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October 5, 2022

Eastern CT State University hosting its first cannabis conference

As more higher education institutions continue to get involved in cannabis through programs and classes, Eastern Connecticut State University is hosting a two-day cannabis conference this month to give students and the public an eye into the up-and-coming industry.

Eastern Connecticut State University is hosting the New England Cannabis Research and Education Conference on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22. The university is calling it the state’s first academic conference on cannabis studies. The conference, which ECSU hopes to turn into a regularly scheduled event, is free to students and researchers and members of the public can purchase tickets here.    

Amanda Irwin, administrative assistant in ECSU’s Office of the Provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the conference has a different focus than some other cannabis events that typically cater to the business-side of the industry.

“There are a lot of business conferences out there for cannabis, but none of them focus really on education and research,” Irwin said. “We wanted to hold an old-fashioned academic conference looking at the growth in interest in cannabis science throughout New England and Connecticut.”

The first day of the conference includes a dinner and presentation from University of Connecticut Professor Gerald Berkowitz focusing on molecular analysis of cannabis.

Day two includes an all-day schedule of business exhibits and panels including industry professionals and students researching cannabis. Presentations on the schedule include focus on  cultivation techniques, cannabis testing and regulations, cannabis supply chains and social equity, among other topics.

Jason White, director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, is the featured lunch speaker during day two.

Eastern isn’t new to cannabis. The school is a licensed hemp producer through the state and currently has its own cultivation and analysis program for non-psychotropic hemp — cannabis with no more than 0.3% THC.

The school also recently launched a minor in cannabis cultivation and chemistry, the first such program in the state since last year’s legalization law.

“We don’t see this area of study going away,” Irwin said. “We see ourselves as right at the cusp of the industry and we want the science to follow.”

According to organizers, the event is being sponsored by cannabis cultivation and gardening store Mr. Nice Guy, Willimantic Food Co-Op, The Botanist, Leading Edge Construction and The ECSU Foundation, Inc.

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