27
Jan
10

The times they are…well, they’re doing what they always do

Mr. Nice responded to my post on wanting to find the roots of Cali weed culture:

“You came too late. 20 years ago, you could’ve seen the shootouts with CAMP and shit. Peeps coppin a squat in the woods comin up on some massive trees, growing football-sized buds, charing top dollar and buying up former timber land. You arrived right in the middle of the white boy Jah Dread indoor grow house period. Where hillbillies have turned from plastic tarp and PVC pipe to underground bunkers and diesel generators. Nothing to see here really. “

I get what he’s saying, but I’d argue that I’m still seeing what I wanted to see when I decided to move here.  Look, I’m not on the inside of this community, but I’m not completely clueless, either.  There’s still something to see, grow houses or no.  It’s true that weed will grow in a garage in the south as well as it does in the north, and I saw plenty of people getting busted in Anaheim and Inglewood and Huntington Beach for their blown-out grow houses while I was living down in SoCali, but the thing that’s different here is exactly what Mr. Nice is complaining about losing in his post – the long-standing alt-culture that established itself here in the 60s and never left.  But things change, and they’re going to change fast if the recent spate of legalization passes.

Y’know, it’s funny how getting what you want can come back to bite you on the ass.    For a while now, it seems as though all the activist energy has been going into the “legalize it” argument without much though about how that happens.  Or what happens next.   Traditional marijuana activists have been pushing ahead into the light of sunshine for so long, they might not have realized that they’re headed like lemming over a cliff, with Phillip Morris waiting down below to mop up the remains and cash in.  People, get ready.

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2 Responses to “The times they are…well, they’re doing what they always do”


  1. 1 Kym
    January 28, 2010 at 5:40 am

    I’ve argued and will continue to argue for legalization. It is the right thing for the majority of the people but it will change the economic future of the county for the worse. However, my most serious concern is one I find difficult to articulate.

    Illegal marijuana provides an income that supports alternative culture. Without that economic support, it will be even more difficult for viewpoints that differ from the mainstream to have a voice. By legalizing the weed, we could kill the culture. And mainstream culture will suffer from this death–without diversity of thought, it be like a plant that grows up encased in glass–blown down by the first strong wind that touches it.

  2. January 28, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    I agree, and I share your concern. I’m a scholar of the West, and the Californian West in particular; a big part of my motivation to write about this odd, endearing culture is that I’ve seen what happens in Western cultures when the legend becomes fact. It would be nice to think that the activists who have argued so doggedly for legalization will be able to hang on to the best parts of this alternative culture, even if the industry at the heart of that activism goes legit.


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