Local Community College Accepts Over A Dozen Students Into Cannabis Production Course

Times, they sure are a changing! Typically, students caught growing cannabis faced prosecution. Now, they face graduation!

Illinois Valley Community College, located just west of the Starved Rock area in Oglesby, is one of just nine community colleges in the state to earn the Illinois Department of Agriculture licensure to operate a cannabis program under the Community College Vocational Pilot Program.

According to the school, there are 17 students enrolled in Advanced Cannabis Production.

Dr. Jennifer Timmers, cannabis instructor and co-coordinator of the agriculture program, said with IDOA industrial hemp growers and processors licenses, IVCC’s program offers students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the Advanced Cannabis Production Lab.

Their work includes growing plants from seed, tissue culturing, and running an HPLC test to analyze cannabinoid levels in industrial hemp. This testing is important as it ensures students are working only with hemp plants, not marijuana. 

Hemp and marijuana are both members of the cannabis plant family, but they are different in their chemical composition, cultivation methods, and uses.

Hemp is typically grown for its fibers and seeds, which are used in a variety of industrial and commercial applications such as textiles, paper, and building materials. Hemp plants contain low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana its intoxicating effects. In the United States, hemp is defined as cannabis plants that contain no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight.

Marijuana, on the other hand, is cultivated primarily for its THC content and its medicinal or recreational effects. Marijuana plants contain higher levels of THC and other cannabinoids, which are used for their psychoactive and therapeutic effects. The use of marijuana is still illegal in many countries, although some have legalized it for medical or recreational purposes.

I’m sure students wouldn’t ever use their newly acquired knowledge for anything less than legal, right?!

I kid! I kid! Hemp is a valuable crop and a booming business. Someone’s gotta learn it!