News that’s stranger than fiction.
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” That’s a Hunter S. Thompson quote, and absolutely applies to the latest news related to marijuana and its legalization. Much of it is so weird, in fact, ya just can’t make this shit up.
BIGFOOT HUNTERS FIND WEED
A group of Bigfoot hunters (seriously) were in search of their nonexistent furry friend in a Wildlife Management Area in Texas last month when they came across a giant crop of weeds in the woods. The hidden garden, northeast of Dallas, had almost 6,500 mature plants, worth around $6.5 million, on an acre of land. Turns out the Delta County Sheriff’s department had been scoping the ganja farm to bust the guerrilla growers, but when the Bigfoot team accidentally stumbled onto the scene, they ruined the police operation-in-progress. (Probably the same reason these buffoons haven’t nabbed Yeti yet.) Had the coppers been able to bust the black-market growers—who had set up generators, camouflaging tents, and watering systems—they would have faced felony charges with fines of up to $50,000 and 99 years in the slammer. Who knew Bigfoot has such a big green thumb!
It is possible, of course, that Bigfoot himself (herself?) was the giant sharecropper; after all, if the legend is true, there’s no creature on Earth quite so stealthy. Now that I think of it, someone should come up with Bigfoot Bud (Gigantopithecus OG ?): The stuff’s so powerful, it will make you disappear . . .
GAS AND GRASS
Hell, if Costco and Safeway can pair shopping with gas stations, why not a weed shop? This month a Colorado chain of pot stores, Native Roots, is trying out a new business model, opening a dispensary next to a gas station. The two are side by side with a separate entrance for the dispensary, which must follow all the rules and restrictions for cannabis businesses (21 and over, etc.). “It’s really just kind of pairing the convenience in one specific stop,” noted company spokesperson Tia Mattson.
Gas & Grass hopes eventually to have several locations, with a uniform look and common merchandise—kind of like a Quik Mart, but instead of 5-year-old hot dogs, hunting caps, and fingerless gloves, it will be stocked with prime dank. Of course, given the onset of the munchies, Gas & Grass outlets will be fully stocked with stoned supplies such as Doritos, lighters, Gatorade, BlowPops, and donuts galore. “I believe we’ll have lottery tickets, beverages, cigarettes, and similar things that you would pick up in a convenience store,” Mattson said. One thing that will not be allowed: gassing up while firing up. (Ka-boom!)
DO THE POT-ALLUP
Last month the District of Columbia State Fair hosted the country’s first official Cannabis Competition at a fairgrounds. Showcased alongside blue-ribbon home brews, knitted sweaters, and longest vegetables was priceless pot! The display was sponsored by a group called Let’sGrowDC, which runs a retail garden-supply store and educational center for urban gardens.
The Best Bud contest was taken quite seriously by the panel of judges, who rated the pot on the growing process, aroma, snap of the stem, stickiness (I’m not kidding), and appearance. If you’re wondering why it wasn’t judged on potency, that may have had to do with the setting (family-friendly with kids and all) and the fact that 64 different strains were submitted. The winner? “Capital Chronic OG” from green thumb Kenneth Gore, who took home a blue ribbon (shoulda been green) and a $50 certificate to Mellow Mushroom pizza parlor.
The real reason it was so important for the DC State Fair to encourage cannabis agriculture had less to do with boasting rights for the prizewinners and more to do with logistics. Though marijuana was legalized in D.C. in February (with over 70 percent support), no recreational stores or sales of any kind are allowed; residents are allowed, however, to grow their own or “gift” weed to one another. And because it’s illegal to transport cannabis across state lines, any and all marijuana consumed in D.C. must be grown there. Any tips from green-ribbon ganja farmers, therefore, were greatly appreciated by the greensmen in attendance. Given the number of entrants, a gardening boom for bud has clearly taken place in our nation’s capital. After the fair, Let’sGrowDC gave out more than 30 clippings that attendees could use to grow prizewinning plants of their own. Now that’s what I call a shared economy!
MARIJUANA ARRESTS UP NATIONALLY
Finally, in the craziest news item of all, new stats on marijuana arrests in 2014 were released last week by the FBI. Given the ever-growing support for legalization not only in the four legal states but across the land, you’d expect a huge reduction in pot arrests nationwide, right? Sadly, in 2014, more than 640,000 Americans were arrested for cannabis-related offenses. That breaks down to 1,700 people per day, meaning that someone in the U.S. is arrested for marijuana use or possession every 42 seconds.
Thankfully, here in Washington, arrests have dropped dramatically—which is fab until you look at nationwide numbers and see that, as a percentage of total arrests, the number of marijuana busts is going up, not down; more than one in 20 arrests overall are for the possession of ganja—a stat putting it near the all-time high. It would be one thing if cops had nothing better to do, but as thousands of officers take themselves off the streets each day to detain and book men and women for pot possession, serious crimes are back-burnered. According to the FBI’s own stats, over half the country’s violent crimes in 2014—such as murder, assault, and rape—are not being solved. So, big picture: As far as legalization goes, we’ve got a long, long way to go.