Cannabis Internship in France – The Story of Kjell Sneeuw, a Master Student at Wageningen University and Research

Published on 10/08/2022

It is not the first time we write about Cultivators’ new talents, who started as interns at the company. This article will introduce you to our latest intern, Kjell Sneeuw, a 23 years old Master’s student at Wageningen University and Research (WUR), originally from Amsterdam.

Kjell first got introduced to plant science during high school, as he does not have a family involved with agriculture. He started a Bachelor’s degree in Plant Sciences based on a recommendation from his high school biology teacher and wrote a thesis on far-red light and its effects on the defense against aphids. Afterwards, he started his Master’s degree at WUR in Plant Sciences, specializing in Greenhouse Horticulture. He wrote his graduation thesis on the effects of far-red radiation on the growth and development of cannabis. As a last part of his study, he is doing his internship at Cultivators now where he studies the possibility to increase the rooting success rate of stem cuttings by adjusting the light quality.

As part of the Academic Consultancy Training program (ACT) at WUR, Kjell got to know Cultivators. He worked together with a group of students on a topic related to cannabis for the company. Kjell was impressed and drawn both to Cultivators as well as the crop; “all companies we had to interview for the ACT assignment praised Cultivators, I heard so many compliments and positive experiences, I immediately understood that this company is a great place to be”. It was his first time looking into and studying the industry of cannabis, but also cannabis as a plant. “This assignment helped me to find my professional path,” he said; His interest always was indoor production and LED lighting, but he did not have any crop of preference before getting exposed to the topic of medicinal cannabis. That is why he chose to do his internship and graduation thesis about medicinal cannabis.

Kjell is currently in the middle of his 5-months internship for Cultivators. He wanted to do his internship abroad, and luckily for him, Cultivators had a new project going on in France, with the company Overseed; the first licensed R&D medicinal cannabis greenhouse facility overthere, which turned out to be “the perfect match for learning about cannabis R&D and production” for him.

Because of his research, Kjell has been working closely with cannabis cuttings, doing daily measurements, checks, and assessments. That is why he mentioned that he is becoming experienced with cannabis stem cutting for propagation (root health and development, etc.). Furthermore, for the moment, the team of Overseed is small, which is why Kjell is strongly involved in all activities and stages of production, such as mother plant maintenance, pruning, flower development, irrigation, etc. Therefore, he gained valuable experience and understanding of all stages of medicinal cannabis production.

We asked Kjell about his opinion about the future of the cannabis industry, and he shared that he believes that automated facilities will further increase accuracy and uniformity, which are crucial aspects of the medicinal cannabis industry. Nevertheless, he believes that the biggest challenges facing the cannabis industry are legislation and acceptance by the general public. Also, he mentions that it will be important to strike a perfect balance between high-quality production, automation, and worker and consumer welfare.

Coming months Kjell will be busy finalizing his research at Overseed and gather as much as growing experience. By the end of the internship we will give a follow up on this article with results of his time at our French customer.

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