Humboldt Grower Culture

“25 To Stay Alive”

“25 To Stay Alive”

Or to be nipped in the bud.

Too much, too late.

One Bad Year

As a friend of mine says, “The season’s not over till the money’s been spent.”

Growing a small personal marijuana stash in your backyard is as easy as growing tomatoes. Pot farming is also the most lucrative agricultural work on the planet. But running a pot farm as a business and having your entire year’s livelihood ride on a successful harvest is fraught with more risks than most imagine.

From seed to sale, here is a list of this-actually-happened-to-someone-I-know ways to lose it all. I’m sure there are more ways to blow it. What did I miss? Share your stories in the comments.

KQED Forum on environmental costs of pot growing

Hi everyone, I’m on the road at the moment, but wanted to give a brief update. I got a few on-air comments on KQED’s Forum discussion a few days ago. The subject was the environmental costs of pot growing, spurred by the L.A. Times piece I critiqued in recent posts. Luckily, all of us, other than the guy from Fish and Game, were what you might call pro-pot environmentalists. That is to say, we understand the community, culture and economics of pot production and know it can be grown in a manner that is organic, fish-friendly, land-friendly and community-friendly. (And as shameless self-promotion, that is part of what my film shows.) We are also long-time environmental activists who are very concerned about the negative impacts that some growers are having.

This is an important distinction to make. Most people who rail against the negative impacts of pot growing are also anti-growing and anti-marijuana, which makes it hard to bridge the divide between enviros and growers. Those of us who can have one foot in each world are in the best position to find solutions.

The KQED podcast can be heard here:

Happy new years!

More Drug War Hysteria For The North Coast–Part 2

[This is an extension of the piece I wrote last night in response to Joe Mozingo’s piece in the L.A. Times titled “Pot farms wreaking havoc on Northern California environment”.

The pot biz in Humboldt was started by hundreds, then thousands, of independent individuals, on mostly self-owned small parcels, with varying degrees of counter-cultural and ecological values, looking to find an alternative relationship with nature and people, who used some of the money from their business to support an array of community institutions. Over time, North Coast marijuana production has grown into an industry made up of tens of thousands of growers, still mostly on their own parcels, in a very heterogenous mix of motivations, values and cultivation styles. While there is no clear newcomer-bad/oldtimer-good divide (despite what some want to portray), the new arrivals seem, from my observation, to be less likely to share the older homesteaders’ values.

More Drug War Hysteria For The North Coast

Pot farms wreaking havoc on Northern California environment

“It wouldn’t matter if they were growing tomatoes, corn and squash,” he said. “It’s trespassing, it’s illegal and it borders on terrorism to the environment.”

We’ve seen this before and it doesn’t help the situation.
The above headline, from an article in the L.A. Times, December 23rd issue, details the environmental problems caused by water diversions, mega-grows, rat poison, land grading and forest clearing done by pot growers.

Or, more to the point, some pot growers in Humboldt County.


“Clip a bale of ganja!” In one-and-a-half minutes.

In the final documentary, you’ll see people carefully harvesting their plants one branch at a time, selecting each branch when the flowers are at their peak potency and cutting in such a way as to make post-harvest processing efficient. Typically, the tops are harvested first then, days or even weeks later, there is a second cut after the smaller flowers have matured fully. After that, the third harvest is usually the tiny “larfy” flower clusters that become tinctures, oils or concentrates.

One Plant Harvest from Downtown Dailies on Vimeo.


Being “Marijuana Positive” isn’t just for stoners.

Edit funding update: as of this posting, we’ve got $2,273 pledged on our Kickstarter funding campaign, from 48 generous backers. While that’s a small start on the $31,000 total we need to raise in a little over two weeks, it is enough to get the ball rolling.

You don’t have to be a smoker to appreciate the ONE GOOD YEAR story. The questions of who can farm marijuana and how it is farmed raise issues of economic justice, democracy, ecology, sustainability, food and drug safety and civil rights. Allowing small farmers to grow openly in the sunshine and have access to medical and legal pot markets as they develop ensures that consumers and patients will be able to choose where their weed comes from and support those farmers who grow in an ecologically and socially sustainable manner. KEEP READING

Ripoff Moon, another good year, the same old fear.

Ripoff Moon, another good year, the same old fear.

(This was written two years ago, but is still just as relevant, so I thought I’d reshare it.)

By Mikal Jakubal

“The ripoff moon. That’s what my grandpa used to call it…the ripoff moon.”

Ripoff moon

“Yes,” I mumbled under my breath to my friend standing next to me, “he should know.” The speaker was, after all, the notorious ripoff son of said grandpa, himself a notorious ripoff. A friend and I were talking with him in front of my place, across the street from the junkyard and jumbled cluster of squalid hovels where the family lives.

More about the thieves——>

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