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Weeding out the future of marijuana

Thursday, April 27, 2017

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News Editor

The plant sciences department will be offering a one-credit, 400-level seminar about the use, production, politics and policies regarding medical marijuana next semester on Wednesdays at noon.

The seminar, which goes by the code PLS 401, is being coordinated by Professor W. Michael Sullivan for the second year in a row. The class, Sullivan said, covers marijuana not only as a product and medicine, but also on a biological level as a plant.

“As someone who is a member of a plant sciences department, and someone who has placed people with any number of the compassion centers, I think we’re foolish if we keep ignoring it as a topic,” Sullivan said.

Each semester, the plant sciences department holds a seminar on Wednesdays at 12 p.m. Last year, for the first time, Sullivan decided to make marijuana the topic of conversation. The seminar was limited to 15 students, and after a positive reception Sullivan decided to not only repeat it this year but to also create a three-credit Grand Challenge course to go along with it.

“It is really a marvelous topic for someone interested in political science, someone interested in sociology, someone interested in economics and from a straightforward perspective of plant sciences,” Sullivan said. “That’s what we’re teaching, the care, control and growth of a plant. What type of plant someone chooses to grow is somewhat irrelevant to me. Having the best trained plant sciences professional is what is important.”

Growing marijuana as both a recreational and medicinal product allows for plant scientists to explore a variety of options in creating new strains, Sullivan said. He also added that he feels that the potential for developing disorder or desire specific germplasm is where money will be made in the future,

“If you want recreational, well what’s the recreational value of buds?” Sullivan asked. “You want a high and mellow feeling, well you can breed something for that. If you have somebody who suffers from stress, seizure disorders, appetite suppression, you would be able to breed and have lines most applicable to that. They won’t get you high, they’ll treat your disease or disorder.”

Sullivan encourages students from any field who is seriously interested in the topic of study should enroll in the course, and that should enough people contact him about different times or subjects for the seminar he would gladly take them into consideration. Students interested in the Grand Challenge course should keep an eye out for it during the 2018-19 school year.  

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