In news that could bring a whole new meaning to the term "high AF," Forbes reported Oct. 8 that cannabis is headed into space. Seriously.
Scientists with the bioengineering company Space Tango, which specializes in researching microgravity environments, plans to bring cannabis to NASA's International Space Station some 250 miles above Earth to study how the plant might respond to a zero-gravity environment.
"When we send plants to the International Space Station, we eliminate one core, constant force to which plants are well adapted — gravity," Space Tango Science Advisory Team member Joe Chappell told Forbes. "When plants are 'stressed,' they pull from a genetic reservoir to produce compounds that allow them to adapt and survive."
But if you're picturing Space Tango returning to Earth with some kind of alien Ultra Tango Space Kush with mind-bending capabilities, calm down. Due to marijuana's continued status as a Schedule 1 drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, Space Tango will only be bringing hemp — marijuana's tragically less hip, non-psychoactive cousin — to grow in space.
Nonetheless, Chappell is bullish about the possibilities.
"Understanding how plants react in an environment where the traditional stress of gravity is removed can provide new insights into how adaptations come about and how researchers might take advantage of such changes for the discovery of new characteristics, traits, biomedical applications and efficacy," he told Forbes.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office reported Oct. 9 that — legalization aside — it's had a busy marijuana eradication season.
According to a press release, the sheriff's Drug Enforcement Unit conducted 65 operations this growing season, resulting in the eradication of almost 200,000 plants, the destruction of 12,500 pounds of marijuana bud and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in cash. Additionally, it reported disrupting four butane hash oil labs, seizing 36 guns and making 14 arrests.
Considering that official estimates indicate there are as many as 10,000 large-scale unlicensed cannabis farms operating throughout Humboldt County, this all makes one wonder just how many plants, guns and wads of cash were hiding out in the hills this year.
And if the prospect of space-grown cannabis wasn't enough to tell you the times they are a changing, The Canadian Press reported this week that associations representing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Toronto police officers are pushing to end policies that bar officers from using marijuana in light of national legalization.
Tom Stamatakis, president of the Canadian Police Association, told the Press that officers should be trusted to make the right call when it comes to reporting to work fit for duty and wondered why cannabis should be treated differently than other legal products like alcohol and prescription drugs.
In case you're wondering, most — if not all — California police departments prohibit cannabis use by officers, according to the California Peace Officers Association. State police officers swear an oath to uphold both state and federal constitutions and to obey all laws, state and federal. Some agencies also fear that allowing personal use by officers could impact their ability to receive federal grants, which all require that they guarantee a drug-free workplace.
Not to be outdone by space, Walmart is reportedly looking to get into the weed game.
CNBC reported Oct. 9 that the company's Canadian arm is exploring the possibility of offering a line of cannabis products, spurring the company's shares to jump 2.1 percent in morning stock market trading. But if you're excited about the prospect of getting some dirt-cheap Walmart brand bammer weed to go with that factory-farmed steak, I'm sorry to disappoint: The retail giant is reportedly only looking at a line of CBD products and has no "immediate plans" to begin offering them.
Thadeus Greenson is the Journal's news editor. Reach him at 442-1400, extension 321, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @thadeusgreenson.