Vancouver’s Langara College receives five-year grants to research cannabis

The school has formed partnerships with companies in the cannabis sector to leverage even more funding.

Langara Langara College cannabis research education

The community college hopes to become a leader in figuring out the relationship between varietals and the production of compounds. Photo by Langara College.


Cannabis science will move onto the front burner at Langara College in Vancouver. That’s because the school’s Applied Science for the Cannabis Industry research project secured $3.3 million in federal grants.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council awarded $2 million. The Canadian Foundatiion for Innovation stepped up with another $1.3 million over five years.

“This funding is a testament to the growth and expertise in cutting-edge and cross-disciplinary applied research that Langara College has built over the years,” college provost Margaret Heldman said in a news release.

“It presents a wonderful opportunity for our students to get hands-on, career-ready research experience as they complete their credentials, working under the tutelage of our faculty.” 

The funding enables Langara to examine the genetic basis of cannabis varietal designations. Moreover, researchers can study these varietals’ relationship with the production of cannabis compounds, according to Kelly Sveinson, chair of the Langara College Applied Research Centre.

“Connecting Industry, college researchers, students, and other institutions, this program will leverage federal funds to build global competitiveness in the sector and develop skilled people in the field,” Sveinson said.

The Vancouver college has formed partnerships with three cannabis companies: Pure Sunfarms, Ascension Sciences, and NextLeaf Solutions. This will bring in an additional $400,000.

“Their expertise will be an invaluable contribution throughout the research ahead, and we look forward to collaborating,” Sveinson noted.

Langara grads include Harjit Sajjan

Langara is in Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s riding of Vancouver South. Graduates of the school include Sajjan, former B.C. premier Ujjal Dosanjh, former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan, and Globe and Mail columnist Gary Mason,

In addition to its famous graduates, Langara became the first B.C. postsecondary institution to receive an Indigenous name. in 2016. This designation, “snəẃeyəɬ leləḿ”, means “house of teachings” in the Heńqemińeḿ language.

In 2015, another Lower Mainland institution, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, became the first to offer courses for people working in the cannabis sector. That was three years before weed was legalized in Canada.

Charlie Smith

I'm the editor of the Georgia Straight newspaper in Vancouver, as well as a CannCentral contributor.

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