–New York Magazine’s Write-Up–
As if we weren’t renowned enough already, Humboldt County’s pot culture got yet another high profile push in the national media biz today.
New York Magazine’s 9-page weed write-up by Benjamin Wallace-Wells entitled, “The Truce on Drugs: What Happens Now That the War has Failed?” squarely centers Humboldt in the middle of the US marijuana wars and cannabis trade industry again.
If the nation doesn’t know it by now, we grow tons, the weed wars are failing, and something’s gotta give. Mr. Wallace-Wells writes:
Cannabis is a highly persuadable plant… The full implications of this first became clear to Kristin Nevedal one day a few years ago, when some neighbors of hers in southern Humboldt County, four hours north of San Francisco, noticed a rainbow, discolored and distended, rising over their yard.
This part of California is gorgeous, and hallucinatory, but even here a weird rainbow is an unusual sight, and so they investigated. Next door was a large indoor growing operation, and when they walked over, they saw an abandoned generator leaking fuel into Hacker Creek. Soon there were diesel rainbows up and down the stream. “The gentleman who owned the property was in Thailand,” Nevedal says. Nevedal helped found the association of cannabis growers in Humboldt, and she is a bit of an idealist
Mr. Wallace-Wells continued:
…That Humboldt County has remained so much a culture apart has something to do with the origami folds of its canyons and hills, which permit a certain isolation, but something more to do with pot. Driving through Myers Flat once, I saw a dreadlocked blonde girl, obese and braless, filling a van with male hitchhikers, like a cross between a community bus and a gender-reversal Manson Family.
The hippies in Humboldt had cannabis, which meant that though they were in many ways beyond the reach of government, they could pay for their own schools…
And he gave us a little of our own history and a local’s view of things on the front:
If you were savvy enough to dodge through the forest with helicopters overhead, carrying plants on a canvas stretcher, if you knew how to trim a tall tanoak in the forest so that its topmost branches protected the crop from view while still letting in just enough sunlight, then you could really make it. By 1996, marijuana here was going for $4,000 a
That was the year California legalized medical marijuana. At first, nothing much changed in Humboldt. “Initially, the cops were cracking down,” remembers one local, Mikal Jakubal. “They would come in and say, ‘You’ve got twenty plants, I think you only need two or three of these. Cut ’em down.’
Slowly, coaxed along on one side by the libertarian streak in the electorate and on the other by the disinterest of cops, we have begun to create many more places that look something like Humboldt County—a bustling economy where many people are growing more than their town allows, everyone is growing more than the Feds allow…
This year’s harvest happened about six weeks ago, and Jakubal told me about what he called the “rip-off moon,” the full moon in September so bright that cannabis plots are vulnerable to thieves and poachers. Large growers have little recourse to the police. Instead, cameras and guards abound; one of Jakubal’s neighbors keeps a machete. And so: this bizarre lagoon. You go to branding meetings with county representatives. You speculate about whether legalization elsewhere will drive the prices down or create new customers. Your friends are arrested for driving the crop to market. At home, you keep a machete…
You can find Mr. Wallace-Wells’ full article, “The Truce on Drugs: What Happens Now That the War has Failed,” a well-written goodie indeed, at the New York Magazine here.
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(Posted by Skippy Massey)