It's been more than a month since recreational cannabis became legal in Connecticut, and colleges and universities are jumping on board to teach students what they need to know about the budding industry.
Naugatuck Valley Community College is launching a new course focused on cannabis production.
Christopher Tuccio, the program coordinator of horticulture, explained a bit of the thought process behind creating this course.
"The course has been a long time coming. It was originally an idea back in 2013 when the medical marijuana industry was legalized in the state of Connecticut. We were approached by a number of dispensaries that were getting their license as medical marijuana dispensaries. and with the new legislation recently, we decided to dip our toes in," Tuccio explained.
Tuccio said it was actually Quinebaug Valley Community College that first imported the course, Horticulture of Cannabis, and Naugatuck then worked with them to adapt it to their campus.
"Our campus is the only in the 12 community colleges that offers horticulture. So it was a really natural fit. Throughout the course itself, students will learn a lot of different things. It's kind of from seed to cultivation and everything from in between. What they learn is plant nutrition, soil fertility and growing the plant to a vegetative state. And then the actual harvest and cultivation of the CBD and THC that's used in the industry."
The popularity of the course has been overwhelming.
"It's kind of ironic because it seems like we're the best-kept secret in the community college system. When they learn about this course and speak with me about what we have on campus: the four greenhouses, the 12 gardens, etc, they kind of open their eyes to this wonderful world of natural spaces and plant biology that they didn't know," Tuccio said.
Other Connecticut schools are looking to implement programs around the new industry. The University of Connecticut and Eastern Connecticut State University are two of the other schools introducing new programs.