Medical marijuana is a growth industry, especially in the tiny town of Williams, Oregon. More than 400 of the town's 2,000 residents are authorized by the state to grow up to six plants each, the Associated Press reports. What's it like in what some are calling America's medical marijuana capital? Keep clicking to have a look...
Richard Reams, at left, started a medical marijuana lab called OregonGreen in Williams. For $120, he will test a gram of medical marijuana and tell you the potency and active ingredients.
Reams draws a prepared sample of medical marijuana before injecting it into a gas chromatograph at OregonGreen Lab on Friday, July 29, 2011. Medical marijuana has been growing in popularity statewide since becoming legal in 1999. The number of residents registered as patients, caregivers and growers this year hit 120,945, nearly four times the number five years ago. Reams decided to tap into the rising popularity of using marijuana to treat medical conditions by starting a lab.
Even local pastors know that medical marijuana growers are everywhere in Williams. Pastor Rob Culton (at left) says so many six-foot-tall fences have gone up around town screening medical marijuana gardens from public view that he uses them as landmarks when giving directions.
Medical marijuana growth is a relatively modern phenomenon, but Williams is an old-fashioned town. In this hub of pot growth, students still ring the bell to start the school day - the local elementary school is pictured at left.
Why has pot become so big in Williams? The reasons seem to be a combination of an ideal climate, remote and rural location and a willingness to live and let live. "It's not hard to do out here in the sunshine," said Laird Funk, chairman of the state medical marijuana advisory committee.