour program and most of the classes will take place through the School of Agriculture, however, additional coursework will come from the Department of Biological Science.

Western Illinois Interim President Martin Abraham has worked to expand development at Western since taking the reins and he expressed his excitement for the new program.

“We’re excited to be a part of this flourishing industry and providing in-demand, and new, academic opportunities for our students,” Abraham said. “Because of our many years of work in alternative crops, and the outstanding expertise of our faculty at Western, we are in a unique position to be at the forefront of cannabis studies.”

According to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Illinois dispensaries sold more than $39 million in recreational marijuana in the month of January alone. This was the second largest financial rollout in the nation’s history, only trailing California, who brought in around $70 million in their first month in 2018.

Courses that will be offered in the minor include “Cannabis Biology and Production,” “Crop Sciences,” “Introduction to horticulture,” “Introduction to Plant Biology,” “Genetics in Biology and Agriculture,” “Pest Management,” “Plant Structure,” “Plant Physiology,” “Landscape Construction and Management,” “Greenhouse and Nursery Management,” “Plant Breeding,” “Crop Improvement” and “Hydroponic Plant Production.”