ECC students weigh in on possible cannabis class

Ethan Wiles and Arturo Chuatz

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Oakton Community College announced back in March that they would be launching a program to train students to work in the medical marijuana industry. The program is designed to allow students to earn a certificate after having learned how a cannabis dispensary works alongside training in patient care.

Bronson Schober, a first-year student at Elgin Community College, thinks it could be good for the school to begin a program like this.

“I believe that this program could be very beneficial to those that are in higher education and suffer from illnesses or disorders that can be treated with medical marijuana,” Schober said.

Schober also notes that schools like ECC could benefit from the added revenues that such a program would generate.

Colleges could also use the medical marijuana program to make some profit in order to improve the campus,” Schober said.

Although the medical use of marijuana became a statewide statute on Jan. 1, 2014, Governor J.B. Pritzker’s stance on marijuana spiked greater interests in younger residents.

For instance, first-year student, Austin Minaglia, feels like the time is right for colleges to begin working with the idea of educational programs related to the business-side and medical use of marijuana.

“I think the program is right on time since Illinois has medical marijuana, with recreational marijuana in talks of being legalized this year,” Minaglia said.

As with every new educational initiative, certain standards would have to be met, and Minaglia believes that a medical cannabis program should be no exception.

“To get this program approved [state-wide], we need to test the classes and see how everyone does, along with how [students] can react to the information,” Minaglia said.

Peggy Heinrich, Vice President of Teaching, Learning and Student Development talked about how ECC is focused on other material but is keeping an eye on the progress of the class at other schools.

“We do not intend to pursue a program related to the medical marijuana industry at this time,” Heinrich said. “At this time, we are exploring several other new programs and/or expansions to existing programs in areas such as welding, industrial manufacturing technician, robotics/mechatronics, energy management and more.”

However, the rise of this program could influence the program making its move to ECC.

“We are, however, monitoring the need and demand for this program and will evaluate how other schools choose to move forward with it and how these programs perform,” Heinrich said.

The future success of the students at ECC is a top priority and with other careers showing more success at the moment, the need for a medical marijuana program is not at the top of the list.

“We are committed to ensuring our students are prepared for jobs providing opportunities for future advancement in high demand professions,” Heinrich said.