McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

National News

February 25, 2013

Legal pot in Colo., Wash. poses growing dilemma

SPOKANE, Wash. — It may be called weed, but marijuana is legendarily hard to grow.

Now that the drug has been made legal in Washington and Colorado, growers face a dilemma. State-sanctioned gardening coaches can help folks cultivate tomatoes or zucchini, but both states have instructed them not to show people the best way to grow marijuana. The situation is similar in more than a dozen additional states that allow people to grow the drug with medical permission.

That’s leaving some would-be marijuana gardeners looking to the private sector for help raising the temperamental plant.

“We can’t go there,” said Brian Clark, a spokesman for Washington State University in Pullman, which runs the state’s extension services for gardening and agriculture. “It violates federal law, and we are a federally funded organization.”

The issue came up because people are starting to ask master gardeners for help in growing cannabis, Clark said. Master gardeners are volunteers who work through state university systems to provide horticultural tips in their communities.

The situation is the same in Colorado, where Colorado State University in Fort Collins recently added a marijuana policy to its extension office, warning that any employee who provides growing assistance acts outside the scope of his or her job and “assumes personal liability for such action.”

The growing predicament is just the latest quandary for these states that last year flouted federal drug law by removing criminal penalties for adults over 21 with small amounts of pot. In Washington, home-growing is banned, but it will be legal to grow pot commercially once state officials establish rules and regulations.

In Colorado, adults are allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants in their own homes, so long as they’re in a locked location out of public view.

At least two Colorado entrepreneurs are taking advantage of that aspect of the law; they’re offering growing classes that have attracted wannabe professional growers, current users looking to save money by growing their own pot and a few baby boomers who haven’t grown pot in decades and don’t feel comfortable going to a marijuana dispensary.

“We’ve been doing this on our own, but I wanted to learn to grow better,” said Ginger Grinder, a medical marijuana patient from Portales, N.M., who drove to Denver for a “Marijuana 101” class she saw advertised online.

Grinder, a stay-at-home mom who suffers from lupus and fibromyalgia, joined about 20 other students earlier this month for a daylong crash course in growing the finicky marijuana plant.

Taught in a rented room at a public university, the course had students practicing on tomato plants because pot is prohibited on campus. The group took notes on fertilizer and fancy hydroponic growing systems, and snipped pieces of tomato plants to practice cloning, a common practice for nascent pot growers to start raising weed from a “mother” marijuana plant.

Ted Smith, a longtime instructor at an indoor gardening shop, led the class, and warned these gardeners that their task won’t be easy. Marijuana is fickle, he said. It’s prone to mildews and molds, picky about temperature and pH level, intolerant to tap water.

A precise schedule is also a must, Smith warned, with set light and dark cycles and watering at the same time each day. Unlike many house plants, Smith warned, marijuana left alone for a long weekend can curl and die.

“Just like the military ... they need to know when they’re getting their water and chow,” Smith said of the plants.

The class was the brainchild of Matt Jones, a 24-year-old Web developer who wanted to get into the marijuana business without raising or selling it himself. As a teenager, Jones once tried to grow pot himself in empty Home Depot paint buckets. He used tap water and overwatered, and the marijuana wilted and died.

“It was a disaster,” he recalled. Jones organized the class and an online “THC University” for home growers, but his own thumb isn’t green. Jones said he’ll be buying his marijuana from professional growers.

The course showed would-be grower Cael Nodd, a 34-year-old stagehand in Denver, that marijuana gardening can be an intimidating prospect.

“It seems like there’s going to be a sizable investment,” he said. “I want something that really tastes good. Doesn’t seem like it will be that easy.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
National News
  • 5 Things to Know Taxe_Brac.jpg Tax Deadline!

    The deadline for filing taxes is midnight Today, Tuesday, April 15, 2014.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don't blame voters for low turnout

    Suppose nobody votes this year. On Nov. 4 the doors to the polling places are thrown open, and there isn't anyone in line. No absentee ballots are filed. No one litigates, charging either fraud or discrimination, because there weren't any voters.
    It won't happen. But if it did, pundits and activists would surely blame public apathy for such a catastrophe. I'd name a different culprit: the major parties, their candidates and their acolytes in the news media.

    April 7, 2014

  • Starbucks to expand evening alcohol sales to thousands of stores

    Starbucks will expand its evening alcohol and light bites menu, which includes bacon-wrapped dates and Malbec wine, to thousands of stores, Chief Operating Officer Troy Alstead said in a phone interview. The rollout, which can help boost sales, will take several years, he said.

    March 25, 2014

  • news_clinton.jpg Americans in poll don't believe Christie or Clinton

    Americans aren't buying the explanations offered by Chris Christie and Hillary Clinton about controversies that could stand between them and the White House if either runs for president in 2016.

    March 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_google.jpg First Apple, now Google hit with kids' app lawsuit

    Last month, 4- and 5-year-old brothers in New York quickly spent $65.95 in real money to buy virtual goods in Marvel's Run Jump Splash game on the family tablet. They were able to rack up the charges without entering a password. And for that, the boys' mother has joined a class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday against Google, accusing the company of deceiving consumers about its in-app purchase system, which critics say makes it too easy for kids to spend money on their Android devices.

    March 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: First month of Colorado pot legalization brought in $2M in tax revenue

    The first month of recreational marijuana sales in Colorado brought in about $2 million in tax revenue, the first indicator of the earning potential of the U.S.’s premier legal pot market.

    March 13, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 10.07.38 AM.png VIDEO: Wild car chase in Denver

    Denver police apprehended a man who led them on a wild chase in three different stolen cars Wednesday after a four-year-old boy was reportedly kidnapped from a gas station.

    March 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • How virus sleuths and public health officials track the cause of a mysterious illness

    When a mysterious disease fells people - as happened in California recently, with as many as 20 children experiencing unexplained paralysis - teams of physicians and epidemiologists quickly mobilize. Perhaps you saw the movie "Contagion"? The idea is to find the culprit before it spreads but also to prevent public panic.

    March 13, 2014

  • ERIC-HOLDER.jpg Holder: Heroin deaths an 'urgent and growing public health crisis'

    Attorney General Eric Holder, calling the rise in deaths from overdoses of heroin and prescription painkillers an "urgent and growing public health crisis," is outlining a series of efforts by the Justice Department to combat the epidemic.

    March 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Most deadly fraternity scraps initiation for new members

    Sigma Alpha Epsilon, one of the largest U.S. fraternities and the deadliest, said Friday it will ban the initiation of recruits, citing the toll that hazing has taken on its newest members.

    March 10, 2014

Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
NDN Video
Baby Sloths Squeak for Their Cuddle Partners in Adorable Video Miley Cyrus Hospitalized After Severe Reaction To Medicine Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Toddler climbs into vending machine 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Much-Anticipated 'Gone Girl' Trailer Finally Debuts! (VIDEO) Dog and Toddler Wear Matching Outfits in Adorable Photo Series VP Biden: "World witnesses ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things" It's Official! Michael Strahan Joins "GMA" Blood Moon Time-lapse Actress Lake Bell Goes Topless The Five Weirdest Local Taxes in America Applicants Vying for 'World's Toughest Job' Get Heartwarming Surprise Awkward: Crist catches Lt. Gov. insulting him on camera NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse US Airways Tweets Graphic Photo of Nude Woman Behind the scenes of the Marathon anniversary photo shoot American Airlines Responds After Girl Tweets Alleged Terror Threat 'Joke' Charlie White's "Dancing" Mistake Olympic Great & Baltimore Native Michael Phelps Ends Retirement; Eyes Rio
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.