Tag Archives: Pot

Ashtrays and the Evolution of Smoking Culture in America

Ashtrays and the Evolution of Smoking Culture in America

cultural evolution

I can’t believe how rapidly smoking culture has evolved, just in my lifetime. When I was a kid, my parents both smoked cigarettes… indoors. Damn near every table in the house had an ashtray on it, some had two. They had fancy ashtrays, for special occasions, and they had everyday ashtrays. They even had extra ashtrays in a drawer in case they had company.

ashtray

I remember that you used to be able to buy ashtrays in stores, and they had lots of different kinds. They had cheap disposable ashtrays stamped from foil,

ashtray pinup

nice expensive ashtrays that looked like they belonged on an executive’s desk,

ashtray airplane 1

glass ashtrays,

ashtray glass square

metal ashtrays,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

ashtrays carved from solid rock,

ashtray stone 1

and an amazing assortment of ceramic ashtrays.

ashtray ceramic-asst

These things really existed. I distinctly remember ashtrays,

ashtray eye

avocado-green boomerang-shaped ashtrays,

ashtray avacado boomerang

round mosaic-tiled ashtrays, as big as a dinner plate, that weighed at least ten lbs,

ashtray mosaic

stacks of brightly-colored mod-looking ashtrays manufactured from some sort of polymer resin.

ashtray-stack

I know I remember ashtrays.

ashtray remember

You would see one of these things, and you immediately knew what it was. You wouldn’t dream of using it for anything else. Even if it was brand new, people would look at you like you had lost your mind if you decided to, for instance, eat pudding out of an ashtray.

ashtray eating pudding

The intended purpose of an ashtray was to provide a non-flammable place to rest a lit cigarette, a suitable receptacle for flicked ashes, and a surface onto which a cigarette butt could be safely snuffed out. Ashtrays came in a bewildering array styles because people wanted their ashtrays to match the decor of the rooms those ashtrays would inhabit.

ashtrays

Do you remember ashtrays? I know there are young people out there right now thinking “ash trays?”, like they never saw those two words combined before. They have no idea what I’m talking about. They’ve never seen an ashtray, not even on TV. If you wanted to show a kid an ashtray, where would you go? If you wanted an ashtray for yourself, where would you go to buy one?

ashtray free

The disappearance of ashtrays, coupled with the number of people I’ve seen sitting under the eves of their own homes tells me that very few people smoke cigarettes indoors anymore. If you can’t do it in stores, bars or restaurants, and nowadays people won’t even do it in their own homes, cigarette smoking seems to have become an exclusively outdoor activity.

smoke outside

I’m mostly happy about this. I don’t smoke cigarettes, and I have become much more sensitive to cigarette smoke. I can’t imagine living with someone who insisted on smoking cigarettes indoors today, but I also feel for smokers. It must be a drag to have to excuse yourself from a warm cozy room to go stand outside in the cold, rain, snow, wind, heat, whatever, with nothing but a coffee can full of sand for your butts, like some kind of exile. That’s harsh.

bad habit

At the same time, marijuana smoking has become much more accepted. As a result, you can find boutiques all over this country that cater to marijuana smokers. You’ll find these shops stocked to the gills with a dizzying array of new smoking products ranging from vaporizers and dabbing nails, to hookahs and bongs to bubblers, hand pipes and rolling papers, no ashtrays, oddly enough, but tons of other smoking accessories.

head shop

I don’t know what pot smokers are supposed to do with the ashes that result from smoking marijuana, but the free market has provided them with a million new ways to turn marijuana into ash. After that, pot smokers are pretty much on their own.

bong girl

From the look of all of this new smoking gear, nearly everyone who smokes marijuana, does it indoors. Half of the new vaporizers plug into a wall outlet. Not many of those out in the woods. Nobody takes a glass bong the size of a bassoon to go get high in the park. Giant, conspicuous smoking apparatuses like that, stay at home, in a room.

Two-Girls-with-Tattoos-Smoking-10-Foot-Bong

I’m sure that part of the reason people smoke pot at home is the legal environment. Because of marijuana prohibition, pot smokers have gotten used to smoking in secret, so they do it privately, behind closed doors. Even now that two states have made smoking marijuana a legal recreational activity, both Washington and Colorado still prohibit marijuana use in public. It seems that even as legalization takes hold, considerable social pressure remains to keep marijuana smoking an indoor activity.

smoking marijuana indoors

Today, we see cigarette smokers outside under the eves with their cancer sticks and their can of sand, while marijuana smokers sit comfy and warm in their blacklit bedrooms with their Rube Goldberg meets Dr. Seuss smoking contraptions,

bong2

and maybe an old saucer that they drop their ashes into, or perhaps a potted plant. I use an oyster shell, personally. I don’t know what other people do.

OysterShell

It’s got to be rough for people who smoke both marijuana and cigarettes. They smoke some pot, but then they’ll have to step outside for a cigarette. They’ll have to ask someone to hold their contraption, go stand under the eve, smoke their butt, come back in, enjoy a few tokes, then it’s back out under the eves again. These people need revolving doors, and when was the last time you saw one of those.

Revolving Women

It kind of reminds me of segregation. I know it’s not the same thing by a long shot, but cigarette smokers used to rule the world. They wouldn’t even ask, “Do you mind if I smoke?” before they lit up. The air belonged to them, and if you didn’t like it, too bad. Businesses put ashtrays everywhere, just to remind cigarette smokers that they were welcome to fill the establishment with foul smelling fumes, and free matches, bearing the company logo were always close by.

ashtray_pappas_ashtray

Now cigarette smokers stand out in the cold like dogs who don’t know how to behave indoors, while marijuana smokers sit on the sofa in climate controlled comfort, fondling their preposterous pyrex party pipes, looking around for someplace to dump their freshly cashed bowl. My how the tables have turned, but I’ll bet you won’t find an ashtray on any of them.ashtray on a turntable


Celebrating Holimins

Celebrating Holimins

celebrate holi2

Well the Holiday Season has finally arrived, the time of year that we set aside a few days to spend with our family, just to remind us that there really are a few things worse than work. We all recognize the importance of holidays, and why we need so many of them at this time of year, when the weather turns cold, and the nights are long. We take our holidays when we do, because that’s when we most need a break from our daily grind.

daily-grind-web-version

By the middle of November, most of us are on the verge of going postal. Then, just as we are about to snap, the four-day Thanksgiving Weekend rolls around. After four days of turkey, beer, and televised football induced oblivion, we can drag ourselves back to work with something like a smile on our face, knowing that there’s just four more weeks till Christmas, and then the whole fucking year is over in a week-long orgy of food, gifts and alcohol abuse. That’s why we have holidays.

Orgy Diego Rivera

Without the holidays, we’d never get through the year without killing somebody. Whether it’s our bosses, coworkers, elected officials, the general public, our family or ourselves, we all have our lists, and every year the holidays come along just in time to to save their lives, and help us get through the rest of the year without incurring a lengthy prison sentence. But what about the struggle just to get through each day?

daily Grind

If you’re like me, you know how difficult it can be to get through a whole day, let alone year, without strangling somebody or curling up into a fetal position, sobbing and screaming “Why… Why… Why…” until you are too hoarse to speak. I know that life is hard, and every day is a struggle. Everyone deserves a break from the stresses of the day now and then. That’s why I invented:

(cue dramatic sound effect, Ka-Bam)

KAB_Rnd4refineBlk

The Holimin

(cue angelic choir ahhh- ahhh- ahhh).

angelic choir

The holimin is a kind of micro-holiday. Holimins break up the day with little one-minute-long celebrations that let us set aside the burdens of our daily grind for a moment of merriment. My partner and I, being the cultural creatives we are, have been celebrating holimins for more than five years already, and in that time they have become a cherished tradition for us. We now celebrate many holimins throughout our day, and we have developed customs and rituals around each of them.

traditions-and-customs

Some holimins are more festive, some more spiritual, while some simply remind us of who we are and what time it is. You might celebrate some of these holimins yourself, and not realize it. For instance, lots of people around here, and cannabis enthusiasts all over the country for that matter, celebrate the holimin that falls on 4:20.

4_20

If you’ve ever sparked up a joint or fired up a bong load precisely, and intentionally at twenty minutes after four, you’ve celebrated the 4:20 holimin. I very much enjoy this holimin, even though I smoke pot all day long, I take special pleasure in it when I do it at exactly 4:20. Around here, parties often start at 4:20. Informal groups often gather to partake in cannabis smoking at 4:20, and some employers even schedule breaks at 4:20 to allow their employees to enjoy a smoke at that time.

bong chick

All over the country, people set aside what they are doing at 4:20, pick up a joint or a bong or a pipe, add fire and inhale. This simple act changes their whole perspective on the day, and makes them feel better, and forget about whatever it is they were doing at 4:19. Yes, 4:20 provides an excellent example of the power of holimins, but you don’t have to wait until late afternoon (or very early morning) to celebrate a holimin, nor is it necessary to indulge in psychoactive drugs to enjoy them (although it helps).

drunk-holidays

Any minute of any day can be a holimin if it is significant to you, and you take the time to celebrate it. Of course, it always helps to have someone to celebrate a holimin with, but it’s not completely necessary. Like holidays, holimins tend to lose their meaning, and become depressing, if you try to celebrate them alone, but also like holidays, holimins can bring you closer together and strengthen the bonds between people who celebrate them together. On the other hand, I have discovered that too many holimins, or holimins celebrated at inappropriate times, like during sex for example, can have a negative effect on a relationship, so strive for a good balance in your holimin celebrations.

interrupting sex

It doesn’t cost a lot, or take a lot of time or energy to celebrate a holimin. In fact, you should always keep holimin celebrations to less than one minute, this precludes shopping for gifts, costumes, decorations, or even food preparation, which tends to bog down holidays and make them expensive. Holimins, by contrast, require only a simple gesture, a chant, a short song, a little dance or an embrace, just a little something you can do in less than 60 seconds, without prior preparation, to acknowledge the special moment.

life is a special occasion

For us, holimins began with a minute that acquired significance with the advent of digital timepieces. Perhaps you celebrate this one too, 11:11. AM or PM, 11:11 is the only time of day when clocks show us four ones in a row. In the world of digital time, 11:11 has an elegance only matched by 12:00 or 6:30 on clocks with dials and hands. There is a certain Zen about looking at a digital clock at 11:11, a time when all things are equal, and all is one.

Art Nude Model Covered With Vines

Now, excuse me while I go celebrate 4:20.

smoking three joints

Ok, now what was I talking about, oh yeah, 11:11

11.11

To celebrate 11:11, we have developed this little tradition: Whichever one of us looks at the clock at 11:11, will pick up the clock and show it to the other one of us. We then turn and look at each other with the expression usually only seen on small children as they gaze at a decorated tree piled high with presents on Christmas morning. We hold our hands up, fists clenched, save for the index finger on each hand, which we hold straight, and pointed skyward. Using our raised forefingers, we then recreate the digital display in flesh and bone, with real digits, while we chant, in unison, “Eleven! Eleven!” as though we were shouting “Happy New Year!”, and then we kiss.

new-years kiss

We found the whole celebration tremendously fun, and it only took a few seconds. It made us smile. It made us laugh, and more than once it evolved into late morning, or late night nookie, but it didn’t happen every day. That is, most of the time 11:11 would just slip by unnoticed, and we wouldn’t celebrate it. So, we decided we needed some more holimins.

WE-NEED-MORE

10:10 seemed like a natural, it’s got a kind of balance about it. It’s binary, which seemed cool. So, building on the success of 11:11, we developed a holimin tradition for 10:10 similar to our 11:11celebration, but instead of holding up only one finger on each hand, we hold up all ten fingers. Then, we give each other two-handed high-fives, chant “Ten! Ten!”, and kiss.

TenTen_by_gaara_kun5656

10:10 became a hit as well. Before long we started celebrating 12:12, 1:11, 2:22, 3:33, 4:44 and 5:55, and developed holimin traditions for each of them. As we added more holimins, we started looking for different things we could do to celebrate them. 3:33, took on special meaning for us, because it is half of 666, the number of “The Beast”. We call 3:33 the Half-Beast Holimin, and it became the first holimin with a special holimin song, at it goes like this:

christmas_caroling

(sung to the tune of Wild Thing)

Half-Beast

You left my raft beached

You make Menonite movies

You’re my Half-Beast

half beast

Be sure to go “ner, ner, ner”, or if you are cat lovers like us, go “meow, meow, meow” to cover the guitar chords between words, and do it all with enthusism, and maybe even air-guitar hand gestures. Our Half-Beast celebration quickly became a favorite, and we even celebrated it in public a few times; once, I recall, very quietly, in the library, and another time at The Meadows Cafe in Redway, but we still wanted more.

wanting-more

We added 12:34, then 1:23, 2:34, 3:45 and 4:56, as well as 6:54, 5:43, 4:32, and 3:21, which, of course, involved chanting: “Three!… Two!… One!… Blastoff!”. We developed holimin traditions for all of them. I won’t bore you with the details, but they’re all silly, and fun, just like regular holidays. To top it off, we added 10:01 and 12:21, and dubbed them the palindrome holimins. Looking at the clock became more fun than playing a slot machine. Any time of day, there was a pretty good chance that the clock would “pay-off”, with a holimin.

jackpot 1

The palindrome holimins proved to be the “straw that broke the camels back”. Over time, all of those holimins became burdensome, and stressful on our relationship. Besides that, it became hard to get anything done unless we hid the clock. Eventually, for the sake of our relationship we said “Never again” to holimins, and ceased celebrating them all together, but it wasn’t long before we started missing them.

missing someone

Today, we still have our holimin traditions for all 20 holimins, buy we’ve learned to only celebrate them if they feel appropriate to us at the moment, and we seem to have arrived at a happy balance of holimins in our lives. I hope you will try out holimins for yourself. Experiment with them, see what works for you, and develop your own rich holimin traditions. Happy Holimins!

celebrating holimins


Snip Snip Snip

Snip Snip Snip

snip-snip

Well it’s harvest time in Humboldt County again, and if you listen closely, you can hear the frantic snip snip snip of Fiscars clipping away in almost every house in the county. As is usual in October, we are enjoying some of the most beautiful weather of the year, and probably the last of the nice weather before the rains come with a vengeance. Alas, all many Humboldt County residents will see for the next several weeks is a pair of scissors and a seemingly endless stream of buds and nuggets for them to trim, style and coif.

buds scissors

As far as I can tell, this practice of carefully grooming every single bud was born here in Humboldt County, and it has to be one of the silliest developments in the whole ridiculous history of marijuana prohibition. In the Old World, they process raw cannabis, which grows wild, into hashish. Making cannabis into hash, even hand-rubbed hash, is a much more mechanical process that the careful, concentrated scissor work that has become the norm here in Humboldt County, and completely mechanical hash-making technology has been around for centuries.

hand rubbed hash

Here in the New World, marijuana herb has always been more popular than hash, but in Central and South America, where most of North America’s marijuana came from, historically, marijuana farmers use a much less labor intensive method to bring their product to market. These days people poo-poo the quality of that old brown Colombian weed, but personally I think it was better for all of us than the pricey, pampered, pedigreed weed that Humboldt County is famous for.

brown pot

Back in the ’60s and ’70s, we all smoked cheap, seedy brown pot from South America and thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Some of it was better than others, but it all got us high, and we all had plenty of it. We shared it with our friends. We passed lit joints to complete strangers, and smoking marijuana spawned a a huge social movement.

smoking-marijuana-cigarettes

We give LSD a lot of credit for the youth revolution of the ’60s, but marijuana, specifically, cheap imported marijuana from Colombia, Panama, and Mexico had a much bigger influence on our culture than LSD ever did, because it was something we shared, and because it was cheap enough that most of us could afford it. Not that LSD wasn’t a bargain too, and not that we didn’t share that as well, but the LSD experience was overwhelming, solitary and completely personal. Marijuana, on the other hand, as a raw herb, required a bit of preparation, smoking became a social activity, and we got high on marijuana together.snoop n santa

Back in those days we used double-wide rolling papers because most of us had never rolled a cigarette before, and it took a while for us to get the hang of it.

reefer rollers

We learned to use a card and an album cover to separate the herb from the seeds, and we picked the stems out manually. South American growers left the work of processing marijuana to the consumer, and I don’t remember anyone complaining about it.

stems and seeds

Cheap marijuana from South America got us to stand in a circle and talk. LSD never did that. There’s something particularly intimate about sharing a joint with half-a-dozen people, and before long, we started blowing each other “shotgun tokes”, which is almost like french kissing, but with smoke instead of tongue.

shotgun toke

In this way, abundant cheap marijuana fostered social cohesion, cultural identity and real communication, all of the precursors necessary to build a social movement. LSD never did that either.

Blotter_LSD_Dumbo

The South American method of marketing marijuana kept the price low, and put the work of processing the herb in the hands of the consumer. We weren’t just taking drugs, we learned new skills, broke down cultural barriers and built a movement that had as much to do with music, art and politics as it did with ingesting drugs.

salvador-dali-weed-isnpired-art

Marijuana was empowering that way, while LSD was simply overpowering.

ingesting blotter acid LSD

Today, marijuana is different. It’s just another consumer commodity. California growers produce sinsemilla from clones, completely eliminating seeds from the equation, and a small army of trimmers supply all of the alienated labor to prepare the herb for smoking.

alienated labor

All that’s left for the consumer to do is take the bud out of the bag, stuff it in a pipe, hold a flame to it and suck. We were all born knowing how to suck.

born_to_suck

We’re not learning anything here, except that if you want marijuana, you better have a lot of money. That really sucks!

money for weed

High prices and alienated labor have ruined marijuana. High marijuana prices make alcohol look more attractive. Anyone can afford to get drunk, so alcohol becomes the poor man’s best friend. That’s not a good thing. I mean, that’s really not a good thing, and we all pay an enormous price for it.

poor-alcoholic-in-depression

Marijuana used to be as cheap as beer, cheap beer. Poor people could afford it, but rich people liked it too, and only poor people knew where to get it. Cheap, plentiful South American marijuana literally saved lives and brought us together as a society, and cheap, plentiful marijuana still has the power to turn our culture around and save the world.

Marijuana-Saves-Lives

I believe that we are in the midst of an epic cultural battle between alcohol consciousness, and cannabis consciousness, and that the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Both capitalism and prohibition emerged out of alcohol consciousness. Overpopulation, environmental destruction and a hierarchical society are the hallmarks of alcohol consciousness. Most people, I fear, do not realize that all of civilization was triggered by the invention of beer, because, alas, most people don’t read my blog, but those of you who do, know this already. Yes, every aspect of our sick culture, including capitalism, prohibition, and the police state, has been shaped by 10,000 years of alcoholism.

drunken history

Marijuana culture, on the other hand, is much more ancient, and is not marked by overpopulation and environmental destruction, but by love, understanding and respect for all living things. It sounds corny as hell, but it’s true.

i smoke weed

Marijuana can save the world, but that will never happen as long as marijuana remains enslaved by capitalism, greed and prohibition.

negative effects of marijuana

Marijuana doesn’t need to be dolled up like a whore, without a leaf of dignity, and packed into a see-thru ziplock bag, for people to want it. In fact, everyone wants marijuana, whether they know it or not, and marijuana wants to grow wild and free. It likes to move in to disturbed patches of soil, and once established, it comes back year after year. Only the police state keeps it from taking over, and who needs that?

marijuana wild and free

There’s nothing wrong with seedy, shaggy pot. I don’t mind picking the seeds out of my smoke. It may seem like a chore, but seeds offer the promise of more marijuana to come.

shaggy

Buds full of seeds means more marijuana everywhere, and plenty of good seedy, shaggy green buds for everyone, free for the taking, like blackberries. That’s what marijuana should be. Free medicine, free herb, free stems, free seeds, free roots if you want ‘em, all together, and altogether free. That’s the fair market price for marijuana, and that’s the fair market price for love.

pot love shirt

Think about that as you snip, snip, snip away at those seedless sinsemilla buds you put so much time, energy and money into. Pimpin’ your ladies ain’t makin’ the world a better place. Quit dressing your pot like a whore and set it free.

sticky buds

Start yourself a patch, and let it take care of itself. Give it some water now and then, and you’ll enjoy plenty of good sweet smoke year after year, and have plenty to share with your friends. Keep an old album cover around, and get a shoebox for the seeds. Now put down those scissors and let’s party!

lets party


Murder v Money

 

Murder v Money

murder and money

In response to last week’s post about marijuana prohibition, I received a notable comment from Joel Meilke. I found the comment notable not because it was especially well thought out, or because it brought up a fresh perspective, quite the contrary. Joel’s comment was notable because it articulated the most common knee jerk reaction to any discussion about ending marijuana prohibition around here. Joel described Humboldt County’s tradition of almost weekly, prohibition related homicides and disappearances as “a conundrum”, weighing them against the amount of money the black market marijuana industry brings into Humboldt County.

mielke

I like Joel, I mean, I’ve never met him, but I enjoy his cartoons in the North Coast Journal, and he did post the very first comment in this blog, back in May of 2011, so I appreciate him as a reader, but money ain’t everything folks, and counting the dollars is no way to measure the effects of prohibition on Humboldt County. Joel lamented that the local economy might contract by as much as one-third without the massive government subsidies that pay for the arrest, conviction and incarceration of millions of innocent, mostly poor, mostly minority, and mostly young Americans across the country.

kids in prison

They say “Money talks”, and I’ve lived behind “The Redwood Curtain” long enough to know that most people here really don’t give a rat’s ass about what goes on in the rest of the country, and couldn’t care less about the people who pay for Humboldt County’s marijuana crop, so long as someone shows up with the cash to buy it from them. That’s why I wrote about the ways marijuana prohibition negatively affects us, the predominantly white, middle-class residents of Humboldt County, despite the influx of illicit funds it brings.

humboldt county line

Even so, last week’s post barely scratched the surface of the negative side-effects of prohibition on our local community. It would take many volumes to analyze to real cost of prohibition here in Humboldt County, but we all suffer the consequences of marijuana prohibition, and often in ways you might not consider.

consider this

For instance: Haven’t you noticed the proliferation of overpriced mediocre restaurants around here? Aren’t you tired of paying through the nose for disappointing meals out? If so, you can thank marijuana prohibition. How’s that?”, you ask.

disappointing restaurant

Simple. Drug dealers are the quintessential nouveau riche. They don’t mind being overcharged, so long as they get to flash the cash. Drug dealers spend money much more indiscriminately than working people. They also tend to value convenience more than quality, appearance more than substance and generally lack good taste. The restaurants in Humboldt County reflect that.

nouveau riche

Were it not for prohibition, we might have fewer restaurants, but we would certainly have better restaurants, and we would have cheaper restaurants. Besides that, the restaurants would have much less trouble finding decent help, and the people who work at the restaurants would have an easier time finding a place to live that they could afford, because half of the available housing would not be full of grow lights and pot plants. That’s how marijuana prohibition makes restaurants in Humboldt County suck.

bad-restaurant-experience

Fewer murders, better restaurants, cheaper eats and more affordable housing are just a few of the ways that ending marijuana prohibition would improve the quality of life for the residents of Humboldt County. Sure, less money will come into the county, but most of that money ends up in the hands of a few rich, greedy bastards who mostly use it to fuck the rest of us over. Besides, without the financial incentive that marijuana prohibition provides, a lot of those bottom-feeders would move out of the county to search for some other dark, murky slime-pit in which to lurk.

Bottom Feeder Food

So don’t worry about the economy. The economy will not suffer. The economy never suffers. Grieving mothers suffer. Crime victims suffer. Children who see their parents hauled away in handcuffs at gunpoint suffer, but the economy does not suffer. People who pay too much for mediocre food suffer. People who work for a living but can’t find an affordable place to live suffer, and people who pay too much for pot suffer, but the economy doesn’t suffer. Salmon suffer, the environment suffers, and the community suffers, but the economy does not suffer. The economy never suffers because the economy is not alive. The economy doesn’t feel a thing. No matter how much we suffer for the economy, the economy will never return the favor.

Bees and the economy cartoon 1

Remember, Reagan broke the unions to help the economy. Bush relaxed environmental standards to help the economy. Clinton signed NAFTA to help the economy. Bush II cut taxes on the rich to help the economy, and then we all bailed out the bankers to save the economy. How stupid can we be that we haven’t figured out that when they tell us something is helping the economy, that means it’s hurting most of us?

illegalization

So fuck the economy! If you want forests and salmon and a place to live, and you think there should be plenty of marijuana for everyone, then work to end marijuana prohibition. If you want overpriced mediocre restaurants full of nouveau riche drug dealers, murderers, and greedy slimeball bottom-feeders, because it’s “good for the economy”, I suppose there should be a place for you. Call it Hell, and go there.

acdc-acdc-funny-highway-to-hell-led-zeppelin-Favim.com-352202_large


Growing Marijuana is A Labor of Love in Humboldt County

Growing Marijuana is A Labor of Love in Humboldt County

labor of love

Well Spring is almost here, which means that all over Humboldt County, marijuana farmers are incredibly busy preparing to grow even more marijuana than they did last year. Even as you read this piece, most of them are hard at work building new greenhouses, clearing more forest land, putting in new water tanks and digging gigantic holes all over the countryside.digging_hole

This process involves hundreds of thousands of man-hours of backbreaking labor and requires millions of dollars in capital investment.

 money-tree-

This capital comes almost entirely from the sale of last year’s record setting marijuana harvest. Since most of last year’s marijuana harvest has not sold yet, this investment cuts deeply into the grower’s disposable income. Few feel the pinch however, as they will have little time or energy to do anything else for a few months, but prepare for this year’s grow.

 tired kid

Why do they do it? So they don’t have to get a job, of course. Who wants to work for a living when you can grow marijuana, right? You’d think, but you’d be wrong. In Humboldt County, growing marijuana is a labor of love, crazy love.

 crazy love

Soon thousands of tractor trailers full of potting soil will clog our roads as they make their way into the hills to fill the millions of holes these growers have so diligently dug.

truck clogging dirt road

Every year, Humboldt County’s garden supply stores comb the nation for another sparsely populated and poorly guarded county that they can steal. They then dig up the entire county in the dead of night, pack it into bags labeled “Potting Soil” and smuggle it back to Humboldt County where they quickly sell it off on a strictly cash basis to Humboldt County marijuana farmers.

 sacks of soil

Somewhere in Wyoming, or perhaps North Dakota, one morning soon, the citizens of this unfortunate county will step off their front porch on their way to work, only to fall several feet, smack into the bedrock below. They will look up to see their home delicately balanced on jacks and cinder blocks, and realize that their entire lawn, and the soil which once supported the foundation of their homes, has been stolen overnight while they slept.

 truckload of soil

For them, it will already be too late. Their county has already been sold, distributed, and secreted away behind locked gates, where it will remain, protected by a constitutionally guaranteed right of privacy. Besides, few of them could positively identify the soil from under their own homes, especially now that it has been thoroughly sifted and blended with a myriad of exotic amendments.

 organic soil amendments

If you visit any of Humboldt County’s garden supply stores, you will find an amazing array of colorfully packaged, and even more colorfully named, fertilizers and soil amendments ranging from liquified fish guts from Alaska’s salmon canneries to ancient fossilized bat guano from caves deep within the jungles of Peru. Most Humboldt County garden shops also offer their own brands of fertilizers that they make on site, mostly from composted US currency.

 composted currency

Many of these fertilizers and soil amendments feature cheeky pin-up girls on the labels. This feature, along with the fact that these products sell for more per pound than fresh organic strawberries in January, indicate that these products are intended for use on marijuana plants. Only female marijuana plants produce marijuana, and marijuana growers often refer to their plants as “their ladies”.

 Wet-Betty-Organic-500x500

You’ll often hear marijuana farmers say things like: “My ladies are lookin’ fine.” or “I take care of my ladies, and my ladies take care of me.” or “I need to to get home and hoe my ladies.” This makes them sound more like pimps than farmers, and greatly contributes to the general classiness of Humboldt County.

 pimp1

Can you imagine other kinds of farmers talking this way about their crops? Picture a dairy farmer saying “My ladies give me the sweetest cream.” or a broccoli farmer saying “This heat is gonna make my ladies bolt.” or a cabbage farmer saying “My ladies are full of horn-worms.” Creepy, huh?

 pimp tractor

All of this talk about their “ladies” belies the fact that most marijuana farmers are single and live alone. Growing marijuana in a remote, sparsely populated rural area like Humboldt County is a very lonely and isolating profession that tends to attract social misfits and people with self-alienating personalities.

 social misfit warning

The more lonely and isolated the marijuana farmer becomes, the more they tend to talk to, get naked around, and masturbate in front of, their “ladies”, often while looking at the pictures on boxes of fertilizer. This kind of “intimacy” with “their ladies”, coupled with an otherwise isolated existence builds a special kind of relationship between the cultivator and the cultivated that most other farmers, or sane people would not understand.

mykol blackwell green checco

Original Artwork by Mykol Blackwell

Soon, the marijuana farmer no longer grows marijuana to make money, and instead, makes money to grow marijuana. For these people, nothing is too good for “their ladies”, and they cannot have enough of them. They work harder, and spend more money to pamper “their ladies” than any sane farmer. This is the real reason why Humboldt County marijuana growers produce the best marijuana in the world, and more of it than any place else on Earth.

 local_pot_GALLERY

Over the years, because of their extreme devotion and isolation, many Humboldt County marijuana growers have gone totally bat-shit crazy, and fallen in love with “their ladies” in this way. This is why they work so hard, and spend so much money on, “their ladies”.  Every year, more of them go “over the edge”, and every year this “crazy love” impacts our forest habitat more intensely.

 large humboldt grow

large grows destroy forest

Personally, I enjoy smoking marijuana, and strongly believe it should be legalized, so that sane farmers, with tractors, and flat land to till, can grow it economically.

farmer on tractor

I also know that marijuana provides relief for millions of sick people who should have unfettered access to it, at the lowest price possible, but I also care about this community.

i care

That’s why I feel that something must be done to stop Humboldt County’s marijuana farmers before it’s too late. It has become clear to me, that nothing short of intervention, can save these poor souls, and our natural environment from this serious mental disorder.

gone crazy


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in Humboldt

Twas the Night Before Christmas in Humboldt

 SANTA1

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through Humboldt County

Not a creature was stirring, not even Sheriff Mike Downey

mike downey

The herb was all trimmed up and packed into bags

For smokers of taste, who will not smoke swag

Bags-of-Nugs

Me in bed naked, my wife in her panties

It’s that time of month, so it’s the ones that are ratty

miss-santa-girrl-3

When out at the gate there arose such a racket

I got out of bed and put on my jacket

raincoat

Threw on some pants and picked up my rifle

So they’d know I was serious and not to trifle

man-with-rifle

I stepped out of the door and into the rain

“To be out in this shit, this guy must be insane”

forest rain

I thought to myself as I trudged up the path,

“This better be good or he’ll feel my wrath”

angry-wet-cat-02

What did my dumb struck eyes then behold

But a bearded old man in a late model Olds

oldsmobile

I yelled “It’s Christmas Eve, are you out of your mind?”

He said “I’m Jewish, you’re Pagan, why’s this a bad time?

pagan jew

My friends all need weed, and I’ve plenty of cash,

At $3,000 a pound, I’ll take your whole stash”

cash-550x412

I thought to myself, “Well that’s quite a laugh,

These days I’d a probably sold it for half.”

half-price-tag

He showed me a bag that was packed full of bills

I opened the gate and we drove down the hill

open the gate

I made up some coffee, and rolled up a jay

And showed him a few of the buds on the tray

tray_of_buds

“Oh, this is the stuff that my friends all love.

They say that your stuff is a cut above.

cut above

They’ll pay what I ask for all I can get.

Did you have a good year? Is it all trimmed up yet?”

trimming pot

“This year I grew more than ever before,

It’s weighed up in bags just behind that door.

bags-of-marijuana-found-in-taxi-cab

You can inspect it while I count this cash,

Hand me that ashtray, and I’ll knock this ash.”

joint

We packed all the weed in the trunk of his car.

I said, “You found me out here, you must know where you are”.

not lost

“Oh yes, he said, “I’ll find my way out from here,

And I’ve many more stops to make, far and near.”

Grover_near_far

He started the car, and then turned on the lights,

And I heard him say, as he drove out of sight,

car-headlights

“Marijuana to all, and to all a good night.”

santa


In the Zone… On the Humboldt Co. General Plan Update

In The Zone

(on the Humboldt Co. GPU)

 

Can you think of anything more boring than the Humboldt Co. General Plan Update. Tonight, on KMUD’s newest and dullest talk show, The Hum CPR Show, we got yet another tiresome talking-to on this tedious topic.

We’ve debated the General Plan Update for about 7 years already, wasting hundred of hours of airtime and enough column inches of newsprint to reach the moon, and we aren’t any closer to agreement on it than we were 7 years ago.

Listening to developers, real estate agents and land-owners try to sound righteous about what they do to the land out here can really turn your stomach. Hearing the county try to justify their outrageous permit fees, as a health and safety issue, when they refuse to permit composting toilets, or greywater systems of any kind, will make you choke as well.

None of the people in the debate seem to have a clue about how to live on planet Earth. None of the proposed plans really address Humboldt County’s housing needs. None of the proposed plans will allow anyone in Humboldt County, the opportunity to live anything like a sustainable lifestyle, and none of the proposed plans will enjoy any more voluntary compliance than the current General Plan. As long as they continue to outlaw sustainable living, only outlaws will live sustainably.

The General Plan Update is bound to fail, and fail spectacularly, for a few good reasons. For one, roughly 2,000 people in Humboldt County go without housing or sanitary facilities of any kind. Every day, that number continues to grow. The GPU continues to ignore the needs of this population, and as a result, they will continue to ignore the zoning restrictions of the General Plan, by sleeping, living and relieving themselves whenever and wherever they can.

Tens of thousands of Humboldt County residents, including many, many, landowners live in unpermitted structures, trailers or mobile homes in violation of current General Plan zoning restrictions, but the county lacks resources to prosecute these cases. Just because the county adopts a new General Plan, doesn’t mean they will ever get the money to prosecute these cases in the future.

Finally, since most of what the Planning Department does, is respond to people’s complaints about their neighbors. And since most of those complaints have less to do with health and safety than aesthetics, prejudice and personal disputes, it seems to me that the best thing to do, is close the whole thing down. Stop wasting the taxpayer’s money on petty, vindictive complaints by people who cynically use the County Planning Department to harass their neighbors.

Since the process isn’t working, won’t work, and won’t help, it ought to be more entertaining, and it ought to, at least superficially, reflect what really happens on the ground in Humboldt County. So, I offer these:

New Zoning Designations for the

Humboldt County General Plan Update

 

First, a few desperately needed and long overdue, zoning designations:

 

CMR – Commercial Masquerading as Residential, describes those neighborhoods full of “homes” with bicycles and swingsets in the yard, and laundry on the clothesline, but no one lives inside but marijuana plants and spider-mites.

 

PLR – Parking Lot, Residential These days lots of people live in their vehicle. From converted school buses to “house-bicycles” people, often entire families, have pressed all kinds of vehicles into their primary residence. Still, they all need a place to park for the night. Isn’t it time they had a zone of their own?

 

UBR – Under Bridge, Residential Some cities already issue permits, for a fee, allowing very low income people to use the prime real estate beneath highway overpasses as their primary residence. Can Humboldt afford to ignore this revenue stream?

 

DFR – Debris Field, Residential Many of the homesteads in SoHum contain not a single permitted structure. At first look, many do not appear to include a single habitable space, just acres of junk cars, rubbish and debris, but people live there.

DFC – Debris Field, Commercial Many of Humboldt County’s most profitable businesses operate out of the most squalid surroundings. Humboldt County’s economic engine has never been exactly clean.

OLG – On Line Ghetto Block after block of towering concrete housing projects full of 8′x8′ cells, each containing a bed, a toilet and a high-speed internet connection with unlimited bandwidth.

The following “specialty zones” will help foster harmony in special neighborhoods catering to the diversity of Humboldt County lifestyles.

CCL – Competitive Christmas Lights Won’t it be so much easier to decide who has the most impressive display when all of the Christmas light fanatics live in the same neighborhood.

YMCA – Yoga, Massage, Crystals and Acupuncture This zone allows the listed establishments, plus vegan eateries and tea houses, no cafes.

DD + EP – Dangerous Dogs and Exotic Pets Why not put all the pit-bulls in the same neighborhood with the idiots who keep tigers, chimps and pythons.

BYOB – Bring Your Own Birds Backyard chickens, ducks, geese pigeons, flamingos, falcons and peacocks all have their appeal, but they also create a special burden on a neighborhood. In this zone, they can squawk, honk, crow and shit whenever and wherever they please.

CG – Compulsive Gardeners Are you sick and tired of neighbors who can’t just leave the fucking dirt alone? I know I sure am, but they just keep digging it up and planting shit in it. Soon their whole place becomes an overgrown, water-sucking jungle, and they start dumping their excess zucchini and tomatoes on your doorstep. Get them out of your hair by giving them their own zone where they can plow, till and weed to their heart’s content, and they can let their vegetables rot in their own fridge.

DYM – Dope Yuppie Mansion A zone for the successful dope yuppies among us, where they can build the kind of ostentatious country home that doesn’t belong in Connecticut either.

PS – Pot Squat This zone is for all of the substandard housing, adjacent to commercial marijuana operations, occupied by otherwise unemployed tenants.

RHH – Redneck Hell Hole The place to see NASCAR decals, confederate flags and Calvin peeing on stuff. Cars on blocks, refrigerators on the porch and motorcycle repair in the living room are all accepted in this zone.

HA+D – Hanging Around and Drinking Always a popular activity here in Humboldt County, now people will have an acceptable zone to do it in.

SS – Smoking Section Smokers really take it on the chin lately. I see them cowering under the eves in the rain, outside the back door, fondling their butts. Shouldn’t they have a zone where they can all commit slow suicide together.

M+M – Musicians and Meth fiends. Both of these groups tend to keep odd hours and make a lot of racket.  Why not zone them together?

DPS – Discarded Potting Soil This zone designates new land created by the accumulation of discarded potting soil.

Zones for the dregs of society. Even the most contemptible members of our community need someplace to live

SOF – Sex-Offender Friendly With so many people returning from prison with release orders that forbid them from living withing 1000 ft. of schools, parks and playgrounds, shouldn’t the county designate a zone to accommodate them.

UWB – Uptight White Blight For those obnoxious people who think they should be able to dictate what their neighbor looks like, what their home looks like, and what they do with it. Even child molesters and rapists deserve better neighbors than these. By establishing this zone, they can all spy on and out-conform each other without disturbing the vibrant diversity of people and lifestyles that makes up the rest of our community.

Are you “zoned out” on the Humboldt County GPU yet?  I know I am.


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