Today’s post is written by Stephen.
One peculiar thing we have learned after moving to Northern California is the widespread tolerance of the booming marijuana industry, not only by the local population, but seemingly by local law enforcement, too. While medical marijuana has been legal in California for years, the scale of pot gardens in the cities and mountains around towns clearly overwhelms any demand that arises from medical uses. There is a kind of “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” attitude where everyone knows what is going on, and growing is largely accepted, unless it is done on someone else’s property or appropriates someone else’s water or pollutes the environment.
Last year after we bought our land, we learned that our neighbor, who had no wells, was using a generator to pump water from our lake to his gardens, which required hundreds of gallons a day. This year he is not using our water.
In Southern California, where there are hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries, weed is certainly prevalent in society. However, Los Angeles and SoCal have a diverse economy with a large variety of industries. Not so in Mendocino county. Marijuana, along with grapes, drives the local economy. Almost everyone we have met has some story to tell about growing, or a neighbor or family or friends growing pot.
At harvest, which is about this time of year, local grocery and hardware stores stock up on turkey bags and other supplies needed to process weed.
Where we currently live, the aroma of marijuana plants is in the air outside our house and when we walk down the street. At our ranch, almost all of our neighbors are growing this year or grew last year for “medical use.”
With legalization already the law in Colorado and Washington, it is obviously just a matter of time before marijuana laws in California are changed to reflect the cultural changes taking place. We will have to wait and see what legalization will do to the local underground economy.