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Eastern to host Connecticut’s first cannabis academic research conference

Published on June 22, 2022

Eastern to host Connecticut’s first cannabis academic research conference

Registration now open for NECREC


Eastern Connecticut State University will host the first New England Cannabis Research and Education Conference (NECREC) on October 21-22. Connecticut’s first academic conference on cannabis studies follows the launch of Eastern’s minor in Cannabis Cultivation and Chemistry, the first such program in the state following the legalization of recreational cannabis in July 2021.

NECREC aims to create a learning space where students, educators and members of the cannabis industry in New England can gather to share information in the emerging field of cannabis studies. The theme of the first conference is “Growing Plants; Helping People.”

NECREC will provide a venue for students and professional academic researchers to display cannabis-related research in poster sessions and oral presentations. Research may cover such topics as cannabis studies in higher education, cultivation techniques, cannabis testing and regulations, cannabis supply chains and social equity in the cannabis business.

Speaking to cannabis studies at Eastern, Biology Professor Bryan Connolly, coordinator of the new cultivation/chemistry minor, said, “Growing legal CBD cannabis at Eastern Connecticut State University is fun, engaging, and challenging while, at the same time, preparing students for jobs after college. This program introduces students to STEM subjects they may not have otherwise sought out.”

As a licensed hemp producer in the state of Connecticut, Eastern’s program focuses on the cultivation of non-psychotropic hemp — cannabis with 0.3 percent or lower THC content.

The interdisciplinary Cannabis Cultivation and Chemistry minor has resulted in students from different fields exploring new research areas related to the cannabis industry. Physical Sciences Professor Syed Islam said his students in the Chemical Analysis of Cannabis course could potentially pursue careers or internships in forensics, biotechnology and pharmaceutical fields.

NECREC registration as well as a call for abstracts is currently open for researchers and the general public. Businesses may become exhibitors or sponsors. The conference is free to all university students.

“Because of the regulations, lack of funding and legal challenges, cannabis research in academic institutions is not as prevalent,” said Biology Professor Vijay Veerappan. “Attending NECREC at Eastern will provide opportunities to learn recent advancements in cannabis research, cultivation and business practices, showcase your research, network with researchers and entrepreneurs, and also meet potential employers.”

Registration fees to attend the conference are $50 for academics and the general public, $200 for businesses in the Exhibitor Hall and free for university students. Businesses may also purchase sponsorships.

Written by Amanda Irwin