Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 66° Partly Cloudy

Strange tales from the world of cannabis

By Rob Mejia EVERCANNABIS Correspondent

Because cannabis has been a taboo subject for so long, we sometimes forget to celebrate the simply weird stories that involve this plant. Here are a few tales to make you smile and say “really?”

How Texas accidentally decriminalized cannabis

Did you know that Texas was the first state to outlaw cannabis? El Paso was the first major U.S. city to ban cannabis back in 1915, two decades before the U.S. banned cannabis. No wonder heads shook when Texas accidentally decriminalized cannabis, and it was all because of hemp!

Texas law was simple in its intent. Cannabis was simply banned – and had been – for over 100 years. But last year, lawmakers decided that they would allow their farmers to begin cultivating hemp. It is useful to remember that hemp is a non-intoxicating plant that makes CBD oil, fiber and roughly 25,000 other consumer products.

When legislation was written to allow hemp production, the law stated that cannabis with a THC content of less than 0.3% could now be grown.

But what do you do when someone is charged with cannabis possession? Well, the product must be tested. And Texas testing labs were being overwhelmed with the task of testing cannabis before defendants went to trial. The labs said they would not test in cases where 7 grams or less were involved. And it was their stance that essentially decriminalized minor cannabis possession. No test, no conviction.

Humboldt County permanently bans industrial hemp

Who could have guessed that one of the best cannabis growing counties in the United States would permanently ban a form of cannabis? As mentioned, hemp must have THC content under 0.3% but it is still part of the cannabis family.

California and especially the Golden Triangle, which includes Humboldt County, is responsible for some of the highest potency, trichome-rich cannabis in the world. But the problem is that the male hemp plant produces pollen and airborne pollen is the way that cannabis is pollinated.

In fact, airborne hemp pollen can travel up to 10 miles and if a female THC rich plant is pollinated, it reduces its potency and quality. To protect the cannabis quality of the region, hemp, which had been temporarily banned in Humboldt County, is now permanently banned.

Dispensaries in surprising places

Today there are 15 states plus the District of Columbia where adult-use cannabis is legal and 35 states that allow for the use of medical cannabis. Wouldn’t you expect the highest number of per capita dispensaries to be in both adult-use and medical-use states, or highly populated states? That is only partially correct. You’ll be surprised to learn that in 2020 states like Oklahoma and Montana are in the top 10. Note that there is a big gap between the top five states and the next five states (including Washington).

Top 10 states with the most dispensaries per capita:

• Oregon: 16.5 per 100,000 people

• Oklahoma: 15.6 per 100,000

• Montana: 15.1 per 100,000

• Colorado:14.1 per 100,000

• Alaska: 12.7 per 100,000

• Washington: 6.2 per 100,000

• New Mexico: 5.2 per 100,000

• Nevada: 2.4 per 100,000

• Michigan: 1.9 per 100,000

• California: 1.6 per 100,000

The city with the most dispensaries per capita is Missoula, Mont., with 36.2 dispensaries per 100,000 citizens.

College cannabis courses are a thing

If you are an old-school cannabis consumer, you might jokingly say that you majored in cannabis in college. But now students really can major, minor, and research cannabis. At last count, over 20 U.S. colleges and universities were offering courses in subjects as diverse as Cannabis Horticulture, Cannabis Journalism, The Science of Cannabis, and Introduction to Medicinal Cannabis.

In fact, Colorado State University-Pueblo now offers a Cannabis Science Major. And Stockton University in New Jersey (where I teach) offers a Minor in Cannabis Studies. The University of California, Los Angeles even has an entire research institute devoted to the study of cannabis.

In addition, there are private “institutes” like Oaksterdam and Clover Leaf University that offer cannabis education and training, too.

Any way you look at it, interest in cannabis education and cannabis jobs is keen, which means we will see more students happily majoring in cannabis studies inside the classroom.

Rob Mejia is president of cannabis education company Our Community Harvest and Adjunct Cannabis Professor at Stockton University. He lives in New Jersey and enjoys tennis, cooking and home repair.
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.