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Cognalyzers and the Greening of the Bible Belt 

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Roadside sobriety tests may one day include a brain scan.

The Government of Ontario recently awarded a $1 million grant to Zentrela, a tech company that claims it has created technology that can read a person's brainwaves to see if they're under the influence of cannabis. Known as the Cognalyzer, the contraption looks like some kind of futuristic headband. Once put on, within five minutes it can not only scan the users brain to detect if they've recently consumed THC, but also measure the impact the psychotropic substance is having on their brain, according to the company.

While it's still in development stages and undergoing clinical trials in London, the company is hailing the Cognalyzer as a way for law enforcement and employers to screen for sobriety.

Allowing cops and employers to scan people's brains on demand ... doesn't sound dystopian at all.

The Associated Press recently ran a story about a "green rush into the Bible Belt," detailing how cannabis entreprenuers have flooded Oklahoma, which now boasts the second-most cannabis stores per capita in the United States. (Oregon currently leads the pack, for those keeping score at home.)

According to the AP, a "remarkably open-ended law and a red state's aversion to government regulation" have combined in Oklahoma to create "ideal conditions for the cannabis industry." While only medical use is legal in the state, Oklahoma's law allows anyone with any ailment to use and, according to the story, "people who want to sell pot can do it as easily as opening a taco stand."

Leading off the Associated Press story are Chip and Jessica Baker, who met at a "pro-marijuana rally" in the 1990s and called Humboldt County home before leaving a couple of years ago to start a cannabis dispensary outside of Oklahoma City.

"Oklahoma is really allowing for normal people to get into the cannabis industry, as opposed to other places where you need $20 million up front," Jessica Baker told the AP.

A Canadian wake took an unfortunate turn earlier this month when someone brought a cannabis-laced dish to the potluck and failed to label it accordingly.

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Company, employees gathered at the Mineshaft Restaurant in Greenwood to celebrate the life of a co-worker with a potluck. Some decided to put the pot in potluck and dosed their dish without telling their co-workers, causing some to unwittingly imbibe. The restaurant's owner Darrell Watkins told the CBC he learned of the situation around 10 p.m., while he was tending bar.

"I was told that there was none left or anything that I could inspect. So I just hoped it was a rumor and unfortunately it was not." he said.

Suffering panic attacks, an unknown number of mourners were taken to a local hospital. (If only they'd had a Cognalyzer on site!) The police are investigating and Watkins has reportedly announced he will no longer allow potlucks at the Mineshaft.

Marijuana Business Daily, meanwhile, is reporting that COVID-19 is expected to have reverberating impacts on the cannabis industry.

According to the article, the biggest disruptions are expected in the vaporizer market, which relies heavily on cartridges and batteries manufactured in China. But the virus has also left companies producing everything from flower to edibles scrambling to find packaging, much of which has also been largely sourced from China. One domestic company, Ohio's Grove Bags, told Marijuana Business Daily that it's seen such a spike in demand since the coronavirus outbreak that it has had to turn customers away.

's news editor and prefers he/him pronouns. Reach him at 442-1400, extension 321, or Follow him on Twitter @thadeusgreenson.

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Thadeus Greenson

Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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