Monthly Archives: October 2010

Trim scene trick or treat!

Trim scene trick or treat!

Maybe it was after some “White Widow.”

(Caution, open this post carefully to avoid upsetting contents.)

Ah, so this is what the “trick” part of “trick or treat” means when you don’t give candy to the little goblins at the door. I thought it meant they’d egg your house or cover the trees in your yard with toilet paper. Must be the local Wiccan kids responsible for this one.

This hirsute fella wandered into a local trim scene today, seen here in a cardboard trimming tray. It’s Halloween and all, but the trimmer who first saw him was not amused, On the bright side, it could’ve been a werewolf or walking skeleton. Or a DEA agent.

And on a lighter Halloween note, some trim scene humor seasonal decoration.

The native tarantulas in Northern California are in the genus Aphonopelma—as if you really care about anything other than getting the damn thing out of the house—but I don’t know which species this is. They are rarely seen except in the fall when the males go out wandering in search of females, who usually live hidden in burrows. Last fall, I found two of these on the walls inside my house, which is the only time I’ve ever seen them. I don’t know why they thought they’d find mates here.

According to the California Poison Control System, the bites are painful (their fangs are HUGE), but don’t usually result in systemic poisoning symptoms. So, while not dangerous like a black widow, they’re just…creepy. Like the ones in my house, this one pictured today was captured and released way back in the property.

Of course, there are plenty more where that came from.
And they’re headed.

Bwaaaaaaahhhhhaaaaa haaaaaa haaaaa!

One Good Year on KCRW’s “To The Point” radio show

Yours truly was a featured guest on KCRW’s To The Point talk show on Monday. KCRW is a major NPR affiliate out of Santa Monica that serves much of Southern California, while To The Point is syndicated nationally to other NPR stations.

I come in at about minute-twenty-nine in the program and am on and off for the next ten minutes or so till the program’s end. Listening to what I have to say here gives a good overview of the key issues facing this community at large, as well as the questions the main characters in the documentary are grappling with. So far, two of the four are staunch supporters of Prop 19, one who was wavering decided to vote yes with her mail-in ballot and I haven’t heard if the fourth has decided yet.

Below is the description from the KCRW site.

Proposition 19 on next week’s California ballot would legalize marijuana for people over 21 and allow for commercial production. Local governments, now strapped for revenue, could regulate and tax a new industry and lower their costs for law enforcement and jails. Both sides are making extravagant claims, but nobody really knows what the financial, social or medical impacts might be. The latest polls show it trailing, and the Obama Administration promises a challenge, but Prop 19 could still have a nationwide impact.



By Mikal Jakubal

In many ways, Southern Humboldt is like one of those tribal villages in New Guinea where, isolated by mountain ridges from neighboring settlements for generations, the people developed an entirely separate language and culture. While the Redwood Curtain is more metaphorical than topographical, the underground nature of the economy here and three generations of isolation from the larger culture have moved us well on our way to becoming linguistically incomprehensible to the outside world.

Southern Humboldt blogger Kym Kemp was asked by another writer for a glossary of pot-industry jargon. The list below is borrowed from her Redheaded Blackbelt blog post, with some additions and clarifications. While there are many words universal to the consumption side of the marijuana culture—“stoner,” “joint,” “420” and so on—those listed below are either specific to this area or are used in the production side of the industry.

Ill try and post at least one new word each day as I recall them. I’ll post on Twitter with #marijuanalingo tag, so they’ll show up in the feed on the right and I’ll add them to the glossary below as I have time. Have more words you want to contribute? Post them in the comments or message me @OneGoodYear on Twitter.

Cabbagy—used to describe a bud that is extremely dense, but in a bad way. The innards of such buds are often yellow and mold-prone.
Diesel dope—pejorative  term for marijuana grown off the electric grid under lights powered with electricity from diesel generators; also derogatorily called pollution pot.
Grown. a pot garden, indoor or outdoor (e.g. “diesel grow”). This is a term used by growers, law enforcement and the media.
Grower—marijuana farmer. Big-time grower—someone who grows more than you.
—a small home in the hills, usually off-grid, where marijuana is often but not always grown.
Humboldt honey—hippie chick often dressed unconventionally in cotton or hemp clothing and generally with unshaven legs and armpits.
Indo—Indoor grown marijuana.
Patch—outdoor marijuana garden.
Potstitute—a negative term for a woman who likes to have relationships with wealthy growers.
Quad—a four wheel motorized open vehicle similar to a motorcycle often used for transportation to and from marijuana gardens. Also known as a four-wheeler.
Salad—mix of different strains; usually less desirable
Scene—where marijuana is cultivated or processed (e.g. “trim scene,” “dry scene”); also general personal space, e.g.  “Dude, your scene is a mess.”
Shake—waste leaves of trimmed pot. In some areas, “shake” refers to the loose bits at the bottom of a bag of trimmed weed.
Trim—the short sticky leaves removed or “trimmed” from a marijuana bud.
Trimmer—one who cleans marijuana; also: manicurist, cleaner, picker.

Stay tuned for many, many more!

Upcoming News 10 story on Humboldt and Prop 19 features One Good Year.

Sacramento, California ABC News 10 will be airing a half-hour special entitled “Proposition Pot” this Sunday. There were here last month interviewing various Southern Humboldt locals. They’ve got a short segment on ONE GOOD YEAR, which includes an interview with me. There is a preview story up on their website at the link above, with a short video excerpt from the longer piece.

It was amusing having them try and set up to shoot in my tiny office, but we made room. Then we went and visited a  pot patch where I filmed them filming a (face masked) grower who had agreed to talk to them.

They interviewed other locals, including blogger Kym Kemp and Tea House Collective member Liz Davidson, both of whom represented SoHum intelligently and well. It’s nice to see journalists getting beyond the superficial and sensational stories usually done about our home town. Maybe after so many years of cliche, Humboldt County has reached Peak Hype and we’ll be seeing more sophisticated reporters taking the time to find real stories.

Humboldt County Board of Supervisors Endorses Proposition 19

October 19, 2010
Contact: Charley Custer, HuMMAP 707-223-4014
Ellen Komp, CaNORML Emerald Chapter 707-223-5755

Going further than a “no position” endorsement recommendation by Supervisor Mark Lovelace, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors today voted 4-0 to endorse Proposition 19, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 that will be on the Nov. 2 California ballot.

Syreeta Lux, Chair of HuMMAP (Humboldt Medical Marijuana Advisory Panel) spoke at the meeting, enjoining the board to, at a minimum, support 19 with reservations. Although the proposition isn’t perfect, it’s a step forward and what Humboldt’s economy needs, she said, adding “We are ready and able to help you if you let us.”

Supervisor Bonnie Neely then spoke, charging the Board to support the measure, noting that they had a history of supporting legalization. She hearkened to an August 2007 letter the Board sent to Rep. Mike Thompson asking for legalization and taxation at a federal level.

Breaking the silence afterwards, Southern Humboldt Supervisor Clif Clendendon spoke, stating, “I’m going to just say that I agree. I support Proposition 19.” Neely moved to support the proposition and Supervisor Jill Geist, who hadn’t spoke, seconded it.

“I feel proud of our Board,” Lux said. “We made some real headway today.”

The vote went 4-0 with Supervisor Smith abstaining, as he had in the 4-0 vote on the 2007 letter mentioned by Neeley.

Bags of green buds found on Hwy 101

By Mikal Jakubal

I filmed the local Sheriff Sergeant today telling the story of a deputy stopping on Hwy 101 last night near Garberville to kick two large plastic trash bags off of the road. Turns out they were full of untrimmed pot. We walked over to the evidence room and opened them up for my camera. There were some decent sized buds, but most looked kind of scraggly, with lots of sticks. (I’ll try and post a screen shot later.)

I figured that someone must have been transporting it from a garden to their trim scene. Seems crazy to do that in a way that it would blow out of the truck.

A short while after the interview—by sheer coincidence, at 4:20pm—I got a follow up call from the Sergeant  telling me that the bags actually flew out of a Drug Task Force truck after a raid. He said, “it’s evidence and they want their dope back.”

Only in Garberville do you find bags of fresh weed on the road. Now, if I could just find a bag of money to help finish the film…

Rot-off Moon

By Mikal Jakubal

If the full moon of two weeks ago was the “Ripoff Moon,” as my thieving neighbor put it, this dark moon has to be called “Rot-off Moon,” in dubious honor of the brown stem mold that is sweeping Northcoast pot gardens.

“Stem mold” or “bud mold,” as it’s alternately called, is a species of the fungus Botrytis. It is one of the many predictable pests of marijuana in damp climates and appears each fall at harvest. What makes it so vexing and anxiety-inducing is that it starts invisibly on the stems of the biggest buds, rotting them from the inside out.

Often, the first sign is a yellowed or wilted bud leaflet or two. Pulling the bud open reveals either brown slime or grey fuzz where green, crystal-coated calyxes, pistils and leaflets should be. Trying to cut the rot out is often futile, with each successive cut leading deeper and deeper into the bud structure until nothing is left but a disheartening pile of brown and green clippings destined for the compost pile.

Of the many crop-loss threats a small-scale cannabis farmer faces on the Northcoast, bud mold has become the most serious, far surpassing losses to law enforcement eradication efforts.

For many growers, this is the worst mold year they’ve ever experienced. The combination of a long, wet spring with rains persisting well into June, a relatively cool summer and an unseasonably heavy rain in September has provided an ideal climate for mold growth. The fact that everyone has doubled and tripled crop size this year means that a farmer’s limited time is spread thinner, with less time per plant to monitor and take preventative measures.

Once it starts, Botrytis can race through a crop, destroying most of the large buds in mere days. Since it forms mostly in large, maturing buds, the usual remedy for mold is immediate harvest of the surrounding healthy ones. But, what do you do when half of your crop—which this year is three times a large as you normally handle—shows signs of mold all at once?

This is the dilemma that many growers face at this very moment and there is some major freaking-out going on in Garberville. Stores are selling out of heaters, dehumidifiers and propane. I’ve spoken with many, many growers and only a very few are not having mold problems. It was even a topic of discussion on the popular Thank Jah It’s Friday radio program on KMUD radio this morning.

Throughout the hills, large piles of moldy buds are being tossed on the compost heap as growers race to get plants cut and dried before mold can consume their entire season’s work. I’ve heard of people putting large fans outside in their gardens to keep the air moving, though this is probably about as effective as a bucket brigade trying to make a river run uphill. Many people get up early and shake the dew off of each branch. Others cut large branches at once, hanging the whole thing indoors in a dry-room to be properly processed later. The best solution, for those who have the money, is to hire a large crew to do an accelerated harvest, converting your entire house into a drying shed.

Of my four documentary subjects, one harvested early and another is in the process of a slow, phased harvest. Neither had any significant mold. The other two, however think they might have as much as 30% crop loss. One of the two is also a meticulous breeder and she lost years of breeding work when carefully pollinated flowers rotted off the stem.

The accelerated harvest has pushed my ability to keep up with filming. Where I might have otherwise had weeks to show the harvest process, I’ve now had to run around to grab footage of plants being cut before they were gone. With mold running amok, no one is going to wait for me and my camera. Of course, the mold has also added a significant new level of tension to the story, temporarily backburnering concerns about the coming vote on Proposition 19 and the effects that might have. It’s hard to worry about something that might affect you next year—for better or worse—when your entire crop is melting before your eyes.

Farming of any kind is never predictable and pot-growing is no different. I wonder if a future, legalized cannabis industry will have crop-loss insurance available for bud mold?