[Vision2020] Best of 2014: Here are 25 incredible true stories from Colorado & beyond

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Fri Jan 30 18:03:41 PST 2015

Courtesy of the Cannabist (Denver, Colorado) at:


Best of 2014: Here are 25 incredible true stories from Colorado & beyond

Marijuana makes for interesting news, no doubt, and some of the stories we read in 2014 stretched the boundaries of belief. 

This was a year of new ideas and changing ideologies. A wave of surprising pot products hit the market as entrepreneurs looked at every angle for cashing in. Outside of the U.S. pot shops, there were many intriguing global developments, from Jamaica loosening its marijuana laws to Uruguay progressing on its groundbreaking national marijuana program. 

There were plenty of bizarre moments too: the week-long raid on a tiny Albanian village where 25 tons of marijuana were seized, daring smuggler escapes, a food truck selling marijuana-infused eats, okra plants mistaken for weed, the creation of a cannabis comic-book convention and a real police report where 1 gram of marijuana was reported stolen. 

Enjoy these 25 fascinating strange-but-true marijuana news stories from 2014:

1. ‘Vape’ is Oxford Dictionaries word of the year: Need another sign that marijuana is inevitably rising up from the underground to the mainstream? Well here you go: “Vape” is Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year 2014 — both as a verb and a noun. “We’ve been tracking the rise of the word ‘vape’ with interest and it definitely peaked this year,” said Casper Grathwohl, president of the Dictionaries Division. Read more about the vape salute.

2. Growing pot in a prison: The city council in Brush rejected a plan to allow a former medium-security prison to be used as a marijuana grow operation. In March, Nicholas Erker purchased the 60,000-foot High Plains Correctional Facility in northeastern Colorado for $150,000. He hoped the operation would help replace jobs lost when the prison closed in 2010. Read more about this ironic plan.

3. THC between the sheets: Some folks won’t be comfortable talking about Foria in public. So what is it exactly? “It’s a sensual enhancement oil designed for female pleasure — a therapeutic aphrodisiac,” said Mathew Gerson, Foria’s Los Angeles-based creator. “Women have described it as relaxing, and they’ve said it’s heightened their sensations. They’ve associated it with warming and tingling, localized in the sexual region.” Read more about the THC-infused sexual stimulant.

4. An epic “I quit” (video): A reporter for an Alaska TV station revealed on the air that she owns a medical marijuana business and was quitting her job to advocate for the drug. After reporting on the Alaska Cannabis Club in a Sunday-night broadcast, KTVA’s Charlo Greene identified herself as the business’s owner and said she would be devoting all her energy to fighting for “freedom and fairness.” She then said “F*ck it, I quit,” and walked off-camera. Read more about the surprise departure.

5. Spliffs in spas: Cucumber water, complimentary slippers, freshly warmed robes and cool, mint-scented eye towels — the spa industry is all about these nuanced details. In Denver, another treatment option has made its way onto the menu: cannabis. The marijuana-infused massage we recently wrote about is an example of how the recreational marijuana industry can find a foothold in the $14-billion-a-year spa industry. Read more about the cannabis spa movement.

6. Jamaica decriminalizing ganja: In late September, Jamaica drafted legislation to decriminalize marijuana on the Caribbean island where the drug has been pervasive but prohibited for a century. Lawmakers were making possession of 2 ounces or less a petty offense and decriminalizing marijuana for religious purposes, allowing adherents of the homegrown Rastafari spiritual movement to ritually smoke marijuana, which they consider a “holy herb,” without fear of arrest. Read more about Jamaica’s pot laws.

7. The deer that chows down on cheeba (video): A pot-hungry deer in southern Oregon is giving new meaning to the term doe-eyed. Sugar Bob is “a medical marijuana farm deer that spends its day nibbling on fallen pot leaves and the occasional bud,” according to Oregon Public Broadcasting, which encountered the animal when its reporters were in southern Oregon. Read more about Sugar Bob.

8. Real-life jazz cigarettes: The cigarette is an American icon, like it or not. And while Big Tobacco and anti-cigarette activists alike can (and will) take advantage of its iconic visage, they’re not the only ones utilizing its familiarity. A Colorado company debuted its all-marijuana cigarettes a few months ago, and now the Rifle, Colo.-based makers of Cranfords Cannabis Cigarettes are hoping their sharply marketed and smartly designed product takes off in Colorado — and soon other markets. Read more about Cranfords’ all-marijuana, high-THC, machine-rolled cigarettes.

9. Spokane’s first weed buyer is fired, then rehired: Mike Boyer of Spokane, Wash., is a living, breathing, human roller coaster. Boyer was riding a soaring crest when he was excitedly the first buyer of legal marijuana in Spokane on July 8. A KREM-TV crew even followed him home to film him as he cracked open his bag of legal weed and smoked up. But Boyer hit a new low when he learned that one of his employers had seen the televised broadcast and wanted him to submit a drug test. Read more about Boyer’s incident.

10. Not-pot brownies: After 37 years in law enforcement, Greg Morrison was ready for something new. So the former police chief of Vail, Silverthorne and Grand Junction turned to selling brownies — faux pot brownies. “It’s a total spoof,” said Morrison, who is not kidding about making a profit from his brownies. Read more about the weed-free baked goods.

11. A Pot Pavilion at the County Fair:Marijuana joined roses and dahlias in blue-ribbon events at the nation’s first county fair to allow pot competitions. The Aug. 1-3 Denver County Fair included a 21-and-over “Pot Pavilion” where winning entries for plants, bongs, edible treats and clothes made from hemp were on display. Actual weed wasn’t allowed at the pavilion, which occupied an entire floor of the National Western Complex. Instead, fairgoers saw photos of the competing pot plants and marijuana-infused foods. Read more about the Pot Pavilion.
• Post-fair lawsuit: Seven people are named as plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against a company accused of giving people samples of marijuana-laced chocolate at the Pot Pavilion, which was supposed to be drug-free. Read more about the lawsuit.

12. A cannabis-friendly comic con: Welcome to the man behind Chromic Con: “This will be a comic con where you’ll be able to nerd out and get high and have fun in a safe, acceptable, friendly environment,” organizer Jaymen Johnson said. “I’ve always liked opportunities to come together and nerd out and dress up as your favorite fantasy character or comic book hero or sci-fi character. At every event I attended there was cannabis use happening in corners or parking lots. But it was covert. This seems like the perfect event for cannabis — it shouldn’t be discriminated against.” Read more about Chromic Con in Colorado.

13. From religion and root beer to recreational weed: A former A&W fast food restaurant in Frisco known better for its sign’s religious messaging than its root beer floats is now a recreational marijuana shop. “I went out on the town last night in Breck,” said Native Roots Apothecary owner Rhett Jordan. “We finished a long day of getting the store set up, and then I took our whole Native crew out for dinner. We told some locals about our new shop and one of them said, ‘Thank God!’ Literally. “Yes, somebody literally said, ‘Thank God.’ I was like, ‘Amen.’” Read more about the A&W transformation.

14. Raid on Albanian village ends with 25.4 tons(!) of weed seized: A five-day raid on a lawless southern Albanian village netted huge amounts of marijuana and heavy weapons. About 800 police besieged the village of Lazarat for days, coming under fire from guns, rocket-propelled grenades and even mortars before being able to move in. Authorities said they had destroyed 25.4 tons of marijuana, 91,000 plants and four drug-processing laboratories in the village, believed to be one of Europe’s biggest marijuana producers.  Read more about the raid.

15. Washington state pot auction’s strange aftermath: A marijuana grower who had trouble giving away $14,000 has finally found someone to accept the donations. Fireweed Farms owner Randy Williams made $600,000 in the first recreational pot auction in Washington and wanted to share some of the proceeds. Read more about the donation denials.

16. Uruguay’s ambitious pot plan: There’s a revolution happening in the streets of this sleepy South American capital — one full of controversial landmines, landmark precedents and intense international heat. While the possession of cannabis has been federally legal here since 1974, the government’s recent effort to regulate the sale of recreational marijuana has thrust the quiet, modest country of 3.3 million into the international limelight. Read more about the groundbreaking Uruguay pot program.

17. An all-marijuana farmers market: On July 4th weekend, a group of southern California-rooted ganjapreneurs celebrated their freedom by opening a marijuana farmers market in Los Angeles. According to organizer Paizley Bradbury, the California Heritage Market — which required a California medical marijuana license for entry — would save customers time, money and headaches, given California’s current medical marijuana infrastructure. Read more about the unusual farmers market.

18. Coffee with your cannabis: It was only a matter of time before somebody brought new meaning to the popular stoner rite of passage “wake and bake.” And it makes perfect sense that such a creation is coming out of coffee-crazy Washington state. Read more about Legal, the coffee drink packaged with 20 milligrams of THC.

19. Weedy frozen pizzas: The president and CEO of a Pittsburgh-based pizza chain has an idea for a cannabis-infused sauce. Unique Pizza and Subs Corp. CEO Jim Vowler said interest in weed-laced pizza and pizza sauce infused with marijuana extract is especially high in Canada, where the company’s largest shareholder lives. The company said it was working with Colorado marijuana-infusion chefs to develop a line of cannabis-infused sauces based on Unique Pizza’s recipes. Read more about this tasty plan.

20. You can now buy weed from a vending machine: A few months ago we wrote about the wow-factor of marijuana vending machines: Their legality, how they work and why some feel these machines represent a future that revolves around convenience, control and automation. But those pot vending machines sit behind the counter, and only the budtenders would have access to them — taking something away from a consumer’s experience of, “Whoa, I just bought marijuana from a machine.” A different kind of machine, one customers can access, debuted in Colorado in April. It’s called ZaZZZ, and maker American Green calls it “an automated, age-verifying, climate-controlled marijuana dispensing machine.” Read more about the ZaZZZ.

21. That time okra was mistaken for marijuana: A Georgia man says drug suppression officers wrongly ID’d his outdoor okra plants as marijuana. Dwayne Perry of Cartersville tells WSB-TV that he was awakened by a helicopter flying low over his house and then some heavily-armed deputies and a K-9 unit showed up at his door. They were from the Governor’s Task Force for drug suppression and they were out looking for marijuana plants. Read more about the bogus bust.

22. This food truck sells only infused edibles: We’ve already discussed the merits of buying marijuana from vending machines and smoking cannabis via professional, machine-rolled cigarettes. But I’m not sure any of that prepared us for a food truck that only sells infused edibles and foods. Ready or not here is your introduction to the Samich Truck, the 40-foot school bus-turned-food truck which debuted on April 19-20 at the U.S. Cannabis Cup in Denver. Read more about the unique food truck.

23. A quick getaway: Costa Rica’s coast guard has recovered 1.5 tons of marijuana that officials say was thrown into the sea by smugglers being chased in the Caribbean after a tip from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The country’s Public Security Ministry says the suspect boat escaped its Costa Rican pursuers. Read more about this Caribbean caper.

24. Help! Police! Somebody stole my 1-gram bag of pot: A female college student at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling had a gram of pot stolen from her dorm room and reported the theft to the Sterling Police Department. Problem is, the 19-year-old Littleton student attending college in the northeastern Colorado town isn’t old enough to legally possess marijuana in Colorado sans a medical license. Read more about this weed theft.

25. Wait, a pot piñata? Matthew Taijeron had me at “marijuana piñata.” “Our Freedumb Fest party is on the Fourth of July,” said Taijeron, co-owner of the Speak Easy Vape Lounge in Colorado Springs, “and we’ll have raffles and lots of free bud, DJs and a marijuana piñata and barbecue — you can’t have July Fourth without barbecue.” Hold up, a marijuana piñata? “Sure, we’ll have between 30-50 pre-rolls in there and some medicated candies and some grams of hash.” Read more about this adult treat.


What can I say, but . . .

"Don't Bogart that Joint, My Friend"
Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
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