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These were the weirdest weed news stories of 2021


Behold the winners of Leafly’s 2021 Doobious Achievement Awards

Oh, 2021. We had such high hopes for you. After surviving the annus horribilis of 2020, we figured 2021 would be full of vaccines, in-person reunions, parties, singing, mask-burning, and a return to the old normal.

Yeah, not so much.

In the cannabis world, we saw an explosion of new hemp-derived cannabis products flood into non-legal states. MJ Biz Con returned to Las Vegas. New Jersey, Connecticut, and Virginia passed legalization laws. Mississippi and South Dakota found ways to scuttle legalization votes.

Through it all, we here at Leafly noted the wacky, the weird, and the downright bizarre moments in cannabis. We like to collect them every year in what we call, in a nod to Esquire magazine, our Doobious Achievement Awards.

Jerk of the Year: US Anti-Doping Agency

In early July, world-class sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson was suspended from the US Olympic Team and denied a chance to compete in the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for THC. The American athlete had been expected to be one of the shining stars of the Summer Games.

Sha’Carri Richardson: She’s the victim, not the jerk. But she’s so spectacularly awesome we decided to run a picture of her instead of the jerks who kept her out of the Tokyo Olympics.

Richardson acknowledged she had been using cannabis to cope with the loss of her mother just days prior to the Olympic track trials in June. That made no difference to USADA officials, who declared that a banned substance is a banned substance.

Richardson’s appeal was denied, and the Games went on without her.

For extending the War on Drugs and doing Sha’Carri Richardson dirty for no good reason, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency takes the Doobious Achievement prize of 2021 Jerk of the Year.

Jerk of the Year (runner-up): Joe Biden

President Joe Biden: 0 for 2021 on drug reform. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

When the Sha’Carri Richardson situation arose, President Biden could have used it to point out the absurdity of America’s marijuana laws. Instead, he said “everybody knows the rules going in.”

“The rules are the rules,” Biden said. “Whether they should remain the rules is a different issue, but the rules are the rules.”

Biden’s comments came a few months after his administration reportedly suspended and/or asked for resignations from young White House staffers who admitted to past legal cannabis use in legal states.

Near the end of 2021, Biden took the time to pardon two Thanksgiving turkeys but couldn’t be bothered to pardon a single one of the non-violent marijuana prisoners trapped in federal penitentiaries.

For doing nothing to repair the harm he’s done as a drug warrior, President Joe Biden is our 2021 Doobious Achievement Awards Jerk of the Year Runner-Up.

Facepalm Product of the Year

image of canna bumps a snortable marijuana product
Industry-wide outrage over this ‘snortable’ cannabis product may have caused its maker to pull it. (Image from THC Living marketing material)

It was hard to find a product more derided and loathed than Canna Bumps, the cannabis powder that was supposed to be…fun?…because it could be snorted like cocaine.

Hard pass.


Neat idea, Canna Bumps: Thanks for keeping marijuana illegal

Your weed may be strong, but is it Nairobi strong?

Greg Kelly, cautionary tale teller.

In March, Newsmax anchor Greg Kelly posted the year’s most bizarre weed micro-memoir. In a fanciful twist on the old “Don’t Do Drugs” line, Kelly claimed to have once taken a marijuana—and after blacking out for four days, woke up in Kenya.

2021 State Champion Florida Man

Florida, man. (Photo via Pasco County Sheriff’s Office)

In February, 22-year-old Matthew Leatham, whose distinguishing feature is a silhouette of Florida tattooed on his forehead, was arrested in the Tampa region after he called 911 late on a Saturday night to request a ride home. The responding officer offered to call Leatham a taxi, but the Florida man declined. Instead, he walked away and called 911 again to Uber himself home via the county’s emergency response system.

The officer then arrested Leatham and gave him a ride to jail. A search of his person turned up a small amount of cannabis. So Leatham was charged with misuse of the 911 system and possession of marijuana.

To which we respond: Not even a Florida Man this dumb should face penalties for holding a little weed.

Honestly, this isn’t a bad idea

World champion and cannabis ambassador? Why not. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)

Lobin Lowe, the agriculture minister of Malawi, wrote to former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, asking him to be an ambassador for the East African nation’s cannabis crop.

Malawi legalized cannabis in 2020.

“Malawi may not go it alone as the industry is complex requiring collaboration. I would therefore like to appoint you, Mr. Mike Tyson, as Malawi’s Cannabis Branch ambassador,” Lowe wrote.

We’re still awaiting a response from The Champ.


Is it even possible to smoke $40,000 of weed in a month?

2021 was a big year for workers’ rights, labor unions, and solidarity boycotts. When workers at Frito-Lay’s Topeka, Kansas, plant went on strike to end forced overtime and 84-hour work weeks, it put union-supporting stoners in a dilemma. What to do when the munchies kicked in?

The company practically holds a monopoly on craveable snacks, after all. Funyuns, Cheetos, Doritos, Smartfood, Lay’s Potato Chips, Rold Gold pretzels, Cracker Jack, Grandma’s Cookies: All made by Frito-Lay.

Cheez-Its, however, are made by Nabisco, which—wait! There was a union strike at the Nabisco factory in 2021, too. Sorry. It all got very confusing at 11pm in the mini-mart.

We waited two years for this?

After a one-year hiatus due to a worldwide viral pandemic, MJ Biz Con, the cannabis industry’s biggest annual trade show, returned to Las Vegas in October.

Thousands embraced the chance to get together face-to-face. Friendships were revived, deals got done. But this year’s show was marred by the overexuberance of a few attendees who decided to re-enact The Hangover.

Writer Rachelle Gordon pointedly captured the problem: “Many people…described various scenes featuring overly intoxicated, aggressive, or rude individuals (both male and female), ranging from bros bragging about their boof to classless attempts at soliciting acquaintances to legitimate bloodshed.”

This viral video of a brawl on the trade show floor seemed to capture the ugly mood:

Worst weed stash of 2021

Reddit’s r/Justrolledintotheshop thread is a nonstop parade of weird stuff mechanics encounter. This year they added a new bonehead move. “Tech tip for stupid people,” wrote the mechanic. “Don’t store your weed above the filter, clogging your intake, and proceed to get it towed in because it stalls…”

The mechanic snapped this shot:

Don’t do this.


8 of the Best Stash Jars for Cannabis Storage

Latest poll: 54% of Republicans favor legalization

South Carolina State Republican Chairman Drew McKissick issued a statement claiming that “Democrats want to raise crime, health problems by legalizing marijuana.”

McKissick asserted that Colorado supposedly experienced a rise in crime, poor health, and suicidal thoughts, which “all became worse when the state decided to legalize marijuana.”

None of McKissick’s claims were true.

His statement came as South Carolina’s Republican Governor, Henry McMaster, made positive comments about the possible legalization of medical marijuana, and polls found more than half of Republicans nationwide favor legalization.

McKissick added: “If you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.”

Indeed. Drew McKissick, your 2021 Doobious Achievement Award is waiting for pickup at the Leafly front desk.

Now this actually is a stupid game

Japan Today reported that a four-person team of YouTubers in Osaka attempted to monetize viral videos of cannabis street sellers getting busted.

The video team arranged to meet dealers on a street corner, tipped off the Osaka police, then filmed the dealers getting busted. This apparently struck the video producers as a hilarious prank.

The cops eventually got wise to the scheme and arrested the asshole YouTubers.

It ain’t illegal to drive a sweet ride.

New Jersey voters embraced adult-use legalization in Nov. 2020, but the state’s cops saw no reason to stop hassling residents over weed. They kept arresting people on small-time charges, right up until Gov. Phil Murphy signed the new law in Feb. 2021.

One of those caught up: NJ Weedman, of course. The longtime legalization advocate, aka Ed Forchion, was pulled over for driving his famous Weedman Pot Trooper SUV (pictured above) late on a Saturday night.

The cop ended up arresting the Weedman for what Forchion said were a couple grams and two vape pens. And the cop confiscated $9,000 in cash.

“This was a street robbery by the Wanaque police department,” Forchion told a reporter with New Jersey 101.5.

“This guy started talking about the gateway theory,” Forchion added. “He started talking about kids and heroin. He did not like me.  And he did not like the Weedmobile.”


‘NJWeedman’ is No Joke. He’s New Jersey’s Cannabis Pioneer.

I do not think that word means what you think it means

Charlie Kirk, pictured speaking at on a Minnesota college campus earlier this year. (AP Photo/Jackson Forderer)

It always astounds us when right-wing ranters assume conservatives don’t enjoy cannabis. (True fact: Many do.) In June, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk went off on a bizarre anti-weed rant during a conference in Dallas.

“We live in a place where you can have, literally, weed delivered to your front door. It’s like, ‘What?’ And somehow, ‘Oh that’s liberty,’” Kirk said.

Kirk then added, “No, that’s actually slavery!”

Later on, Kirk backtracked on his original…er…claim: “Aw, okay…that’s a form [of slavery]; it’s a form of being subservient to something that actually controls you. That’s not you being free.”


Liberty, Jobs, and Freedom: How Cannabis Became a Conservative Issue

This was truly the spirit of 2021

Finally, a hat-tip to writer Jamilah Lemieux, who perfectly captured 2021 in this tweet.

Bruce Barcott's Bio Image

Bruce Barcott

Leafly Senior Editor Bruce Barcott oversees news, investigations, and feature projects. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America.

View Bruce Barcott’s articles


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