Category Archives: art

Marketing Cannabis

market cannabis

I love marijuana, and I smoke a lot of it, but by itself, it’s pretty boring. Marijuana enhances a lot of things, like music, sex, food, conversation, art, and even work, and it often inspires fascinating, funny and frightening ideas, all of which I find much more interesting than marijuana itself. In my nearly 40 year history with the herb, I’ve smoked a great variety of weed, some very potent, some not very potent at all, but as I look back, I remember the music. I remember the sex. I remember the conversations, and if I wrote them down, I even remember the ideas, but generally, I don’t remember the weed.

so high cant remember

 

I remember being high, so I must have had some weed, but as long I had weed, weed was just one of those things I took for granted, like a cup of hot coffee in the morning, or a cold beer at night. Those things don’t make the day exceptional, they make the day bearable. We all have our preferences about these things, but most of us don’t make them the central focus of our lives.

central focus

I bring this up because so many people around here seem really eager to tell me about how good their weed is. If someone offers to share a joint with me, I’m always grateful, and I usually try to say something nice about it, and in fact, around here, the pot is usually pretty damn good, so the compliments are heartfelt.

good weed

On the other hand, too often around here, by the time we get to the end of the joint, all we have talked about is the weed in the joint. I do appreciate high quality cannabis, but if I can’t find something, anything, else interesting about you, no matter how good your pot is, it’s probably not good enough to make your company tolerable for long.

boring stoners1

I understand that pot growers, like most other successful entrepreneurs, focus a lot of attention on producing a high quality product. I know that it takes a significant amount of knowledge and skill to grow top notch sinsemilla, but personally, the only thing I find more boring than gardening itself, is listening to people talk about gardening. I think I have this in common with most cannabis consumers. This will certainly become increasingly true of cannabis consumers as we move towards legalization, because cannabis consumers who enjoy gardening will quickly become producers, rather than consumers of cannabis.

obamas garden

From a marketing perspective, I think it much more important to understand how the consumer interacts with the product, than to focus on the product itself. You can only show so many trichome close-ups, and award-winning strain names only mean so much. To successfully market a brand of cannabis in a competitive, legal, free market, it becomes critical to understand the customer, and to focus on how your product enhances their lives.

girls smoke joints

Remember “Miller Time?” “At the end of a hard day’s work, it’s time to head for the best tasting beer you can find. That’s Miller Time.” They don’t say “Miller beer will get you drunk faster than any other beer.” They don’t even say their beer tastes good. They just say it’s “the best tasting beer you can find.” That’s all they say about their beer. They spend the whole commercial telling you that you’re a noble, hard-working man, the kind of man that makes this country great, and at the end of a long day at work, you deserve a beer. Of course any beer tastes good at the end of a long day of work, but wouldn’t you rather drink the beer that appreciates you?

miller time

Budweiser on the other hand, wants you to associate their product with good times and good friends. That’s why Budweiser sponsors so many concerts, parties and sporting events. They want you to remember that Budweiser makes the party happen, and that wherever you had a great time, Budweiser was right there with you. Do they tell us anything about the product? If they do, you can bet it’s the most boring part of the commercial.

budweiser party

Now think about how this applies to branding cannabis, especially with regard to the name “Humboldt,” and some of the other brands it will likely compete with. I know that Bob Marley’s heirs inked a deal to market cannabis products bearing the brand name “Marley,” and Willie Nelson recently announced plans to market a line of cannabis products bearing his own name. What does the name Bob Marley mean to cannabis consumers? Bob Marley stands for freedom, the triumph of oppressed people, and cultural revolution. What about Willie Nelson? Willie appeals to red-blooded Americans, stout working people of modest means and conventional beliefs.

willie nelsons weed brand

Now ask yourself, “What does the name ‘Humboldt’ conjure up in the minds of America’s bongloaders?” I mean, besides pot snobs, dope yuppies, and shadowy drug dealers who destroy natural habitat to exploit marijuana prohibition for profit. Do you think pot smokers identify with Indian killers, forest rapers or red-neck dirt farmers? Honestly, what else have you got?

island of tears-vert

Which brand of weed do I want to smoke? Find out next week when I tell you what we have to do to make the name “Humboldt” a marketing goldmine. You’re not going to like it.

youre not going to like it return


I Watch the Supes Make Sausage

 

cher-make28-  -  Cher-Make Sausage employee Eve Rutherford works on processing brats in the Manitowoc plant on Wednesday, February 24, 2010. Cher-Make has revamped its product labels with photos of real people on its products. Photo by Mike De Sisti/MDESISTI@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM

cher-make28- – Cher-Make Sausage employee Eve Rutherford works on processing brats in the Manitowoc plant on Wednesday, February 24, 2010. Cher-Make has revamped its product labels with photos of real people on its products. Photo by Mike De Sisti/MDESISTI@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM

I went to the Supes Meeting last Monday to watch them make sausage. It wasn’t pretty. I applaud Steve Lazar and staff at the Planning Department for coming up with a draft medical marijuana land use ordinance that offered significant environmental protections. I especially liked one provision that limited the location of new licensed grows to within one mile of a paved county road. That provision would have done a lot to protect wildlife and prevent further habitat fragmentation.

forest-fragmentation-1949-1991

 

Fragmentation threatens endangered fishers, and other creatures who depend on deep forest habitat. Sediment from the hundreds of miles of poorly maintained dirt roads that criss-cross Southern Humboldt severely impact watercourses and threaten endangered salmon. Black market growers generally prefer to be as far from the pavement as possible, and many of our largest grows have ten miles or more of shoddy, poorly maintained, dirt road between them and the nearest county road. Unfortunately, the one mile limitation got struck from the ordinance almost immediately.

rat poison dead fisher

An important provision about water forbearance made it to the final ordinance, so licensed growers will have to collect and store enough water for the entire growing season before May 15, and they will not be permitted to use generators or artificial lights. I know I’m sick of the generators and the lights, and I sure won’t miss them. Also language made it into the ordinance that prohibits new grows on timber land, so at least there’s that.

diesel generator exhaust

The industry turned out to lobby for larger grow sizes, and largely got them. Robert “Woods” Sutherland of HUMMAPS advocated for a 2,000 sq ft limit for the basic permit, arguing that 2,000 sq ft was as much as a couple working together could handle, but other, mostly younger growers insisted they could handle much larger grows.

big grow humboldt county

On one hand, it cheered me to see so many ambitious young people eager to invest their futures in this fledgling industry. On the other hand, not many of them looked like farmers to me. Woods looks like a pot farmer, and so does Kristin Nevidal. I saw a couple of other guys in feed-caps who looked like they could handle a shovel, but who were all of those women with the hairdos and the makeup and the fingernails? They don’t work on no farm.

fingernails and makeup

Don’t get me wrong, I want the legal cannabis industry to thrive, and I even want it to thrive here, to the degree that it doesn’t negatively impact natural habitat. I don’t fault growers for advocating for larger grow sizes. No one knows what the market for legal cannabis will look like in five years, let alone ten, so it’s hard to know what it will take to remain competitive in this business in the future. Those folks are setting out on treacherous uncharted waters, and I hope they succeed. I think the Supes want them to succeed too, because they approved grows up to 5,000 sq ft with a basic permit.

pot grower

OK, like it or not, we’ve got an ordinance, that goes into effect in 2018, that, so far, only about 300, of an estimated 8,400 growers have even expressed interest in. Try as we might, I don’t think we can regulate our way out of this mess, and ultimately, I doubt this ordinance will have much impact.

low impact

Contrary to Luke Bruner’s declaration that “The Drug War is over,” over 800,000 people were arrested for marijuana across the country last year and at least five times that many people had their pot confiscated by police, customs, airport security etc. The insane policy of prohibition that gave rise to our vigorous black market marijuana industry remains in effect at the federal level, and in 45 other states. I expect black market growers to continue to serve those markets so long as they remain profitable, and so I expect the unregulated environmental destruction associated with the black market marijuana industry to continue, and even worsen, despite this new ordinance.

unpermitted grow

Ultimately, the things that made Humboldt County attractive to black market growers, should make this place noncompetitive in the legal market. Like I said before, most of our big grows are located a long way down a dirt road, that’s a long way down a winding county road, that’s at least 100 miles from the nearest interstate. The soil there sucks, so you have to truck in all of your topsoil. Most of the land is way too steep to use, covered with trees, and prone to fire and earthquake. Also, your cell phone won’t work there. How long does pot have to be legal before people realize how crazy this is?

crazy pills

Sure, the Humboldt name might mean something to cannabis consumers, probably not as much as the name “Marley,” “Willie Nelson” or even “Indo,” but something. Because of the black market marijuana industry, we have a lot of the talent and infrastructure necessary to support the legal cannabis industry, but talent and technology are mobile. What remains here is the remote location, bad roads, expensive gas and poor soil. I can see how that makes the pot we grow here more expensive, but I don’t see how it makes it better.

expensive shoes


I Know Where the Bodies are Buried

'And then there's Jeffries... He's been with the company longer than anyone. You know where all the bodies are buried, eh, Jeffries? Ha Ha! Keep up the great work!'

It seems that I have become a lightning-rod for for a whole lot of negative truth about about the marijuana industry in Southern Humboldt. This negativity has accumulated over years, and gone unnoticed, probably because it got buried in piles and piles of groundless positivity. People really value positivity here in SoHum. We preach positivity. We expect positivity, and we want positive vibrations all around.

positive vibrations

I hate to break it to you folks, but as a musician and a radioman, I can tell you this with some authority. There is no such thing as a positive vibration. Every vibration needs a little positivity, and a little negativity, in equal proportions, one right after the other. That’s what makes vibrations vibrate, and all of the positivity in the world won’t do anything if it isn’t grounded.

ungrounded symptoms

When you focus too much on the positive, you let a whole lot of negative stuff slip by without noticing. It doesn’t cease to exist because you didn’t notice, and it doesn’t go away, It builds up, year after year, until, eventually, KABAAM. It hits you, week after week, every Monday morning.

kabaam

From my perspective, I was just looking for humorous angles on life in Southern Humboldt. This is a funny place; it seems to me, and I wanted to find out what makes SoHum so funny. Then I stumbled upon this yawning chasm of irony we call the marijuana industry. The marijuana industry is the biggest snow job I’ve ever seen in my life. To me, as a humor writer, it looked like fresh powder.

fresh powder

It was fun for a while, to carve that slope, and we had a few laughs at Savage Henry, and in the first few years of Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do, but eventually I realized why the snow is so deep here. The snow is so deep here because this is where the bodies are buried. I knew that I was just skimming the surface of a mountain of bodies, and those bodies are the casualties of the War on Drugs.

drug war casualty rachel hoffman

It’s not funny anymore. This is a crime. I don’t care how comfortable you are with it, or how badly you think you need it. Marijuana money is blood money. People all over this country pay for your decadence, greed and smugness, not to mention your land, home, vehicles, vacations and drug habits with their lives, and with their blood. Here’s an example:

heres an example

A friend of mine used to have a pretty good job in the HVAC industry. He worked hard and took pride in his work. One day, on the job, a duct slipped, and a sharp piece of metal sliced his hand and arm open. The wound bled severely and required medical attention. Since this accident happened at work, it became a Workman’s Compensation claim. Workman’s Comp. required him to submit a urine sample which revealed that he had smoked a joint sometime in the previous three weeks or so. As a result of that urine test, Workman’s Compensation denied his claim, and the company he worked for, fired him. This happens to millions of Americans, who never get arrested, but pay a truly inhumane price for cannabis.

casualties demoralizing

Not only did my friend pay too much for the weed he smoked, but he got stuck with a hospital bill that his boss should have paid, lost his job, and had his reputation as a worker smeared. That’s what happens to honest hard-working people who smoke pot, all over the country. It’s that suffering and oppression that keeps the price of pot so high, and it’s that suffering and oppression that puts money into dope yuppies pockets. The price of pot is not determined by how good your weed is; the price of pot is determined by how badly the government treats the people who smoke your weed.

tommy-chong-mugshot

The War on Drugs is a real war, and it’s a real war against the American people, especially American workers. It’s been going on for decades and there’s goddamned mountain of bodies to prove it. I mean it when I say, “We’ve all, already, paid way too much for marijuana.” You don’t want that blood on your hands. Good people should not want to be involved in this kind of business.

drug-war_victims

If you love marijuana, and want to make a career of it, that’s great. I encourage you to go for it in a big way, but don’t do it in one of the last large contiguous stretches of wild habitat in the lower 48. Find someplace flat, and focus on efficiency. Figure out how to grow the best bud at the lowest price. I wish you only the best of luck, and hope you become fabulously wealthy by disrupting the black market.

colorado pot field

If you love living in Southern Humboldt, on the other hand, it’s going to take a little more imagination than it used to. We have good people in Southern Humboldt, who love living here, and love marijuana. Nobody will take our marijuana away, but then again, if the Drug War ends, nobody will take our marijuana away. We’ll have to find something else to do, and most of us should find something else to do, anyway. Do you really want that much blood on your hands?

bloody hands

It’s time to stop glorifying our outlaw status. Instead, recognize the War on Drugs for what it is, a real war, and a crime against humanity. Recognize the pain and suffering it has caused, and let’s work together, as a community, to become less dependent on it.

war on drugs cartoon


Medicine Baul, Ensemble Economique, Cybernator 3 and Me, at Synapsis in Eureka

 

I haven’t played out for a while, but this coming Monday, January 11, I will perform, live at Synapsis in Eureka.  I’m really excited about this gig because I will perform with some of my favorite local musicians:  Medicine Baul, who I have written about here before, Ensemble Economique, and Cybernator 3.   Ensemble Economique is Brian Pyle’s solo music project.  Brian was a former member of The Starving Weirdos, he also produced a record for a great local band called White Manna, and hosts one of my favorite radio shows, Los Ensemble Economique on KHSU (Tues. 10pm-1am)  I’m not familiar with Cybernator 3, but I’m sure they’ve never heard of me either.  This should be an amazing evening of very original music.  I hope I see you there.

MB-poster-WEB

 


2015 SoHum Year End Recap

2015 female-wrestlers1

As 2015 draws to a close, and I sip my holiday nog, I reflect on what has happened over the past year, in this little corner of the world we call Southern Humboldt County.

egg_nog

2015 started off with a little squeeze on our pocketbooks, as Measure Z went into effect. Measure Z a regressive, countywide sales tax, now forces Humboldt County’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens to pay for county services to dope yuppies, merchants and ranchers. A couple of things that didn’t happen in 2015, despite this windfall of revenue in the county coffers: Another year went by and still, there is no public wifi, anywhere within a 50 mile radius of Garberville. I realize that here in Sierra Leone, where years of bloodshed and political instability make such critical infrastructure difficult to secure and maintain… Oh wait, SoHum is in California, USA, WTF!

sierra leone soldiers

Also in 2015, no public restroom appeared on the streets of SoHum. This much talked about, and much needed, facility remained, for the entirety of 2015, confined to that rarefied space reserved for aspirational visions. At least there, nobody has to clean it. Garberville is the only town of any size between Laytonville and Eureka on 101. Many people in the hills have to drive an hour or more to get to town. However you get there, by the time you get to Garberville, the first thing you need to do is find a restroom. It’s just cruel not to have one.

trump restroom

Speaking of cruel, 2015 marked the rise in prominence of local street artist Ron Machado. Ron’s edgy assemblages of found objects, appeared all over Garberville in 2015, challenging this small town’s image of itself. Ron’s controversial work provoked much public debate, but things turned ugly in February when vigilante thugs attacked Ron, sprayed him with chemicals and set his camp on fire, filling the streets with the acrid stench of burning plastic and cultural intolerance. The attackers remain at large.

ron machado in the rain crop

Speaking of large, in March, large boulders fell from the bluffs above, blocking Redwood Drive between Redway and Garberville. Two towns, two miles apart, suddenly became two towns, 15 miles apart. This completely changed the dynamics of Southern Humboldt. For example, when we go to town for groceries, we generally visit Chautauqua in Garberville, and Shop Smart in Redway, but when Redwood Drive is out, to get from Redway to Garberville, or vice versa, you have to get on the highway. Once you get on the highway, then fuck-it! You might as well go to Eureka. Businesses in both Redway and Garberville complained about slumping sales during the road closure, and the closure lasted well into April.

bluffs closed REDWOOD DRIVE

In May, SoHum hosted a very distinguished visitor, thanks to a new organization that made a lot of waves in Humboldt County this year. California Cannabis Voice Humboldt, or CCVH, an association founded by some of some of Humboldt’s greediest dope yuppies, hired a professional lobbyist to help them push their agenda in Sacramento, and in Eureka. On May 29 Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsome came to SoHum with dollar signs in his eyes. He toured a pot farm, and spoke to a packed house in Garberville.

newsom-gavin dollar signs

Newsom convened a “Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Legalization” that told the dope yuppies exactly what they wanted to hear. Newsom told us, with a straight face no less, that it was important to keep the price of marijuana high, and that the people who grow it for the black market are the best people to grow it for the legal market too. After being roundly criticized for jumping in bed with drug dealers, Newsom quietly stepped away from his legalization agenda, and took up the mantle of gun control.

Newsom declares war

At the county level, CCVH threatened to impose a new countywide cannabis cultivation ordinance in 2015, by sidestepping the supervisors, and going straight to the voters. They soon realized that the voters were even less likely to give them what they want than the supes. So far, it looks like the county will bend over backwards for CCVH, whether the voters like it or not, and our local environmental non-profits will have to sue the county for not living up to their responsibilities to the public. If that happens, we can watch our tax dollars battle our charitable donations until they both disappear in a useless cloud of legal fees and paperwork, as dope yuppies kill off the last of the wild salmon.

smoke a fish wide

Speaking of legal fees and paperwork, in June, a big posse of law enforcement descended on Island Mtn, to show us what today’s marijuana industry looks like. Just after the Summer Solstice, Deputies seized over 23,000 plants, mostly in full bloom and near harvest. These large scale “light-dep” operations have taken the cannabis industry by storm because they dramatically increase cannabis productivity. These resource intensive operations dramatically magnify the impacts of cannabis farming on the surrounding environment as well.

island mtn-tile

In addition to the many thousands of plants, deputies seized an enormous quantity, even by Humboldt County standards, of processed sinsemilla flowers, ready for market. The raids netted over 4,000 lbs of bud. Who keeps two tons of weed on hand? “Dude, it’s my head-stash.” they must have said. There are two kinds of drug dealers. The kind who use forklifts, and the kind who don’t. I guess we know which kind these were.

picture of forklift moving marijuana in warehouse

Incidentally, a few of the properties raided on Island Mountain belonged to prominent CCVH members, and outspoken cannabis industry apologist, Hezekiah Allen, who claimed he had been trying to get his name off of that property deed. If you ever have that problem again, Hezekiah, give me a call. You can sign a property over to me today, or any day, and I’ll have your name off of that title in a week.

hezekiah allen1

Also in June, Kathy Epling died unexpectedly. In many ways, Kathy Epling, was the heart of SoHum. Being the heart of Southern Humboldt, is kind of like being Dick Cheney’s heart. Like Dick Cheney’s heart, Kathy was overburdened, her needs went largely ignored, and she pumped her life into something bigger than her, over which she had no control, and only a little influence, but she gave it everything she had. She is sorely missed.

kathy epling

Speaking of nice women with difficult jobs. This summer, Cinnamon Paula resigned from her position as director of the Garberville-Redway Chamber of Commerce. For the last few years, Cinnamon Paula put a kind, sensitive face on the heartless greed, and fascist agenda of the Garberville-Redway Chamber of Commerce. Ultimately, though, her humanity, compassion, and sense of community mattered more to her than money. I wish I could say that about more people in SoHum.

cinnamon paula

As Summer wore on, lightning storms ignited drought stricken, tinder-dry forests all over Northern California. Compared to Lake, Trinity and Sonoma counties, Southern Humboldt emerged from the 2015 fire season relatively unscathed, but Garberville became a major staging area for firefighting efforts. For weeks, every restaurant in town had a line, five deep, of buff young men in uniform, including a large contingent of regular army GIs. As usual in SoHum, Summer dissolved into a haze of heat and intoxicating smoke, echoing to the rhythmic reverberations of helicopter blades.

Helicopter-Water-Drop

Speaking of dissolving. In September. The Redway Community Services District drove a stake through the heart of the, proposed, Gyppo Ale Mill. At the height of the worst drought in recent memory, the Redway Community Services District rejected the proposed brewery’s water use application. Local entrepreneurs had hoped to capitalize on this community’s heroic, and seemingly insatiable thirst for alcohol, but it’s damn hard to make beer without water.

gyppo ale mill

No great loss. With a location in an out-of-the-way industrial park, walking distance from nowhere, it makes more sense to think of the Gyppo Ale Mill as a manufacturer of drunk drivers. Who would argue that we need more of those on our roads in SoHum?

drink and drive1

Speaking of things we don’t need more of, in September, at an annual cannabis competition event, called the Golden Tarp Awards, judges disqualified nearly half of the entries because of mold contamination. The Golden Tarp is awarded for the best “light-dep” cannabis flowers. Increasingly growers turn to these “light-dep” methods, which utilize large light-blocking tarps to artificially manipulate the length of day. Using “light-dep” techniques, some growers can produce two or three crops each season. No one seems to know why so many of these buds, hand picked by professional growers, hoping to win a contest, contained mold, but you have to wonder what quality control was like on the other nine-million tons of weed these growers produced.

golden tarp awards

Speaking of contamination. Scientist Maurad Gabriel with the Institute for Integral Ecology announced his latest findings in his study of pacific fishers. He concludes that more pacific fishers have perished due to rodenticide poisoning, and that contamination rates continue to rise. A recent survey finds 85% of pacific fishers test positive for rodenticides, up from 76% in his previous study. These elusive forest dwellers, related to weasels and pine martins, eat rodents, but lately, a significant portion of wild rodents, even in deep forests, contain large doses of rodenticide poison. Marijuana growers operating deep in the woods use rat poison to protect their crop from rodents, and sick rodents wander off to be eaten by unsuspecting fishers.

Mourad_fisher_UCDW-716x1024

Speaking of unsuspecting, at least three people were severely beaten this past fall, by people they did not know, who woke them up by pounding the crap out of them. This Fall, like every Fall, SoHum’s population swelled with an influx of trimmigrant labor for the harvest season. The cannabis harvest season brings, far and away, our greatest influx of European tourists and European tourist dollars. Instead of seeing them as an economic blessing, and an opportunity for cultural exchange, locals treat them as an inconvenience, a nuisance and an eyesore. Local media, especially the Redwood Times, help amplify these hostilities, and so these seasonal visitors become targets for harassment and convenient victims for venting pent-up anger. No one was arrested in any of these attacks.

trimming pot

Visitors to SoHum should be aware that this area is a safe haven for dangerous violent criminals who seek out poor and vulnerable people for unspeakable abuse. Some of these dangerous violent criminals wear a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department uniform. Former Sheriff’s Deputy Daniels spent the entire year of 2015 in jail, awaiting trial on two counts of sexual assault. Two Southern Humboldt women came forward and testified that Daniels sexually assaulted them while in uniform, and on duty in Southern Humboldt. The second assault happened months after the first victim took her complaint to the DA, and Daniels remained in active duty for months after the DA took the second woman’s report. How many victims kept the abuse to themselves, rather than risk further humiliation. Why did the Sheriff’s Department fail to take the first report seriously enough to prevent the second? Perhaps we’ll find out in 2016.

daniels sargent

Finally, in December, the Clover Insurance building on Sprowell Creek Rd. was involved in a traffic accident for the second time in two months, leading to much speculation. What was this building doing out on the road so late at night? Had it been drinking? More importantly, do you want to keep your insurance policy, your safety net, if you will, in such a reckless building, especially when Miclette Insurance, right around the corner, hasn’t been involved in a single traffic accident since at least the turn of the century. I guess it’s good that Clover is in the insurance business, because with a traffic record like their building now has, it’s going to be tough for them to find an affordable policy. I for one, won’t be surprised to see the Clover Insurance building peddling a bicycle around town in 2016. I hope I see you around town in 2016 too.

clover wilson insurance bldg


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in Humboldt

Introduction: I read today that the average age of the 30 most popular Christmas songs is 61 (Thanks you Harper’s Index). So I figured, “Hey, if people can listen to the same old Christmas songs they’ve heard a million times, every Christmas, they won’t mind rereading this old Christmas classic that first appeared in Savage Henry #7, The Holiday Issue, way back in 2010. It appeared here at lygsbtd a couple of years ago as well, but in the spirit of holiday tradition, and with apologies to my most dedicated readers, here we go again. Happy Holiday of Choice.

i say happy holidays

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in Humboldt

santa smokes joint

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through Humboldt County
Not a creature was stirring, not even Sheriff Mike Downey

sheriff downey santa
The herb was all trimmed up and packed into bags
For smokers of taste, who will not smoke swag

bags of weed
Me in bed naked, my wife in her panties
It’s that time of month, so it’s the ones that are ratty

santa pinup
When out at the gate there arose such a racket
I got out of bed and threw on my jacket

christmas fuck this
Put on some pants and picked up my rifle
So they’d know I was serious and not to trifle

santa rifle
I stepped out of the door and into the rain
“To be out in this shit, this guy must be insane”

Flooded_Santa
I thought to myself as I trudged up the path,
“This better be good or he’ll feel my wrath”

santa boxing
What did my dumb struck eyes then behold,
But a bearded old man in a late model Olds

santas 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?

athiest battle scene
My friends all need weed, and I’ve plenty of cash,
At $3,000 a pound, I’ll take your whole stash”

your whole stash
I thought to myself, “Well that’s quite a laugh,
These days I’d a probably sold it for half.”

santa died laughing
He showed me a bag that was packed full of bills
So, I opened the gate and we drove down the hill

santas cash
I made up some coffee, and rolled up a jay
And showed him a few of the buds on the tray

buds on the tray
He said, “This is the stuff that my friends all love.
They say that your stuff is a cut above.

weed is better
They’ll pay what I ask for all I can get.
Did you have a good year? Is it all trimmed up yet?”

santa trimming
“This year I grew more than ever before,
It’s weighed up in bags just behind that door.

piles of pounds
You can inspect it while I count this cash,
Hand me that ashtray, and I’ll knock this ash.”

joint ashtray
We packed all the weed in the trunk of his car.
I said, “You found me out here, you must know where you are.”

you-are-not-lost
“Oh yes, he said, “I know my way around here,
And I’ve many more stops to make, far and near.”

salmon creek dope map
He started the car, and then turned on the lights,
And I heard him say, as he drove out of sight,

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

free weed for everyone oprah
The End


This Kind, Wonderful Community Called SoHum

sohum community

This past week, officers from our local VFW post changed the locks on the doors of the Garberville Vets Hall to prevent the building from being used as an emergency shelter during our recent spate of severe weather. We have no other shelters in Southern Humboldt, and hundreds of people live outside around here, largely due to the lack of housing, economic forces, and the nature of the cannabis industry.

homeless in sohum

A lot of these people currently work regular jobs in town that don’t pay enough to afford a decent place to live. More still, work in the cannabis industry. Of course we also have people who suffer from illness, mental or otherwise, that prevent them from thriving, and people who simply cannot cope with, or have given up on society, and/or life. It’s much too large of a population to make generalizations about, except to say that too many people in SoHum have too few housing options.

People protesting for squatters' rights at the home of the justice minister, Ken Clarke

We have a perverse attitude towards poverty in SoHum, although I don’t think SoHum is unique in this perversion. We try to punish poverty with more poverty. We attempt to drive poor people from our midst by withholding services, and demonstrating our hostility and disdain for them. It never works. Every year we have more poor people, and every year, the hostility increases. Isn’t it about time we faced the fact that not everyone in SoHum can be rich or middle-class?

park-boat-in-boat

Try as we like, we cannot run a town exclusively for the benefit of the rich and the middle-class. In fact, almost no-one in SoHum would be rich or middle-class were it not for a hell of a lot of poor people. The black-market marijuana industry makes a few people rich, but it makes a lot of people poor. Most of the money that comes into SoHum by way of the cannabis industry, comes from poor people. Besides that, poor people do most of the work necessary to produce and distribute black-market cannabis as well, but the secrecy of the industry, and a community in denial, demand that they remain unheard and unrecognized, if not, unseen.

workers transplant cannabis

Here in SoHum, not unlike the rest of the world, we have two kinds of people. A) people who make their living from what they own, and B) people who make their living from what they do. Around here, the thing that people own, that makes money, is land, and the thing that people do, to make money, is grow weed. The people who own land, the “owners” if you will, fall broadly into two categories: A) the dope yuppies, who got here first, and their kids. These people still think they are God’s greatest gift to humanity because they invented marijuana and hold a patent on it. They think that the rest of us are just lucky to get high, at any price, and that we should be nothing but thankful to them for it.

thankful for cannabis

Whenever you hear the word “community” used in Southern Humboldt, it refers exclusively to this group of people. Increasingly though, as the dope yuppies retire, they sell out to: B) large-scale distributors from out of state, who send managers, to aggressively expand production, often at their neighbor’s expense.

big grow humboldt county

Both the dope yuppies, and their successors, the big distributors, need help from the “Doers” in order for their land to make money. They need workers, lots of them, but not the normal 9-5 type workers. They need people who can drop everything and move to a remote piece of land, where they camp-out all summer while they do all of the work necessary to turn piles of soil into piles of cannabis.

pile_of_marijuana

These workers need to work hard in the hot sun, deal with primitive conditions, keep a secret, know the cannabis industry, and appreciate good weed. The pay is negotiable, and often based on a share of the harvest. Usually, the people who want these jobs have exhausted other options. Growers know who they’re looking for. They recognize desperation, and take advantage of it when they can.

take advantage

The people who want these jobs know that if you work hard, volunteer a lot, and suck-up to the right people, you can get off of the streets and into some abandoned trailer or shack with plenty of weed, and maybe even a few bucks in your pocket. If you’ve been convicted of a felony, didn’t finish high-school or have big gaps in your employment record, this might be the best job you can get. As a result, a lot of people come here, smile a lot, and try to find something nice to say about everyone.

hippie couple

“Oh, this is such a kind, wonderful community.” and “We feel so blessed to have found this place and want to contribute to it in any way we can” they say, as they help clean-up after a music festival. This proven strategy has helped many young “doers” find underground work and substandard housing where they produce most of the marijuana grown in SoHum. It has also contributed greatly to the swollen egos of the dope yuppies, who have come to expect lots of free labor and ass-kissings from hapless strangers looking for work.

carlin quote ass kissers

As the cannabis industry continues to grow, so grows this workforce. By now, they comprise the majority of the population of SoHum. These people make Humboldt County prosperous, and they pay a lot of taxes. However, they are not protected by workman’s comp; OSHA never inspects their workplace, nor will they receive unemployment benefits if they lose their job, and inevitably, they lose their job, and have to start from scratch.

start from scratch

So, we have a large workforce of people who don’t mind camping for extended periods of time, in an industry with a high turnover rate. In this business, generally, your boss and your landlord are the same person, so when you lose your job, you lose your home too. This happens a lot. The cannabis industry becomes a trap, and the workers in it rarely get ahead, so eventually, they quit, or get fired, but instead of complaining, they keep their mouth shut, and continue singing the praises of “this kind, wonderful community,” while they attempt to brown-nose their way into another job.

brown noser jlo

It shouldn’t surprise us one bit that we have lots of people camping around Garberville, because that’s the nature of the cannabis industry. The cannabis industry needs workers who know how to “rough it” even if local merchants prefer to cater to a different clientele. Most of the people who live here in SoHum have no use for dashboard hula dancers, makeovers or $25 dollar-a-plate entrees. They need a campground, affordable housing, cheap eats, a place to charge their cell phone and wifi, not that anyone cares.

nobody cares

Nor should it surprise us to hear so many praises for “this kind, wonderful community” from people who enjoy so few benefits from their participation in it. How could “this kind, wonderful community” exploit them more? In truth, land owners use the veil of secrecy that surrounds the cannabis industry to sweep displaced workers under the rug, and we see how “kind and wonderful” this community really is, by how it treats the least fortunate among us, on the coldest nights of the year.

ron machado in the rain crop


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