Different community colleges and four-year universities in Illinois are developing academic programs focused on the production and distribution of marijuana in light of a recently passed state law legalizing the drug.
The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on June 25, allows for the state Department of Agriculture to issue licenses to eight community colleges as they develop programming for the Cannabis Vocational Training Pilot Program.
The pilot program would allow students in licensed community colleges to obtain a Career in Cannabis Certificate. This professional certificate would, “allow participating students to work with, study, and grow live cannabis plants so as to prepare students for a career in the legal cannabis industry, and to instruct participating students on the best business practices, professional responsibility, and legal compliance of the cannabis industry,” according to the recently signed law.
However, a federal statute might place some obstacles towards the implementation of this new pilot program. According to Drug Free Schools and Campuses Regulations, colleges and universities are required to be drug free. These academic institutions are required to, “clearly prohibit, at a minimum, the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees on its property or as part of any of its activities,” as is stated in the federal statute.
As Illinois seeks to grow the weed industry in its state through professional development, it will need to reckon with longstanding federal law.