Universities and Colleges across Canada Now Growing Marijuana on Campus

By Casey, Liam | The Canadian Press, November 28, 2018 | Go to article overview

Universities and Colleges across Canada Now Growing Marijuana on Campus


Casey, Liam, The Canadian Press


Academic institutions growing pot on campus

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Marijuana, long snuck on to college and university campuses for use in bongs and joints, is now being grown legally at several academic institutions across the country.

Eight academic institutions have obtained licences from Health Canada to cultivate cannabis for scientific purposes, allowing them to closely study the drug that was legalized for recreational use in October.

Some received special licences a few months before legalization and will be moving to licences with fewer restrictions in the future.

The University of Guelph is one of them.

Max Jones, an assistant professor in the department of agriculture, received cannabis plants several weeks ago after the school was granted a license in September.

Jones said he plans to study the plant's genetics, optimization of growing conditions and the creation of a gene bank to be used by both researchers and breeders.

For that work, Jones has a license that allows the school to study cannabis tissue cultures -- he does not yet have a license to grow the plant to maturity and must destroy the plants when his research is complete. The school will eventually move to a different cultivation license that won't be as restrictive, he said.

"By having this on campus, we can train students more hands on," Jones said. "We can and have done research at the companies' facilities, but that isn't practical because they are so far away."

Obtaining a cannabis cultivation licence is part of the university's shift into marijuana research, an extension of the school's long history in horticultural science. It plans to begin construction in 2019 on the Guelph Centre for Cannabis Research, where it hopes to grow pot plants to maturity for further study.

"It's an exciting time to be in the plant sciences because the cannabis industry's funding a lot of research that most industries wouldn't fund," Jones said.

Jones and a small team are growing miniature plants at a secure facility on campus and focusing much of their early work on tissue cultures.

"We are growing pieces of plants or whole plants in vitro and mass producing them that way," he said, noting that two cannabis companies, Canopy and Up Cannabis, are providing the plants and some funding for research. …

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