OKLAHOMA CITY — In a yellow-lit room inside an echoing 10,620-square-foot warehouse, grower Som Kiani tends to 385 pungent cannabis plants. Instead of soil, the plants flourish in cubes made of spun volcanic rock, fed with water and nutrients by snake-like plastic tubes.
The plants would have been confiscated this time last year, and Kiani would have been arrested for growing them –– but now caring for them is all in a day’s work. The cannabis dispensary where he works is located a stone’s throw away from Oklahoma County Jail, and its name pokes fun at the irony that the industry was only recently decriminalized in Oklahoma.
“I like the word ‘paradox,’ and I like being one,” said Darin Delaney, founder of BCC Collective, one of the first hydroponic dispensaries in the state.
Plants are grown, processed and sold inside the converted candy and tobacco factory, which opened its doors this January. BCC stands for Blue Collar Criminals, a name Delaney originally gave to a streetwear brand he started.
With menu items like wedding cake and gelato, and a giant mural of Albert Einstein on the outside walls, some people have described the dispensary as having a “recreational vibe,” Delaney said. Customers can choose from a menu of cannabis flowers, concentrates and edibles on two flat-screen TVs behind the glass countertops — almost as if they were ordering food at an upscale burger joint.
Delaney didn’t learn his trade in Oklahoma. Originally from Ponca City, he moved to California to surf.
“I was told in ’97 that I was the only Oklahoma subscriber to Surfer Magazine that they had,” he said.
It was in California Delaney discovered his enthusiasm for cannabis, as he has now been in the business for 20 years. But it wasn’t until