Pot Plant's Blinds Won't Close, Creating 'Sunset on Steroids'

Sky turned an eerie pink over Aussie city of Mildura, leading to rumors of solar flare, aliens, apocalypse
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2022 1:15 PM CDT

No, there's not a Kenny Rogers Roasters opening in Mildura, though that was one suggestion this week as to why there's been a strange pink glow hovering over the Australian city. Locals had been worriedly musing over the origin of the colorful but mysterious light, which made its debut over the municipality on Tuesday and Wednesday evening, leading to varied speculation on what was causing the eerie illumination. The Guardian, ABC Australia, and the BBC report that residents ventured guesses ranging from the reasonable—a solar flare, maybe even an asteroid—to the more far-fetched and jokey, including an alien invasion, the End Times, a "portal to the time-space continuum," or a clip from the next season of Stranger Things.

"I was just being a cool, calm mum, telling the kids, 'There's nothing to worry about,'" one local tells the BBC. "But in my head I'm like, what the hell is that?" The mystery has finally been solved: As it turns out, someone left their blinds open. That someone is Cann Group Ltd., a pharmaceuticals company that has a license to cultivate cannabis for medicinal purposes and research (recreational pot still isn't legal in Australia). The company's facility, located somewhere in the vicinity of Mildura, uses red spectrum lights to help boost plant growth—lights that are usually blocked from being seen outside at night by blackout blinds.

For some reason, the blinds didn't work as planned this week, and the light leaked out the building's windows right as night started to fall. Combined with a cloudy dusk, it led to what the BBC calls a "sunset on steroids." In an interview with ABC, Cann Group CEO Peter Crock notes that his team had been testing a just-opened room in the brand-new facility, which just became operational this year. He declined to reveal where exactly it's located. "You sent up the Bat-Signal, though," one of the ABC reporters laughed, to which Crock sheepishly replied, "We did." Cann Group's medicinal pot was just given the green light to be sold earlier this month. (More Australia stories.)

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