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Needless to say, despite changes that have been taking place in Canada over the past couple of months, some groups that have continued to remain steadfast about marijuana legalization are universities. Regardless of school policies surrounding the drug, however, new steps are being taken in the area of cannabis science (particularly in the field of medicine). Interestingly, now eight universities in Canada have officially been licensed to grow private stashes of the little green plant. So what on earth transpired to instigate this sudden change of pace in the academic setting? Why is the fragrant herb now being cultivated in an educational environment? Let’s take a closer look at this bizarre situation taking place in Canada, our beautiful neighbor to the north.

A Matter of Genetics

At this time, Health Canada has distributed eight licenses to universities, which will now be permitted to grow stashes of the little green plant for scientific purposes only. As a result, researchers will be able to have a closer look at an herb that, up until October 17, had been illegal in their country. Among the universities that are receiving these licenses is the University of Guelph.

Recently, Max Jones (assistant professor in the department of agriculture at Guelph) received a shipment of marijuana plants a few weeks ago, after the university received its license in September. As part of his upcoming work, Jones will study the genetics of the cannabis plants in his possession, optimize conditions for growth, and (interestingly) develop a gene bank that can be utilized by researchers and breeders alike.

Hands-On Learning

As part of these procedures, Jones has a special license that permits the University of Guelph to examine the tissue cultures of the cannabis plant. However, he cannot allow the plants to mature. Once they have reached this point, Jones must discard them. Nevertheless, the bank will allow students to gain a stronger hand-on experience studying this fascinating little plant.

Ultimately, gaining a marijuana cultivation license is one step the university plans to take on its journey into the field of marijuana research.

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