Sowing Seeds Of The Devils Weed - Confessions Of A Second Generation Pot Farmer
Most people's first introduction to marijuana comes as a rite of passage in their teens. For many, stories of the evils of 'The Devil's Weed' can germinate nightmares of losing their minds and serves to frighten them from ever trying it.
Some dig into the experience head first and it loosens the grip of their long-held beliefs of what reality is, changing them forever.
Much has been said about the benefits and dangers of marijuana and its difficult to separate the facts from the fiction, but for me personally, weed has a completely different meaning in my life then the average person.
My parents were marijuana farmers who fled from New York City when I was just six years old, to the coastal mountains of Humboldt County, California to pursue their dreams of living off the land and getting back to the simple things in life.
They didn't move to the 'Emerald Triangle' to grow weed, that would come later. In fact, they didn't even know that's what locals did there. Their purpose was to get away from the city and closer to a community of people who were in tune with the cycles of nature and helped each other as good neighbors do. A place they could breath clean air and eat food they had grown themselves.
Their escape from the concrete jungles into forests of giant redwoods was like living in an amusement park from my child's perspective. There were always countless things to do and as a result of being a free-range kid with thousands of acres of forests as my backyard, I've never been bored a day of my life.
They were not hippies by any stretch of the imagination, though it sounds like what hippies would do. They were typical, hard-working, middle-class Americans who had enough of the fast pace of city life and earned some respite from it.
As they settled into the rhythm of the place and started making connections with the local inhabitants, it became apparent there was an alternative economy funding and supporting the local population.
Long before cryptocurrency or LET dollars, the community I grew up in had a full-blown, underground economy thriving in the hills of Northern California. Down those long, isolated, dirt roads leaking from the edges of Highway One flowing into valleys of the Lost Coast, there are some things that are as good as gold.
Firewood, lumber and marijuana.
Those three commodities were so fully established in our community, the local mom-and-pop store would except firewood, lumber, or marijuana as payment for groceries. If you had wood or cash you could pay right at the register, but to pay with weed, you went to the back office and plopped your bag on the scale. Very discreet.
There were no indoor growing operations back then as horticultural lights were not invented yet, so growers were all growing outdoors in the hills. Crops are harvested in September through October, so each year about July growers would be short of cash. A good grower could run a tab at the local grocery store for several months and pay up when their crops came in. If you had a crop failure and were in debit to the store, you just cut up some firewood to balance the score.
My parents, having green thumbs, soon began growing and did very well, harvesting about 50-100 pounds per year. At today's prices that would be a windfall, but back then a pound of weed sold for two hundred dollars at best and provided us with a plentiful Christmas or and nice vacation to escape the harsh winter months.
The end of harvest was a special time for our family. Thanksgivings were full and memorable and Christmas was the one time of year we would fire up the generator to power the Christmas lights. The tree was buried in gifts and stockings were stuffed full.
In January we would migrate somewhere warm and like birds, return each spring in March to plant seeds for the next season.
Marijuana was just something we grew, like tomatoes or artichokes, but people liked this plant more than other things we grew so we grew more of it.
As a kid I really didn't take notice of marijuana in any particular way. It was just a plant that adults liked and I had no desire to try it myself. As I got older, I did enjoy it and it has been a friend of mine ever since.
There were house rules concerning pot. No taking pictures of any plants or weed or talking about it around straight people. No leaving signs of it around and no talking about it at school. It seems odd to me now to think that I grew up in household that had rules about pot that didn't include banning it.
My classmates, many who's parents also grew pot, rarely talked about what our parents did on their hikes as we had many other things to chat about. I'm sure they were schooled to keep their mouths shut too, but to us soon-to-be second generation pot farmers it was no big deal. It was just another job people around here did to make ends meet.
Soon, it would become a very big deal and change the entire dynamics of the neighborhood.
Around the time Richard Nixon passed the baton of the War On Drugs to Ronald Reagan, the price of marijuana climbed dramatically from $200 per pound to $1500 per pound to $3000 per pound up to a peak of $5400 per pound in the 1993, as did the paranoia surrounding growing it, and a flood of new players trickled into the hills seeking to strike gold.
Some of these people were very serious and armed and it soon became known to the locals that there are some mountains around here it would be best to avoid, but for most of us, violence never was a part of it. It was just a plant and certainly was not worth dying for.
As the news trumpeted the ongoing War On Drugs, helicopters buzzed overhead for three months yearly, searching for pot fields to bust. CAMP (Campaign Against Marijuana Planting) would comb the hills in search of their rewards, as they were funded in direct proportion to the number of plants they cut down.
Who let these people decide what we could grow on our own land. It's just a plant. God created it and people want it.
We interupt this post for a minute to hear what @god has to say about creating marijuana.
No comment. We'll have to read his book. I guess it really is the Devil's Weed.
A new, seasonal profession began to rear it's ugly head. Pot thieves would come each year looking for fields they could rob, chopping down dreams and taking with it nine months of someone's hard-working, blood, sweat and tears. Needless to say, growing up in Humboldt, there's nothing worst you could be on this Earth then a pot thief. They are the lowest of the low. Pond scum ranks higher on the evolutionary scale.
Time magazine did a cover story of the Emerald Triangle, the name given to the trilogy of counties famous for growing marijuana, Mendocino County, Trinity County and Humboldt County, and the mood changed considerably when the profits escalated in line with the risks.
I was never allowed to go with my father as he hiked the mountains each day to care for his plants, but my first job ever at twelve years old was manicuring the flowers to get them ready for market.
Each fall, a crew of close friends that know how to keep their mouths shut, would rendezvous to our house for 8 weeks, working 12-18 hour days at $20 per hour to get the job done.
We would cook a feast for them each night and provide everything they needed until their work was finished so they would never have to go into town smelling like a weed patch.
At the end of each season, knowing the workers were itching to spend some of that hard-earned money, my father would buy them a ticket to where ever they wanted to go, so they could rain hundreds to their hearts content anywhere, but in our small town.
He knew cops hung out in town undercover that time of year, looking for fools and their money, following them back to their stashes and either busting them or shaking them down.
We would drive them to the airport and watch them board the plane. waving them goodbye, knowing when they returned they would feel more frugal and the cops would be gone.
As I got older and could work longer hours, I wanted to grow my own patch but my father forbid it. Finally, growing weary of my sixteen year old persistence, he relented and helped me scout a place where I stood a chance of succeeding.
My father teaching me how to grow weed in the hills of California was a unique bonding experience I wouldn't trade for all the money in the world.
He taught me how to find water on the North side of a mountain and bring it over two and a half miles, downhill and around to the South side of the mountains where the sun could shine on the plants.
He taught me how to cover my tracks and build up the soil. He taught me how to drop the water lines down steep enough to create the pressure needed to quench a football field. Knowing how to create running water in the middle of nowhere is a pretty good skill to have.
He taught me, but he didn't help me do the work. If I wanted to grow pot, then I would have to do it myself. So I did.
It was the most honest and challenging job I have ever had and immensely educational. Better then any college course I ever enrolled in and unlike college, it, pays you.
I did eventually go to college and got a degree in music business ay UCLA, but payed for it in full with my proceeds and graduated with no college debts.
Note: I would love a job like @ozmaster, getting Steem to get steemed.
It took nine, hard months of labor to grow marijuana in the mountains. Just the hiking involved was like going to the gym everyday for 8-10 hours or more. To find the strength to climb those mountains each day, my mind was a fertile field, pregnant with ideas of where I could travel with the money, giving birth to my dreams and paying with my own sweat. A true labor of love.
As luck would have it, growing weed around this time was very profitable. My first attempt at growing marijuana was the most rewarding experience to date in my younger life on many levels, and when the season was over, I turned my sweat and determination into $250,000 sitting in front of my rich, teenage imagination.
Saying the money was burning a whole in my pocket would be an understatement. I wanted to spend some of it so bad, but not on the things you would expect from a teenager.
My father had taught me well. You can't rain C-notes in a small town and drive fancy cars without making it obvious you're a pot grower, so I dug a hole in the woods and buried most of it, stuffed $20,000 in my back pack and hit the road.
Traveling would become an indelible, lifelong passion. I hitchhiked across the United States solo, seeing America for the first time on my own terms, owning a distinct sense of being a master of my destiny, feeling like a man, capable of creating and providing for myself and those around me.
Flying to Europe, I bought a Eurail pass and rode the rails for a few months. I crushed grapes barefoot to make wine in Italy, dined under the Glockenspiel clock in Munich, fished off the coast of Spain and busked through the streets with a group of young, French girls during a medieval festival below the Chinon castle in France.
Beats the hell out of chopping wood.
People occasionally questioned my source of income which seemed abundant for a teen and I'd tell them, or led them to believe, I was a Trustafarian. It seemed to satisfy their curiousity and besides, I was buying.
Finally returning home, I sowed my seeds for the next season, never fully understanding why people pay so much money for a flower that seemed to be readily available, at least in my neighborhood.
To me weed is just a commodity that's blessed me and my family and many of the people I know simply because the price is artificially inflated by it's illegality and of course, smoking it does produce mildly pleasant, yet noticeable effects.
From my perspective, to imagine that task forces would be mobilized to eradicate it, budgets funded to criminalize it and laws passed to control it is laughable. It's like making potatoes illegal. I like potatoes. You can do so many things with potatoes. Don't believe me, ask @random-potato
There was an old man named Rollo who lived to be 103 years old and was born and raised in the hills in California, living his entire life in that small town. He'd seen it all and was dubbed the unofficial, local mayor by the local.
One afternoon, when I was in my twenties, he and I were sitting on the porch drinking a beer, just the two of us, when he told me this story that put the whole marijuana madness into proper perspective like no other story ever did.
Here's Rollo's story in his own words, as close as I can remember:
(in a thick red-neck logger accent)
Listen up son.
I remember back in Prohibition, when the law would go out into them there hills lookin' fer stills from them bootleggers.
Why they'd go bust them stills up all day long, then come back and sit on this here porch and smoke that wacky tobacky.
Now, they go out in them woods and chop down pot plants, then come back here to this porch and have a drink.
I recon, cops gotta have somethin' to do all day.
These days I live in the marijuana-friendly, legal State of Washington, (Finally, someone has come to their senses) and if you follow me I'll soon show you what legal bud looks like. It looks exactly like illegal bud. No difference at all, but when you smoke it in a legal State, there's a marked reduction in the paranoia one could potentially feel.
Marijuana reminds me of Christmas, Thanksgiving and holidays all wrapped into one and in all my years of being around it, I have never had to break up a pot fight, unless we were fighting for the last cookie. Pot is not a threat to anything but chocolate chips or cake.
Now you can walk into a number of shops in the State of Washington and have hundreds of varieties to choose from. All completely legal and certified by the State and amazingly, no one has lost their mind.
So if you've never had a hit of ganja before, I recommend you come to Washington, try it guilt-free and legally and see if it improves the quality of your life.
I promise, the worst that will happen is you'll get hungry, happy or horny, but you may die laughing. Of course, I'm Luzcypher. so you'd expect me to be biased in favor of 'The Devils' Weed'.
For your enjoyment I'll leave you with ****a taste of this chronic comedian.