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Reefer U - Colorado Makes Cultivating Marijuana New Academic Discipline

After November's passage of a state referendum that legalizes marijuana, THC University opens its doors in Denver to teach people how to grow pot in their homes.

When I *grow* up...
When I *grow* up...
Daniel Vittar

DENVER – The people of Colorado are now living a different kind of American Dream - legally cultivating and consuming their own marijuana, something made possible almost “magically” after last November’s elections, when the Rocky Mountain state approved a referendum to legalize possession and personal consumption of cannabis.

Passed with 54% support, the new legislation allows recreational use and cultivation of up to six plants inside your home.

Since the law bars purchase of the substance, and establishes that plants cannot be seen outside, the state's smokers must learn to grow plants in the interior of a house -- not always an easy task. This was the motivation for Matt Jones, 24, who decided to open a new professional “school” in Colorado to teach the difficult art of cultivating marijuana: THC University.

“I am a natural entrepreneur. Many of my ideas are rejected for one reason or another, but when I thought of THC University I knew I had the opportunity of being an important player in this new industry,” Jones told Clarin. “The objective now is to teach people how to legally cultivate six marijuana plants inside their home. Soon we will produce a certified program for those who wish to enter the professional industry."

The institute plans to begin its first course in the coming weeks. “Locally, we have had a great response, but we are surprised with the response of out-of-staters, even from other countries. Soon we will offer online courses as well,” says Jones.

The course content is purely practical, but not necessarily simple. “It is not only about taking seeds and planting them. First, you must choose a variety, since there are so many on the market. The classes cover all there is to know about interior cultivation of the plant. We teach everything from planting a seed to its harvest”, he explains. Most of the teaching staff will come from the industry of medicinal marijuana, already a burgeoning business.

Jones knows that the general topic creates resistance in some conservative circles, but he is not worried. “Of course there are opponents to the new law, but the majority supports legalization. There will be reactions, I’m sure. But this always happens when a prohibition is ended,” he says. "It was no different with alcohol."

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Society

In Northern Kenya, Where Climate Change Is Measured In Starving Children

The worst drought in 40 years, which has deepened from the effects of climate change, is hitting the young the hardest around the Horn of Africa. A close-up look at the victims, and attempts to save lives and limit lasting effects on an already fragile region in Kenya.

Photo of five mothers holding their malnourished children

At feeding time, nurses and aides encourage mothers to socialize their children and stimulate them to eat.

Georgina Gustin

KAKUMA — The words "Stabilization Ward" are painted in uneven black letters above the entrance, but everyone in this massive refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, calls it ya maziwa: The place of milk.

Rescue workers and doctors, mothers and fathers, have carried hundreds of starving children through the doors of this one-room hospital wing, which is sometimes so crowded that babies and toddlers have to share beds. A pediatric unit is only a few steps away, but malnourished children don’t go there. They need special care, and even that doesn’t always save them.

In an office of the International Rescue Committee nearby, Vincent Opinya sits behind a desk with figures on dry-erase boards and a map of the camp on the walls around him. “We’ve lost 45 children this year due to malnutrition,” he says, juggling emergencies, phone calls, and texts. “We’re seeing a significant increase in malnutrition cases as a result of the drought — the worst we’ve faced in 40 years.”

From January to June, the ward experienced an 800 percent rise in admissions of children under 5 who needed treatment for malnourishment — a surge that aid groups blame mostly on a climate change-fueled drought that has turned the region into a parched barren.

Opinya, the nutrition manager for the IRC here, has had to rattle off these statistics many times, but the reality of the numbers is starting to crack his professional armor. “It’s a very sad situation,” he says, wearily. And he believes it will only get worse. A third year of drought is likely on the way.

More children may die. But millions will survive malnutrition and hunger only to live through a compromised future, researchers say. The longer-term health effects of this drought — weakened immune systems, developmental problems — will persist for a generation or more, with consequences that will cascade into communities and societies for decades.

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