Saturday, July 23, 2011

Humboldt Pot-pourri-A Special Edition

One cannot visit this area without coming to a new appreciation for the primary "economic engine of Humboldt"--marijuana.

Warning, this is a "special edition" of my blog and will discuss marijuana.  It's illegal to have but not to write about!

Here are some basic facts of LEGAL cannabis use:

Fact:  It is legal to grow cannabis in California as long as you have a 215 (medical) card.
Fact:  Anyone can get a 215 card as long as you complain to a doctor "I can't sleep"
Fact:  You are permitted to grow 60 plants of cannabis indoors or 99 plants outdoors in Humboldt county for personal use.
Fact:  It is against Federal law to grow, possess, transport, sell or use cannabis.
Fact:  The medical cannabis market is huge; there are more herbal pharmaceutical stores in California than Starbucks, McDonald's and Wendy's COMBINED.

Agricultural specialty products are a key to the health of the cannaibis support economy.  Here are some examples of products:

"Pillow-type" water holding bags exhibited along the road as large as a Saddlebag single-wide mobile home

Soil amendment is probably the most complex and growing business.  Compost is packaged in huge bags and overloaded pickups are common sights.  

Here is a typical online discussion by growers about soil enrichment:

"Purple Maxx is a nice product that definately increases resin production but unless your strain has back genetics of blue/purple in it, it doesn't really turn your shit purple.  Both gravity and purple maxx have high ppm so when given to your plants, I recommend doing it on the water days not the feeding days. "

Chemists are consulted to create soil and mineral additives to make the 99 maximum outdoor plants yield the equivalent of, for example, 500 plants using many of the ideas espoused by Charles Wilbur when he grew his monster tomatoes.

There is a product system called DEP which are indoor rotating lights on tracks perfectly synchronized to the growth cycle of the cannabis plant.  

Some businesses supply convenience products to the folks who camp out on the mountains in tents 24/7  to "guard" the product as it grows.   

The turkey baster bag industry tries hard to keep up with demand (turkey baking bags are uniquely suited  because they are "smellproof" for storing harvested buds and are in high demand).  

Graduate students in biology who are tissue-culturing certain strains to achieve optimal nausea and pain-controlling characteristics as well as develop strains resistant to disease.    

The list goes on into ever more esoteric and scientific areas of tweaking growth characteristics of this plant.

User industries abound; tee shirts, sweatshirt, smoking apparatus.  Some of the prettiest blown glass around is in the headshops. 

I really liked the "Skunk with the reddened eyes" tee shirt design.

The industry is not without harm and danger however, as many farm encampments are armed and the environmental destruction from polluting waterways for irrigation is significant.  There are environmental groups that do reclamation work to "clean up" the farmed areas.

Rents on large homes in remote areas are triple "normal" rates.  These homes are in demand by growers who need a place to dry and trim the harvest.  Trimmers migrate to this area every fall looking for high-paying trimming jobs.  Real estate agents specialize in farm acreage and other property.

Now to the lighter side!  Billboards with double entendres. 

For my introduction to agricultural and recreational excess, I went with the fam, armed with folding lawnchairs and blankets, to an outdoor theater production named Mary Jane--The Musical.  This was one of the featured activities of the annual Mad River Festival in Blue Lake, CA.  This was a debut production and was playing to sold out audiences.

The plot loosely revolves around 50-something Mary Jane's “coronation” as Queen of The Emerald Ball.  The ball celebrates Mary Jane for being a first-generation dope grower who migrated to rural Humboldt in the hippie-driven 60's and discovered the simple joys of beginning the back-to-the-land cultivation of what became a “growing” cash crop.  But, just like in Rocky Horror Picture Show, the plot is beside the point. The eccentric song and dance numbers are what matters. 

Played, sung and danced with pizzazz by a fearless cast of performers wearing “leafy,” tye-dye-colorful and retro costumes, the musical styles are as varied as the clothes.   

This particular photo was a performer dressed as an "indoor grow"; the counterpart "outdoor grow"  later appeared and they sang a witty duet about their differences and similarities.

The show serves up a potpourri of original, insightful songs.  Songs with titles like “It's Kush to be Mary Jane,” “Humboldt Honey,” “Grow Inside,” “Green Like Money,” “Why Is Whiskey Legal and Pot is Not,” “Ghost Town,” “My Son,” and “Nuggy Nuggy" reflect the broad scope of the community's attitudes, fears and misunderstandings about the controversial weed.  

Between songs, Mary Jane provides witty observations:  “Why would I want to live in Arcata?” asks Mary Jane. “That’s where the people sleep outside and the plants sleep inside.”

After the play was over, I asked my fam to translate some of these terms.  I had no idea what a "nuggy" was, nor what "kush" was.   I inquired about the song "Ghost Town" and they explained why legalization was defeated in California--legalization would occasion the beginning of the end of communities and a subculture built entirely on cash-crop marijuana.  The song "My Son" told of Mary Jane's guilt for teaching her son of no other way to live in the larger society and failing to educate him for anything beyond growing cannabis.  I gave it two thumbs up! 

I also give two thumbs up to learning a heck of a lot more about the good And the bad about the legal marijuana industry in California.   The industry has sustained a colorful subculture unlike any other I have ever see or heard about--the people here are very different in so many ways.  At times, I felt like I was in a foreign country!  

Regardless of how one feels about the whole subject of marijuana, I admired seeing the entrepreneurial spirit and self-reliance that is pervasive in the northern California psyche and so sadly disappearing from our society.  


  1. Ι’ѵe got some ideas for your blog уou might be intеrested in hеаring.
    Eitheг way, great ωеbsite аnd I look forwаrd to ѕeeing it deѵelop оvеr timе.

    Also visіt mу sitе ::
    losing weight after 50 with reformers

  2. An imρresѕіve share! I've just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me lunch because I discovered it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this topic here on your blog.

    Here is my website - garden

  3. I need to to thаnk you for thіs wonderful read!
    ! I definitely enjοyed eveгу
    bit of it. I've got you book-marked to check out new things you post…

    Feel free to visit my blog :: Gardening Tips

  4. The νery neхt timе I rеaԁ a blοg,
    Hopefully it won't disappoint me as much as this particular one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I really believed you would have something useful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something that you could possibly fix if you weren't too busy seeking attention.

    my ωeb-site - organic soil

  5. Hοwdy! Ι could have sworn ӏ’ѵe been to your blοg before
    but after looking at manу of the posts I гealized it’ѕ new to me.
    Regаrdlеѕѕ, I’m ԁefіnitely ԁelighted Ι stumbled upon it аnԁ I’ll be booκ-marκіng it
    and checking bacκ fгequently!

    Heгe is mу blog - what does going green mean