Emerging Tech

Meet the Former NASA Scientist Who's Teaching Coloradans How to Grow Marijuana Legally

Elaine Thompson/AP

Even though Colorado passed Constitutional Amendment 64 legalizing the use of marijuana in November, it's still a crime to sell cannabis in the state. Sure, plenty of charitable Coloradans on Craigslist will accept "donations" for doobie. And others are happy to barter. But what if you don't have a pair of old shoes to trade for weed? How can one score an ounce of super-frosty Golden Goat in Colorado and not run afoul of the law? Former NASA scientist Dale J. Chamberlain has the answer. He'll teach you to grow it yourself, at his (acronym alert) High Altitude School of Hydroponics outside Ft. Collins.

Chamberlain knows more about far-out farming than almost anyone. At the Kennedy Space Center in the early 1990s he studied horticulture for future lunar colonies. "I assisted in building a plant-growth chamber that is still on the space shuttle," he says, explaining that low-gravity hydroponics left him uniquely prepared to handle Colorado's new legal landscape. "The law states that it must be grown in an enclosed lockable space. And although one might argue that could be a garden with a fence around it, there's more pests out there than insects and squirrels." To keep invasive teenage stoners out of your garden, Chamberlain came up with the perfect solution, a device he's dubbedThe Colorado Grow Box. "We took this chamber that was designed for the space shuttle and created a grow box similar to what was flown on NASA's space shuttle fleet."

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