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Weed Takes Root
These are not your run-of-the-mill potheads jammed into the long, narrow classroom at Oaksterdam University, a tiny campus with no sign to betray its location on busy San Vicente Boulevard south of the Beverly Center in Los Angeles. A serious vibe fills the loftlike space, where rows of desks are arranged like church pews under exposed ducts. No one clowns around or even smiles much. Instead, eyes fix intently on a screen at the front of the darkened room.
Projected there is a photograph of a healthy marijuana plant under an array of lights. Tonight's subject is Cannabis 101: growing the weed in indoor gardens. It's delicate alchemy, as most of these students, who range in age from their early 20s to late 50s, already know. During the 13-week semester, many tend and keep notes on their own clandestine nurseries in bedrooms and garages scattered around Los Angeles.
Encouraged by instructors, and by the prospects of staking out ground-floor positions in the emerging world of "cannabusinesses," they cultivate popular varieties of bud while experimenting with soils, temperatures, and light sources.
From the rear of the room, a baritone voice pipes up — a student remarking on the crystalline texture of the leaves when the plants are raised under light-emitting diodes. "With the LEDs, it just looks way frostier than anything under the high-pressure sodium," he says.
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