Season Two, Episode 04 – The Accidental Outlaws

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ANONYMOUS 1: There were times when it– you could imagine the peasants in Vietnam having to deal with these things coming outta the air. And we had scanners. I mean, we could actually tell what they were doing half the time because we could listen in on them. I think a lot of those guys were– had been Vietnam pilots and they were doing the same kind of work. It was coming into these places that were remote and dropping guys off. And I remember one time, when I was at a garden. It was in the fall. It was during harvest time. I might have been harvesting. I had to duck and get under some brush, and the thing was flying around.

And the helicopter leaves. So I think, okay, now’s my chance. I’m gonna make a run for it before they come back. So I run down to this creek and I’m running down the creek. I fall, I cut my hand wide open. It’s like I’m bleeding like crazy. I try to put something over it. I get back to the house, I realize I, I have to go in and get it stitched up because I’m, it’s like a pretty bad cut. I drive myself to town. I get it stitched up. I mean, there’s so many stories like that, of just kind of hair raising stuff of. My name is ****, and we live in Northern California and I’ve been here for 42 years.I’ve got garlic and broccoli and kale and zucchini and pepper, tomato. Did I say tomato? 

PRODUCER: Yeah, only once. 

ANONYMOUS 1: Tomato is the most important part. Yeah. We mostly wanted to keep a quiet life and not get too industrial. I mean, I know a lot of people who have a lot of employees all year round, pretty much, and it’s a different feeling.It’s just, it’s a different kinda life. This is an amazing time of year right now. Check this out. I mean, look how fast they’re growing. I mean, it’s incredible growing really fast.

PRODUCER: Where, just say where we are. 

ANONYMOUS 1: We’re in the garden. We’re looking at some young marijuana plants. Well, they’re about seven weeks old, maybe seven, eight weeks old. They just have shown sex so I know which ones are the females and which ones are the males. And varieties look different in their presentation. This one’s a little bit a lighter color. It’s shorter, it’s squatter.

This one’s taller, darker green. And the differences is continue to show up throughout the growing cycle. If you do grow from seed, which I do, you need to have males and females. But if, look at this, you see these, these growths right here? And that’s, those are the male flowers. They’re not opened up, but they’re there. And that’s what the male flowers look like. Do you want to go, honey? 

ANONYMOUS 2: Well, I realized I said, and I gave my last name. I’d rather not give my last name.

PRODUCER: I’m going to cut anyway. 

ANONYMOUS 1: You said you said my name too. 

ANONYMOUS 2: Oh, I didn’t realize that. 

ANONYMOUS 1: At least once. 

ANONYMOUS 2: Oh, okay. 

PRODUCER: You said your name as well. 

ANONYMOUS 1: I did. 


ANONYMOUS 2: I thought you had, yeah. 

ANONYMOUS 1: Oh, okay. 

PRODUCER: But I mean, if you’re not comfortable with it, we can snip it.

ANONYMOUS 2: I’m ****’s wife. I have been living here in northern California since 1985. I was a rather late arrival. I bought this property. It was fortunately for sale. And fortunately we knew someone who knew it was for sale. And he showed it to us, and the rest is history. I left home at a very early age, first lived in Manhattan. And then I went into the Peace Corps and lived in, out in the bush in Uganda.

I thought it was exhilarating. I liked it. I’ve always been, something of a rebel. The reason I went into the Peace Corps was because I was so disgusted with the war in Vietnam. I decided to let the government buy me a ticket somewhere else and to support me.

There’s a marijuana story with Peace Corps too. I had been there about six or eight months, and another volunteer I knew pulled up on his motorcycle. He had come to visit and he had two shopping bags with him. Which I hardly ever saw shopping bags anyway, it was Uganda. And they seemed to be full of something and he brought them in. I said, what’s that? He goes, take a look. And I looked and it was marijuana. And I said, my God, it’s marijuana. And he said, yeah. And I said, well, where’d you get it? He said, I got it at the market.

I said, what market? He goes, he tells me the market in Mbale. I said, you’re kidding. They sell marijuana at the market? He said, yeah. So he, I said, how much was it? He said, it was 10 cents. I said, 10 cents. Well, needless to say, a lot of marijuana was smoked. But an interesting sidebar to that is I had a young man who was my assistant. And he was an African young man. I just loved him. He was just a, like so many Africans, just a wonderful, warm human being. Anyway, he took one look at the marijuana and he said, oh, bunge. I said, yes. He said, oh, you’re not old enough to smoke this. And I said, why? He said, this is for the elders. The elders are the only ones allowed to smoke this.

ANONYMOUS 1: I think we all have farming genes in us somewhere. Because if you go back a couple generations and most people still lived rurally. My grandparents were farmers in Texas, that was their world. Here. I mean, the climate is really good. What’s really kept it going as much as anything as the social climate. An acceptance amongst most of the population that it’s okay and that’s made it possible really.

This is a my male garden. There’s lots of trees in between. So I count on that barrier of green to stop any pollen that might wanna blow that way. So far it’s been good. I hope it continues, but yeah, I mean, you can’t keep growing from seed if you don’t make seeds. So I’m one of the people who’s doing it. I think a lot of people don’t do it anymore at all, or never did.

ANONYMOUS 2: How about the young man who walked up to you and said, you know what you’re the original gangster. You’re og, you’re the original gangster. 

ANONYMOUS 1: Sometimes we’ll be at a social gathering at a party or something. And one of the older guys will know some of the younger guys and say, Hey, here’s one of the original people. And they’ll go, wow, that’s amazing. I find myself in that position of standing around with a bunch of guys telling them stories about how it used to be. That’s what old guys do. I was one of the back to the land hippies from the late sixties and early seventies. When we were talking back to the land people.

I mean, we’re talking a very small percentage of the population. But in this area was a, it was a magnet, you know, for whatever reasons. It was fairly close to the Bay Area. Close enough there was land available. And people started buying it. I met various people in the Bay Area and one of the people was a man who lived up here already. And he was living alone and he wanted to live with other people, and so he invited five or six of us to come live with him.

I knew these people to varying degrees, not very well, and we just said, let’s do it. You know? He wanted to have like a commune, and so we did, and there were six of us originally, we moved up in the fall. It was just before winter, little piece of land with a funky little house on it, and we all lived in that. Basically it was one room. Right away, we had to build something for some extra sleeping space and stuff. So we scrambled some lumber and started building stuff. And before the winter, and it turned out to be the roughest winter I’ve ever had up here. It was really cold, it snowed.

One of our main precepts was equality. Yeah, especially equality between the sexes. So the idea was everybody did everything. The guys cooked, the guys did dishes, the women build. And we were totally poor. I mean, everybody. I mean there was no extra money for anything. We would get jobs outside of the area, wherever, whatever it took. Some people went and did carpentry jobs cuz they had some skills. I worked in the pear packing shed during pear harvest. And I get unemployment, so that would get me through the year.

I mean we didn’t– it didn’t take much money to live. We had our own money, but we pooled it to. It was not written in stone. Everything kind of evolved as it evolved. It was more like a family than a commune. I mean, it was, cuz it was a small number of people moving back to the land. It’s kind of a cliche, but felt like it was going towards something. Not trying to escape from something. It was more like, yes, there’s something else in the world that I wanna experience. We wanted to create a better life. Basically we were very idealistic.

It’s hard to explain to people who weren’t there. It was kind of something that was in the air. We knew that the system was broken because of the war, mainly. Just the whole power structure became very clear to people. We were growing marijuana for ourselves. Started because we just wanted to have something to smoke, and we realized we could grow our own, which was great.

The two main varieties of cannabis that have been grown now in this country for 40 years are sativa and indica. Those are the two main ones, and sativa is a new world, more of a new world marijuana. The. Indica is Old World Asia for the most part. India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, all those places. I had, two friends actually went to Pakistan. This was at the beginning of the indica craze back in the late seventies. They were in a family compound by the Khyber Pass.

People were sent out to find seeds and gather seeds for them to bring back. They sowed the seeds into the hems of cloth bags. And then when they got them through back to the states, they cut ’em open and took the seeds out and gave them away, or sold them. It was the first time people had ever sold seeds. It was a new thing. And the indica plant grows more roundish and short and big fat leaves and lots of resin. The sativa’s were not quite as resin-y and got real tall.

We would grow plants and harvest them. Just leaves that we didn’t know about flowers. We didn’t know about how you make seeds or any of that stuff. We had some extra sometimes and our friends in the city said, hey, if you have extra, we’ll buy it from you. We said, wow, that’s amazing. They’ll buy it from us. At that point, all the marijuana was coming in from Columbia or Mexico. The stuff that was coming in from Mexico was all brown and full of seeds. Cuz they bricked it up and sent it back.

That was what people were used to. And when we started getting into business here, it was green cuz we dried it properly and the market was slow to understand that. So the neighbor came by and said, Hey, if you guys have any, I know a guy who can. I pay you $700 for a pound. And we said, whoa, it’s $700. That’s ridiculous. And he goes, but you have to manicure it. And we said, what do you mean? He said, you have to take scissors and cut off all the leaves. And we kind of rolled our eyes and said, that is ridiculous. But we’ll do it because hey, $700 is $700. So, we sat around the table and clipped off the leaves. We found– we got some bonsai clippers.

It was kind of party time. We’d have some wine, smoke joints, listen to music, and trim it up. Little did we realize that would become the standard forever. I was never a huge marijuana smoker. I probably bought it once in my whole life. So I really didn’t get involved in the market at all until we had some to sell.

By 1976, it was big. A real commodity that got accepted in the states. We’re into voluntary poverty. We thought that was a fine way to go. We didn’t need a lot of money. We didn’t want a bunch of things. You’ve got a whole range of responses to having money. It was really odd. I mean, we had this whole process. How do you split up the money amongst six people. Who did the most work? Is that important? I mean it– we had endless conversations and meetings about how to deal with it.

I mean, it definitely was a challenge for us. We just stored it in a safe place, but not in the banks. It was all underground economy. It was enough extra money to go travel if you wanted to travel. Maybe get a newer vehicle, you know, basics. I mean, already in the summertime people were coming to visit and it was like a lot of people. And it would get hard to manage sometimes.

Some of us were more open. Some people go, yeah, come. And other people were like hey, wait a minute. This is interfering with our lives. It’s just too much. We had to start making rules about people coming to visit, needed to have, you know, reservations almost. Because it was a nice place. It was a fun place to visit. We were great people. It was the country. It was beautiful. I mean, there was pot to smoke. It was a good time. Before the money too.

Well, first we had our own house. Then after a couple years, people wanted to have their own little places and have control over their own little places. I mean, living in a group can be difficult. Living with one person can be difficult. Obviously, as we all know. But, when you expand that and you’ve gotta deal with five or six other people, every time you make a decision it kind of gets old.

After a while you just wanna do your own thing. We weren’t so dependent on each other. Probably the marijuana actually made it easier to do that. I mean, you see it in communities everywhere. You see it in cities too. The poor people kind of hang together a little more than the rich people do. I mean, the people who have money can insulate themselves from others if they want to. They’re independent. They can buy every tool they want for themselves. They don’t have to share. So it’s something that humans do. I think. And, and it happened. It happened to us too. I mean, that’s enough said about that, I think.

ANONYMOUS 2: When I arrived here in 1985, I was married to another man. An artist, a sculptor. We were looking, I think in some ways for a new life, a new beginning. And we came out to this area, to Northern California, and it was beautiful. It was so beautiful, and we had an opportunity to. To actually live here and we took it. So we were looking for a new beginning. Little did I know the new beginning would include a divorce and a new relationship. I was a working writer, fairly well known just left everything behind. Came out here and knew nothing about marijuana being grown here.

In the first few weeks and months of my living here still, nobody was talking about the economy and how people were making money. They just did not mention it, and I had no reason to ask. And for instance, one day I was driving along and I picked up this very– you would say, a hippie girl with long flowing skirts and so forth. And she got in the car and she said, oh, thank you so much. I really, I don’t have a car now, but I expect to get some money in the fall. I’ll be doing a lot of manicuring.

And I looked at her and I thought, she does nails? Who does nails around here? How can you make a lot of money doing nails? And I didn’t ask. I just, I was so new, I thought, okay. And then I saw a couple– I went to the general store and there was a couple dressed in full camo. In those days, everybody was wearing camo because they were crawling around in the woods doing these gorilla grows.

Well, I saw them and I went up to them and I said, oh, have you been bird watching? And they looked at me and my friend grabbed me by the collar and said, let’s go. Let’s go. And finally, I don’t even know who was the first person who told me, oh, they grow marijuana around here. I was totally surprised.

One day, not soon after– I had been there a month or two. I was driving along and I saw this man coming down the road on a bicycle, like on a mountain bike. And he was wearing orange sweatpants and no shirt, and I took one look at him, and I just was dazzled. It was not something that had happened to me ever before. I had been married for 15, 16 years. I thought, this is the most handsome man I have ever seen.

And I immediately– my mind wanted to make up a story as to who he might be. But I’d never expected to see him again. One day I came home and he was standing in my living room. And my husband and had met him and brought him over. 

ANONYMOUS 1: We became attracted to each other and you know, the rest was history.

ANONYMOUS 2: And it took a few years, but we finally just said, oh, this is ridiculous. And so we left our mates. It was a scandal. And I lost friends. I almost lost my kids because it was really hard on them. But over the years, my children have grown to love **** unconditionally. He’s been a wonderful father to them, and things have simmered down. But it wasn’t something I would’ve chosen to go through. It was ugly and nasty. But it was also wonderful and exhilarating. 

PRODUCER: When did you find out he was growing pot? 

ANONYMOUS 2: When I first met him. He was very forthright about it. And by then we already had heard– finally figured out what was going on with all these people making so much money. I needed a way to make a living. The divorce was very ugly. I pretty much– I actually did, I walked away from everything. I got no money, no child support, no nothing. I had to scramble. Writing was not something that was gonna bring in the kind of income I needed to support my family.

For a year or two. I muddled along and I grew my own crop in a greenhouse and I joined the culture. I mean, I just felt at home in it. I really loved the things that people were doing. Creating community. There were– people were doing fabulous things. There were African dance classes and midwifery, and the babies were being born at home. And yes, marijuana was funding it all, but it was a beautiful culture with very few problems.

ANONYMOUS 1: By 1976 I think law enforcement realized something was going on. But it wasn’t really out in the open enough for the– and they didn’t have any resources to deal with it anyway. By 1982 there was a federal program that came in with money for the local sheriffs. 

AUDIO CLIP: 37 federal agencies are working together in a vigorous national effort and by next.

ANONYMOUS 1: Local law enforcement decided to call it a problem for whatever reasons. I think the main problem was we can’t have these people making money.

AUDIO CLIP: Has to put our principles and consciences on the line to set forth solid standards and stick to them. There’s no moral middle ground. 

ANONYMOUS 1: And so there started to be connections between local law enforcement, state, ,federal people from outside the area. The Raiders would come in with helicopters and lots of ground support. And it really was the war on drugs and it was one of the front lines of it. 

AUDIO CLIP: The message this evening is not my message, but ours.

ANONYMOUS 1: And people basically adjusted to the changing landscape as it happened. I mean we’d grow plants out in the full sun. Then as the pressure got stronger, people would kind of grow their plants under the trees so they couldn’t be seen easily. What law enforcement called gorilla grows. Which were little gardens way out in the woods that were not easy to get to.

So that was a whole era for a number of years where you’d have these gorilla grows, you know, five plant gardens. I mean, I actually have a five plant garden that got taken away. Looking at a plastic bag, actually, I think polypropylene bag a little stronger than just a regular plastic bag was wired up with bailing wire about four or five feet off the ground. And they put soil in it and they ran drip lines to it and they grew marijuana plants in these bags. A lot of ’em I’ve taken down cuz they just were making trash so I got rid of them.

But people tried everything there. People — I never saw it, but I heard that they put like full-sized garbage cans way up in trees and wired them in and then filled them with soil and made it so, like if the cops came, they’d have to climb the tree too and get it. And most of those were pretty successful and not getting taken. I mean, really, you know money’s a great motivator unfortunately. It motivates people to do lots of things, but that was a funny one that it got people to do. I just wanted to say that. Marijuana that is harvested under duress is referred to as helicopter weed. 

ANONYMOUS 2: Oh no, I’ve heard it called panic pot.

PRODUCER: That’s awesome. 

ANONYMOUS 1: Sometimes people would make fun of people who’d harvested it under pressure. It’s like, oh, helicopter weed, you didn’t have the guts to just leave it and wait till the next day or the next week. You couldn’t really shut down. You, once you were planted, you were committed for the season. I mean, unless you just wanted to give it up. We just rolled with it and got more clandestine, basically. We always felt like we were in the smaller grower category. We didn’t go for it.

And what would happen is in neighborhoods, certain people didn’t have that mindset. They wanted to go big. It’s just like it’s always been anywhere. Big growers would always cause trouble in neighborhoods. People say, oh, he’s growing big he is gonna bring in the the fuzz. And that happened. Bigger guys would get popped usually, but the smaller guys would get taken along with it cuz they were close by. The first time I ever heard a helicopter, even in these hills. I was still at the other place and it was in the fall and I was in a garden harvesting some marijuana.

And it was one of these gorilla grows way up in the hills. It was hard to get to. It was a lot of walking. Mile up a hill with heavy weight on your back. I was up in this garden harvesting marijuana. I heard a helicopter way in the distance, and I thought, I wonder what that is. It must be a fire somewhere or maybe a rescue operation or something. And then a couple days later, I come to find out it was actually the first campaign against marijuana planting bust ever. And it was, I think it was 1982.

They would just fly around with teams and they’d drop ’em into places. It was like a war. And they’d roam around and the guy in the helicopter would direct them to, oh, hey, there’s some dope over here. Follow the waterline or follow the creek and you’ll find it. We got scanners so we could listen to them saying all this stuff. Where we were, we would have somebody take turns going up to the top of this hill where you could see way out to the county road. And you’d have an a little portable air horn with you, and if you saw something, you’d set it– you’d make a signal with it. We also had a neighbor who had a backhoe. That we would disable in the middle of the road so that it, you couldn’t get past it. Spy versus spy. I mean, it was just endless.

Slowly the price went up and part of that had to do with law enforcement. I mean, it was, we always called it the price support system. Because they would keep the price elevated because they kept the pressure on, and so it kept people out of joining up and doing it because news was a negative, negative reinforcement. It was all through the seventies and eighties. It would go up 200 and $200 increments up to 18, up to 2000. Broke the 2000 barrier, then up to 24, up to 3000. Then it went up to 4,000 a pound. Yeah. That’s unbelievable when you think about it now. We always kept going, this is crazy. I mean, why are they wasting all their money doing this?

ANONYMOUS 2: All of our hair raising stuff too took place separately. Even though we were together and living together, it’s just would happen on a day when we were not together and we had to handle it alone. There are many things you learn doing this. One of them was if you are being circled, don’t look up. Lay down, keep your head down on the ground, curl up, and you have good chance of them not spotting you.

The incident in the trees, it was autumn and we were drying pot at that time. And we used to dry it in the trees, hang it in the trees to dry in the woods. My oldest daughter, and the man who is now her husband, and they were helping with that process. And they were sitting out under the trees when suddenly there was this helicopter. And he kept circling them and circling them. And I was just praying they were down on the ground with their heads down. So I was hoping that was going on. I had no idea.

I couldn’t go out there to find out cuz I, they would’ve seen me doing that. And that helicopter stayed around the entire day. And it kept circling and circling. And then it would go over a little far further away and then come right back. It was like this little game they were playing.

Finally, I had to leave to go pick up my kids who were high school students at that time. I had to go pick them up at the bus stop and they followed me in the helicopter. And when they saw I was just waiting for the school bus, they lo lost interest and flew away. So I went out at night with flashlights with my poor beleaguered son-in-law and we cut everything. And I packed it into the trunk of that car and drove down to the old commune land and parked it there. I am sure it was frightening for the children, probably more than– more so than they let on.

We tried to remain calm because you don’t wanna scare your children. So we might have been– I at least might have been quivering inside, but I tried to maintain a very calm demeanor. And just divert their attention if they happen to be in the house. And sometimes they’d go, mommy, where are they going? Oh, I don’t know, honey. You know, they’re just– this is their job.

ANONYMOUS 1: I mean, we were always very honest with our kids about what we did. It wasn’t like hiding from them. I think that’s wrong. I think that would’ve interfered too much in our relationship with our kids. It would’ve just created a whole breach of trust. The hardest part, I think was the secrecy for kids. Luckily there, everybody else was doing the same thing basically. So it wasn’t like they couldn’t talk with their friends. Because their friends’ parents were doing the same thing. They just had to be taught that they couldn’t talk about certain things out in the world.

ANONYMOUS 2: We had our own school. So that helped. The children didn’t have to be secretive in. The fall when harvest happened they’d come to school with marijuana on their clothes because people were hanging it to dry in the house and it would drop as they walked by on their sweaters and we’d pick it off and it just was part of life. I just wanna say that they kicked, just say, no program out of our local high school. 

AUDIO CLIP: Talk to your kids about office of drugs. Help your children to just say no

ANONYMOUS 1: Yeah. They would come home and we’d be sitting at the dinner table drinking a glass of wine. They’d say, you can’t drink wine. Everything was up for grabs. I mean, it was like across the board, all drugs and drug drugs and alcohol were bad. It’s like, we’re gonna do it. Back off a little bit. I mean, they tried to turn — they tried to turn kids against their parents. Basically, is what happened a lot. I mean, I don’t think it happened around here a lot cuz kids, kids got it.

A group was formed called the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project. And it was formed in order to document the abuses of law enforcement in their raids. Which there were many. I mean, they would come into places, rip people’s houses apart. People would run away if they knew the cops were in the neighborhood. So it was easy for them. It was insane.

ANONYMOUS 2: I just wanna add too, because– and I’m sure it was done for effect, they would fly low with guys sitting outside of the helicopters like in the door– remember with big guns like AK-47’s or who knows? You could see them. And it was like, oh my God. 

ANONYMOUS 1: So this group was formed. There was a phone number to call if the cops were in your neighborhood. This is where they are. They’re up so and so road. If it was your road, that wasn’t so good. But if it wasn’t your road, you’d go, okay, today’s okay. They’re not here, they’re somewhere else. We formed teams that would meet in town in the morning with a couple of trucks. And you’d listen to the scanner until you knew where they were, and then we’d go to where they were.

It was like neighborhood watch. We’d go and we’d walk up to them and say, we’re the Citizen’s Observation Group. We’re here to record. And report what’s going on. And we tape recorders and video cameras. And that was this constant you can’t be here thing going on. And pushing it depending on who you were, you’d push it more or not.

It provided a presence that they were not used to. And they didn’t like it cuz people were watching what they were doing. And eventually we gathered enough statements from people about what had happened at their place. And it was presented in a court by our lawyers about… helicopter it’s a helicopter speaking of.

ANONYMOUS 2: Sounds like he’s low. 

ANONYMOUS 1: Makes for good radio. You learn to decipher what they’re doing just by the sound of it. If they’re gonna circle, then you can hear that pretty quickly. If they’re going really slow and low, then they’re kind of doing reconnaissance. Yeah, we gathered enough statements about some of these abuses that law enforcement was doing. As time went on, this stuff was presented in court. They were forced– that’s a certain point to actually have a monitor with them, which helped to curb a lot of the abuses.

They were starting to realize that they couldn’t stop it. The will was less, there was less will to continue this kind of program. I mean, they must have realized it was being a total failure. Because for years they would crow about, oh, we got so many plants. Every year they got more plants. Well, you could see that as success or a failure. I mean, if you’re getting more plants every year and you’re putting more energy into it and it’s still happening, maybe it’s failing. And we thought marijuana was going to be legalized in the seventies because it just was that kind of, it was a looser time. It didn’t happen.

Then you had the eighties where there was a lot of law enforcement pressure, even into the nineties really. Until the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 came into being in California, which was medical marijuana. It opened the door for people to grow it under the guise of medical, at least. Even if it wasn’t all medical, they could kind of make a case that it was medical. 

ANONYMOUS 2: I think first of all, medical marijuana is kind of a laugh. Because we all know that all this marijuana is not being grown for medicinal purposes. I’m for legalization, but what I’m upset about is the people flooding in and what they’re doing in order to make a killing. It’s not making a living. It’s making a killing.

SAMPLE: Law enforcement is now calling it the green rush. So many people from all over the world coming to Northern California to grow pot.

ANONYMOUS 1: Whenever you have anything that is worth a lot of money, it’s going to draw more people. That’s just how it’s. And now we’re kind of reaching that point here where you’re starting to be destruction and it gets ugly.

SAMPLE: Little known dark side of the underground business. Its harmful impact on the environment.

ANONYMOUS 1: I mean, there’s, there’s all these big trucks on the roads, bringing in fertilizer. People using chemical fertilizers . that goes into the soil, it gets washed into the rivers. You know what the consumers need to be asking of the people they get their marijuana from is, where was it grown? How was it grown? What’s in it? And you need to know where it’s come from– where your marijuana has come from. And I really feel that’s so important.

ANONYMOUS 2: It’s gotten out of control. How much is being grown? We don’t begrudge people, they’re livelihood at all. But when you’re destroying the earth, then we do have a problem with it. Yeah.

ANONYMOUS 1: The old ways are simpler and purer in terms of what you put into the soil. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all about you creating good soil. Anytime you’re growing something, you wanna create good soil. So that it’s healthy. It’s got living things in it, earthworms. Growing in a place where it’s going to remain a good place to grow things for a long time.

There might have been something else too. You wanted to talk about these, the plans? I can’t remember. I have a room for drying branches. And It’s got a bunch of strings in there spaced probably 10 inches apart. And just enough room to let air circulate around each string. I actually have a dehumidifier now that I run and some fans. And that helps things along. 

PRODUCER: Do you wanna talk about too how you guys are, you do everything. You do the whole operation, it’s just you guys? 

ANONYMOUS 1: Yeah, it’s just us. Yeah. We don’t have employees. Sometimes one of the family members is around at the right time and they’ll help us. One of the kids.

ANONYMOUS 2: I wanna say something to, I don’t wanna forget because you asked about the children and marijuana. My oldest daughter has a PhD. Her next youngest sister has a master’s and my youngest daughter who was homeschooled, got accepted to two of the most– the best colleges in the United States. So my girls have done well and they’re wonderful people doing good things.

ANONYMOUS 1: We’re off the grid. We grow as much produce as we can. I’m our water company, I’m our power company. There’s no monthly bills for those things. Some ways it’s self-sufficient and we, we rely on money a lot though, for what we do too. It may not be a source of income for us at a certain point, and that might come really soon. I mean, every year it’s kind of, at this point it’s like, well , should we even do it? So far the answer has been yes. But it’s hard to know how long that will go on and in what form that will take. There was no domestic marijuana crop before we started doing it. That was it. That was the beginning.


ANONYMOUS 1: Yeah. I mean, it was, we weren’t looking at it in a historical perspective. We were just living our lives. That’s just what happened. It’s, I mean, that’s kind of how a lot of life happens I think. Is that it just happens and you happen to be there at that time. It was the timing. Everything kind of slid into place perfectly and as it does. But a lot of times we don’t see it in that– with that perspective at the time. In hindsight, it all looks perfect to me.

ANONYMOUS 2: I have a lawless streak in me that runs deep. And so when I landed here, I just became an accidental outlaw. And I joined the culture. I just felt at home in it. A lot of people never get to experience something like that. And it was great. It was great.

ANONYMOUS 1: You know, the land owns you more than you own the land. I mean, it’s powerful. And it’s a powerful influence. And I mean, I feel like that about this place now. It’s very powerful. It’s a beautiful place. It’s still a beautiful place. Even considering all the ravages and the more people that are here and all that. It’s a different time.

I mean, the seventies was a way different time than where we are now in 2014. It’s been quite a ride regardless of how you look at it. I always tried to be as safe as I could be and not get popped. I mean, that was the whole idea and it pretty much worked. You can do it. I mean, you pay attention to what’s going on locally and out in the world, and you kind of figure out what they’re up to and just work accordingly. I mean, it’s our turf. It’s hard to win a war on somebody else’s turf.