Oakton Community College in Des Plaines dedicates new, first-of-its-kind cannabis lab

Oakton Community College officials recently dedicated the Des Plaines campus' new cannabis cultivation facility.

Containing three secure, temperature- and humidity-controlled grow rooms, the lab is the first of its kind on an Illinois community college campus.

Oakton launched the state's first cannabis-specific academic program in 2019.

The facility formally is called the PharmaCann Cannabis Cultivation Lab, after the cannabis industry company that donated $600,000 to the project and a scholarship for cannabis education.

"The cannabis industry represents a unique opportunity for students interested in agriculture, science, health care, retailing and nearly everything in between," Oakton President Joianne L. Smith said in a news release. "Oakton is gratified by its partnership with PharmaCann, (which) will help bring this industry to life for students."

College officials were joined by PharmaCann representatives at the ceremony. The company operates dispensaries in Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Rosemont, North Aurora and other towns in Illinois and other states, as well as cultivation and processing facilities in several states.

Because federal law doesn't allow cannabis to be grown on college campuses, hemp plants will be used in the lab. That will change if the law changes.

A hemp plant grows inside the new cannabis cultivation lab at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines. The facility, a first of its kind on an Illinois community college campus, was formally dedicated earlier this month. Jason Reese, an Oakton cannabis cultivation certificate student, is in the background. Courtesy of Oakton Community College
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