(David Zalubowski, Associated Press file)

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.

Prison turned pot shop: An ironic dream for marijuana in rural Colorado
The former medium-security High Plains Correctional Facility in Brush. (Lisa Jager, Brush News-Tribune)

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.

Former reporter Charlo Greene (KTVA)
Former reporter Charlo Greene (KTVA)

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.

Opinion: Why isn’t Rastafari a respected religion? Pot prejudice
A Rastafarian priest leads a chant during a celebration of reggae music icon Bob Marley in the yard of Marley’s former home in Kingston, Jamaica in 2013. (David McFadden, Associated Press file)

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.


Op-ed: Why isn’t Rastafari a respected religion? Because of pot prejudice


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.

Spokane’s first pot buyer was fired, then hired, then offered more job help
Mike Boyer turns to the crowd outside, showing off the 4 grams of marijuana he bought as the first in line to legally purchase marijuana at Spokane Green Leaf, Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Spokane, Wash. (Dan Pelle, The Spokesman-Review)

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.

Check out more true stories from 2014.