MUSCATINE, Iowa (KWQC) — From CBD oils to food and building materials. Those are just some of the potential uses of hemp. Starting this fall, students at Eastern Iowa Community College in Muscatine can get a degree in growing the crop.
Shane Mairet is the mastermind behind the Industrial Hemp Program. Mairet comes from a family of farmers and has been working with specialty crops for 11 years. He says the college will be the first program in Iowa to offer a hemp degree.
“Students will take two semesters of credits. Learning about hemp, how to produce it, and what they can do with it after its production,” he said.
The one year program will also touch on rules and regulations, getting the license to grow, and starting a business. Mairet and the college have been working on putting the course together.
On April, 8, state legislators legalized hemp to be grown as a crop.
“This year is the first year in approximately 70 years that Iowa has allowed farmers to grow hemp,” he said.
He plans to keep his classes hands-on, but also making sure to address any misconceptions. Mairet says unlike marijuana, hemp does not have THC. The chemical that will get people high.
“A lot of people think hemp and marijuana are the same plants. They are not. We really want people to understand we are not promoting or endorsing marijuana use at all,” he said.
A crop meant to bring income for individuals and the state.
“So our goal with the program is to first bring production in the state with students wanting to grow it. I think there’s a huge opportunity for eventual manufacturing and a lot of different jobs,” he said.
In order to grow hemp in Iowa and Illinois, you need a license. Students have already started registering for the class.
Anyone interested in learning more about the program or beginning hemp production can attend one of four online Facebook Live information sessions on MCC’s Facebook page.
The sessions, which will begin at 7 p.m., include:April 21: Student Information SessionApril 28: Obtaining Your Hemp Growing LicenseMay 5: What is Hemp?May 12: Government Requirements and Issue