Starting this fall, Eastern Connecticut State University will offer hemp cultivation as an academic minor program of study, they announced in a news release Thursday.
Licensed as an official hemp producer with the Department of Agriculture, the university will offer multiple classes surrounding hemp production and biological studies with plans to expand the minor into a major of study in the future.
Leading the program will be plant biologist Bryan Connolly, an assistant professor at Eastern.
"I'm going to be teaching basic plant biology; it will be a way of looking at the biological processes in all plants, with an emphasis on hemp or cannabis," Connolly said in a news release. "I hope students will also learn which variety do you choose, for what purposes and what do you expect to get out of it, when to harvest and how to dry."
Classes include topics on how to cultivate and harvest hemp seeds with a hands-on approach in a controlled environment, different cannabidiol types and understanding different THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) levels in different types of cannabis.
The program will also explore the business side of the hemp industry, with classes touching on management, marketing, economics, criminology and political science.
"As the cannabis industry grows, there will be demand for college graduates who can develop new strands of cannabis, cultivate and harvest the crops, and process the product for sale," said William Salka, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
"Eastern's cannabis program and focus on the liberal arts are intended to fill both needs while ensuring our graduates are prepared not only to enter this industry but develop into leaders in their fields," Salka said in a statement.
This announcement comes after the recent legalization of recreational marijuana, making Connecticut the 19th state to do so.