Here in Humboldt, we’re used to growers being just like everyone else—kids, mortgages, chores. But even in the world of marijuana magazines, that is an unusual idea. To most, growers are outlaw bachelors…wild men in the hills, divorced from civilization. Jack Rikess, a former comedian, who now writes for Toke of the Town, confronts this image in an excellent, literary piece in this issue of Toke of the Town. His visit to the backwoods of the Emerald Triangle offers a rare look at family life in outlaw grows. I recommend the whole piece though the end meanders away from the subtle literary turn and slaps you in the face a bit much. The first part had me riveted though. Here’s an excerpt.
…we pulled off the road that had snaked and turned through the burnt brown grassy California hills. Some fallen trees marked an open square in the turnout where obviously vehicles have parked here before. Being an outsider, I kept my mouth shut and waited like Ty was doing.
I know sometimes growers will do deals in front of me to show the lifestyle. Let me know what it’s kind of like. I never feel good about that.
I don’t want to be around if something went bad. Either to be blamed for it going bad or worse, getting swept up in the badness. Whatever, I don’t want to be that close to the scene. A gentle walk through your grow is good enough for me. I don’t need to meet Scarface.
Ty glanced at his watch. “Soon,” he says looking at me.
About five minutes later a white GMC van skirts off the road, opening a side door. A 12-year-old girl with sleek brown hair and a smile filled to the grills with wire, jumped out of the country school bus, runs to her dad and hugs him.
…Twenty minutes later we were up the hill. There were three locked gates which his daughter, Taylor had opened for us.
She held the swinging arm of the gate as we drove the cars through, then closing and locking the gate behind us. I wondered if it was weird for kids up here to live under lock and key. I can’t imagine what it’s like to live under the constant threat that your operation might be shut down by the cops or some other unknown force. What do you say to your kids? Are they allowed to have friends over?…
Kids and marijuana—the hills are full of that combination. The debates over whether that is a bad thing are endless. But talking about the subject shouldn’t be taboo when many, if not most, growers are parents. And many, if not most, of the kids in Southern Humboldt grow up immersed in a marijuana world.