Mendo Marijuana: The Time of Reckoning Has Come

An report on the state of cannabis from a ganja farmer at the heart of the Emerald Triangle.

The tension in the air up here in the heart of the Emerald Triangle is as thick as dripping rosin. The time has come to put up or shut up. In other words, to choose to be legal and in the system or to continue to hide in the hills from hungry helicopters. Both have their benefits as well as their drawbacks. To go legal requires money and the time to understand all the current requirements, with the risk that it could all change tomorrow. The hope is that it will provide security from the powers that be and allow us to continue to grow this plant we love so much for deserving patients.

However, several farmers are choosing to stay outside of the system, attempting to survive by selling on the black market as they always have. Many are frightened by all the hoops that one needs to jump through for the proper permits. But prices are plummeting as other states begin to grow their own crops, indoor mostly, and middle men who have been in the biz for decades are suddenly out of a job. Plus there is a glut on the market due to so many people moving up here to grow “world class cannabis” with zilch experience but lots of energy. They come from Eastern Europe, south of the border, and every state in America, all convinced they can grow top-shelf weed their first year.

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The Drought Days Are Over

Reflections on the challenges of growing outdoor cannabis.

It may sound trite, but really, what a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, the meadow and hillsides were already golden, after several years of drought when they never truly turned green. Wildflowers were sparse and the deer looked hungry. The creeks were mostly stepping stones along the dry bed… perhaps a few greenish pools of murky water lingered from early winter rains. A general sense of dryness prevailed, and no one even dared mention the word “fire.”

As summer wore on with relentless days of blazing sun shining on the cannabis, Swami cleverly found new ways to keep the water pipes running to feed them. Our small lake is almost a mile away from the garden, up and down a hill or two, but luckily it ends up being about 10 feet higher elevation than the garden — just enough to be able to employ gravity as the pump. We rationed out spring water for household purposes and had to forego watering basically anything but the cannabis. Such are the sacrifices which must be made on a farm.

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Cannabis: It’s Getting Better All the Time

A longtime cannabis cultivator explores the blessings of the modern day.

It’s easy to sit around and complain about how difficult it is to morph from outlaw pot farmer to regulated and legal craft cannabis cultivator. We are currently engulfed by a tidal wave of taxes and fees and permits and professional helpers, which we never had to consider before, and it is overwhelming indeed. Yet, being an Aquarius, I always like to look for the lemonade in the situation, and it’s really pretty easy to find if we just look back a little way into the past.

How many of us remember stashing our stash in secretive corners or rolling joints clandestinely in the restroom stall? Or maybe we’d meet a new person at work and discover they were also a stoner and so we’d surreptitiously slip off to burn a fatty together in the back alley? And God forbid the subject came up at family suppers, as everyone else in your family still considered smoking a joint the same as shooting smack. These cultural perceptions and judgments associated with pot are surely slipping away, and the more people who come out of the cannabis closet, the faster they will disappear all together.

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The Many Appellations of Marijuana Country

The concept of “terroir” is central to wine making — and branding. Now California cannabis, already a brand in the illusory sense, is making moves to secure its claim to fame and prevent imitators.

If you are a careless consumer committing the cardinal sin of ignorance—uttering nonsense phrases like, “All wine is the same,” —find a northern Californian. He or she will explain the actual order of things and send you on your way on the proper course.

Forget simple delineations like red and white; wines made from identical grapes grown on different sides of the same hill can smell, taste and make you feel different. This isn’t smugness, this is called “living.”

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