Not Fit to Read or Burn

I appreciate free newspapers. I pick them up religiously, regardless of the subject matter because I need kindling. I need to find three or four papers every week, just to have enough dry tinder to get through the rainy season, and it’s getting harder to find enough now that the Redwood Times has ceased publication, and the NCJ has gotten so much thinner.

I read them too. If I can find anything remotely interesting in them. I also look at the ads, and I feel a warm sense of appreciation for the companies that help me get my wood-stove going on a cold rainy morning.

Lately, I have found a lot of new publications about cannabis, and the lameness of these publications amazes me. Sensi, Emerald, Skunk, Leaf, the list goes on, I’ve picked up dozens of these rags by now and found nothing redeeming about any of them. I love cannabis. I’m a lifelong fan, a true enthusiast, a connoisseur even, but I have found nothing worth reading in any of these publications. Since they are all printed on glossy paper, they don’t even make good kindling.

All of these magazines have the same format: big color ads for cannabis products, interspersed with profiles of people in the industry and one-sided reviews of the advertised products. Could this industry possibly get any more self-absorbed? Could they possibly show more indifference to the interests of their customers? When these people brag about their idyllic little farm in the forest, or show off their their fancy new dispensary, they seem to forget who pays for it all.

Cannabis entrepreneurs should remember that the people who buy their products mostly live in rented apartments and work at high-stress, low-paying jobs, yet still pay ridiculously high prices for cannabis, especially if they buy at a dispensary. Do you think they really care that they are supporting “small family farms,” “community values” or “stoner owners.” Listen, we have enough trouble supporting ourselves these days, and we’re tired of watching other people get rich off of the money we spend on weed.

There are really only two reactions a cannabis consumer will have when they see page after page of stories about unremarkable white people enjoying relative affluence through their cannabis business:

1. “Wow, these people all seem to be making pretty good money, maybe I should get into the cannabis industry.” or

2. “Fuck these people! How much longer do we have to wait for Walmart, Inbev, or RJR to figure out how to grow pot efficiently and sell it at a low enough price that they will put these bloodsuckers out of business for good?”

Neither of these reactions, it seems to me, really helps your brand. Showing off your wealth and ego in a glossy color magazine, that doesn’t even make good kindling, let alone reading material, doesn’t make me want to buy your products.

Lets face facts: Farming is boring. Farming is literally as boring as watching grass grow. Sure, there’s an art to growing good weed, and farmers love to talk about it endlessly, but the rest of us, not so much. I can tell the quality of the product in one toke. I don’t need to read about who made it or how. I know how you made it. I know that producing marijuana is dull work. That’s why I pay you to do it for me. Magazines like these just remind me that I still pay too much.

Author: john hardin

Artist bio: The writer in me says: “Don’t tell them who you are, show them what you do.” The artist in me says: “It must be strong, simple, bold, yet rich with detail, but above all, original.” The filmmaker in me says: “We need to contextualize your work by weaving the roots of the Psychedelic Revolution, the Environmental Movement, Gaia Theory, Future Primitivism and musical influences from Iannis Xenakis to Bart Hopkin into a narrative that portrays an iconoclast's struggle for cultural relevance from the forested hinterlands of rural Northern California within the greater post-industrial, post-post-modern, post-reality mind-fuck of the 21st Century.” The critic in me says: “Will that guy ever shut up?” The comedian in me says: “It has to make me laugh at least once.” The engineer in me says: “Don’t forget to tell them that you do it all off-grid, with solar power, using recycled materials.” And the improvisational musician in me says: “Cut! Great job everybody!”

2 thoughts on “Not Fit to Read or Burn”

  1. Much of what you say is true, especially the part about “one toke”. There are still some blessed souls who grow weed the right way for the right reason but they are definitely dying out. As for the glossy mags, yes, they are a waste of paper just like a catalog from L.L. Bean.

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