EUGENE—The days of bringing home a shapely Douglas fir or Norway spruce to serve as your Christmas tree may be coming to an end, in Oregon at least. Tree growers up and down the state are reporting a growing demand from Oregonians to delivery Christmas-tree-sized cannabis plants instead of the traditional varieties of pine harvested by the thousands each year.
It all started last December (after Oregon voters legalized recreational cannabis) and one intrepid Christmas tree farmer and cannabis grower, Sammy Vargas, combined two of his passions: growing weed and Christmas trees.
“Well, I was standing in my greenhouse smoking a jay,” says Vargas, “looking at a dozen of my own hybridized pot plants — a cross I did with a Gods Gift female and Snocap male — I call it Jingle Bells … anyway, I started thinking, ‘Damn, they’d sure look bitchin’ with lights on them.’ So I ran to the barn and grabbed my Christmas decoration box and headed back to the greenhouse.”
One thing led to another, and before he knew it, he says, “I had one of my weed plants completely decorated … lights, ornaments, tinsel … the whole shebang.” Vargas, growing excited as he retells the story of that fateful afternoon, went on. “Then a nice couple from Springfield, out shopping for their own Christmas tree, happened to wander by the greenhouse and saw my creation. Next thing I know, I’m holding $200 they shoved in my hand, and I’m helping this guy get the first ever cannabis Christmas tree in the back seat of his Prius.”
Vargas currently has this year’s market cornered for living cannabis Christmas trees, but he expects many more growers to jump in next year. “It’s a plant that keeps on giving … you’ll open presents around its peaceful beauty on Christmas morning, then come spring you can plant it in your backyard. And you’ll be saving a tree at the same time!”
-By Rocco D’Eugenio