Oakton formally dedicates new PharmaCann Cannabis Cultivation Lab
DES PLAINES, Ill. (April 6, 2022) – Oakton Community College formally dedicated its new 2,900-square-foot cannabis cultivation facility as the PharmaCann Cannabis Cultivation Lab during a ceremony with college officials, PharmaCann representatives and community leaders in attendance. The recently opened facility and the new PharmaCann Scholarship for Cannabis Education were funded through a $600,000 PharmaCann donation.
“PharmaCann is committed to improving people’s lives through cannabis, which includes helping to develop the next generation of cannabis cultivators to lead our industry into the future,” said Brett Novey, CEO of PharmaCann Inc., one of the nation’s largest privately held, vertically integrated cannabis companies. “It is exciting to see the enthusiasm students have for the science of cannabis cultivation, and it is encouraging that curriculums such as Oakton’s cannabis certificate program will help develop a highly-skilled workforce. We look forward to one day working with the graduates of this program as they join our amazing industry.”
Providing unique, hands-on learning opportunities, the new lab on Oakton’s Des Plaines campus includes three grow rooms with humidity, temperature, aeration and security controls. The space has allowed Oakton to expand its cannabis curriculum with the introduction of a new, 12-credit hour Cannabis Cultivation Certificate Program.
“It is incredible to see this beautiful new facility operational just a bit more than a year after the PharmaCann donation was announced,” said Oakton President Joianne L. Smith, Ph.D. “The cannabis industry represents a unique opportunity for students interested in agriculture, science, healthcare, retailing and nearly everything in between. Oakton is gratified by its partnership with PharmaCann, which will help bring this industry to life for students.”
In addition to the new lab, the PharmaCann Scholarship for Cannabis Education Programs was created through the donation to help provide educational opportunities for students, with priority given to students of Color, individuals adversely affected by cannabis prohibition and domestic violence victims.
“It is an honor for PharmaCann to contribute to Oakton’s cannabis education program in such a meaningful way,” Novey said. “The privilege of participating in the cannabis industry comes with the responsibility to elevate those who were most impacted by the inequitable enforcement of cannabis prohibition laws and to help those populations in ways that will have a positive generational impact in their lives and communities.”
The new lab is the first-of-its-kind educational facility on an Illinois community college campus. Through hands-on lab instruction, students will learn how to cultivate, cure and dry plants, as well as processing and packaging. Understanding the seed-to-harvest growth cycle will prepare students for a broad range of opportunities in the cannabis industry, from retail and medical dispensaries to cultivation and craft grow centers. Students will train with hemp plants, which are botanically identical to cannabis, until such time that federal law on the handling of cannabis on college campuses is changed.
To date, more than 550 students have enrolled in cannabis education programs at Oakton, and nearly 150 credentials have been awarded. PharmaCann’s contribution to Oakton supports its social equity responsibility, per the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. With equity central to both PharmaCann’s and Oakton’s missions, this gift seeks to create access to the cannabis industry for individuals from diverse demographics and backgrounds and with varying life experiences and perspectives.
PharmaCann Inc. is one of the nation’s largest privately held, vertically integrated cannabis companies, providing safe, reliable, and high-quality cannabis products to people in both the medical and adult-use markets. The PharmaCann geographic footprint includes dispensaries and cultivation and processing operations in eight states. For more information about PharmaCann, please visit Pharmacann.com.
About Oakton Community College cannabis education:
In 2019, Oakton launched the Cannabis Dispensary and Patient Care Specialist Certificate — Illinois' first community college health communications program focusing on medical cannabis. The 12-credit hour program prepares students to provide advice to and care for patients seeking medical cannabis as a treatment for various ailments. Oakton's curriculum also helps students gain a thorough understanding of the laws, regulations and business operations of the medical cannabis industry. Oakton’s cannabis education programs have since expanded to include the Cannabis Transportation, Logistics, and Supply Chain Management Certificate and the Cannabis Cultivation Certificate- further expanding training available for students interested in obtaining jobs in the growing industry. To date, more than 500 students have enrolled in cannabis education programs, and nearly 150 credentials have been awarded.