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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Marijuana was empowering that way, while LSD was simply overpowering.
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.
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.
We’re not learning anything here, except that if you want marijuana, you better have a lot of money. That really sucks!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Marijuana can save the world, but that will never happen as long as marijuana remains enslaved by capitalism, greed and prohibition.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!