On July 3, 2018, Hocking College was awarded a provisional license as a Medical Cannabis Testing Laboratory by the Ohio Department of Commerce (ODC), making it one of the first in the state.
The ODC accepted public university testing lab applications from September 11-21, 2017, and privately-held testing lab applications from November 27, 2017 through December 8, 2017. According to the ODC's website, they received nine testing lab applications. Central State University and Hocking College were the only two universities that submitted their applications during the open period.
“Fulfilling the Ohio legislative mandate that an Ohio public college or university serve as a testing lab for the new medical cannabis program promotes public safety, and Hocking College is proud to serve in this capacity,” — Dr. Betty Young, President of Hocking College
Who’s Going to be in Charge of the Lab?
Hocking College’s Cannabis Medical Testing laboratory will function under the direction of Jonathan Cachat, Ph.D., who will serve as Hocking’s Director of Laboratory Science and Undergraduate Research.
Dr. Cachat added, “This is the time for producers and growers to establish a relationship with Hocking College to provide quality laboratory services while demonstrating a commitment to public education and workforce development.”
In regards to the lab, Dr. Cachat explained that, “The building is purchased, construction is underway, and meetings with cultivators are in process – we will be fully operational when samples from cultivators are anticipated to be ready for testing.”
As a result, the need for trained cannabis lab techs in the area will increase.
Where Can I get the Training I Need to Work in this Field?
Hocking College has been approved for a new associate degree for Laboratory Technicians in Medical Laboratory and Chemical Laboratory Science, and is awaiting approval to proceed with a first-of-its-kind Cannabis Lab Technician degree program.
What Skills will I Learn in this New Program?
Students will learn how to perform specific tests regarding medical cannabis and spend a significant amount of time doing hands-on training using the same analytical instruments found in other commercial labs.
Dr. Young reinforced that, “The research and academic potential of serving as the lab testing site will support the kind of hands-on, high-tech training that is the hallmark of Hocking College programs.”
How does the Industry Outlook for Medical Cannabis?
In Ohio and across the country, the medical cannabis market is expected to grow to an $80 billion industry by 2022. This will encourage the creation of many new jobs in this highly-regulated industry.
Dr. Young added that, “Hocking College expects to see significant growth in workforce programs that will support the industry and provide jobs for Ohioans.”
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