Stockton U Launches Cannabis & Hemp Research Initiative

A New Jersey university has launched a new program to provide cannabis and hemp-focused research, education, and resources for local and national markets.

Earlier in April, Stockton University (SU) announced its Cannabis & Hemp Research Initiative (CHRIS), which builds upon the school’s Cannabis Studies academic programs.

A Higher Level of Education

CHRIS focuses on creating educational materials, researching hemp cultivation practices, and non-medical cannabis lab testing.

An SU press release notes that New Jersey’s hemp industry is still in its beginning stages, even though the state was the third to put hemp cultivation guidelines into place.

To start, the CHRIS testing lab will provide testing services for hemp growers, processors, and finished product manufacturers.

Future initiative plans include cultivating hemp in Stockton fields and greenhouses, according to SU.

Adjunct Professor of Cannabis Studies Robert Mejia says that the initiative will also include educational and career fairs, helping set the standard for hemp and cannabis education across the country.

“Hemp was an important part of America’s past, and we’d like to make it an important part of America’s future,” says Mejia. “We used to know how to grow and process hemp, but because of cannabis prohibition, we have to learn all over again. As we learn, we will be sharing these valuable lessons with our community and the nation.”

Mejia says that opportunities to create environmentally-friendly consumer hemp products like building materials, food, and replacements for plastics and ethanol will lead to a more sustainable future.

With plans to work with community partners to provide education, training, and job opportunities for the post-prison population, Mejia says the initiative is a way to engage with the local community and assist people harmed by the drug war.

“As the first university in New Jersey to offer a Cannabis Studies Minor in 2019,” says Professor of Biology and coordinator of Cannabis Studies minor Ekaterina Sedia. “Stockton is poised to do important research into areas that can provide opportunities for our students and emerging industries and enhance the economy of the state.”

Convening for Cannabis

The first CHRIS event will be a virtual Cannabis Curriculum Convening on April 21-22.

The event will focus on gathering cannabis educators together to network, discuss ideas, and develop strategies to further cannabis education at the university level.

According to SU, themes for the event will include cannabis curricula in science, cultivation, law, medicine, and social justice.

Sedia says that there is a lot of confusion regarding hemp and cannabis, as the topics affect so many different areas.

“Through our research and education, we want to be a leader in both academia, and in assisting businesses and local communities as the industry grows.”