Cannabis prohibition is a ripoff, disguised as a scam, concealed within a hoax, and the people who go into the black market tend towards the sneaky, scammy and opportunistic. I don’t really have much sympathy for the Johnny-come-lately greenrushers, who pay premium prices for ramshackle dumps so they can grow weed in Humboldt County, while so many of the people who live and work here go homeless. Still, I can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for them when I see how much the dope yuppies take advantage of them.

My neighbor recently rented out her backwoods homestead to a greenrusher from NJ who she found on Craigslist. It took her nearly two years to find someone desperate and foolish enough to pay the ridiculous sum she was asking. She had friends who were homeless, mind you, and lots of people around here need a place to live, but no one who could afford what she was asking would ever live in such filth, and no one who would tolerate the conditions could afford what she was asking. Eventually, Craigslist brought her a live one, and he signed a lease with her.

The first time he asked me for help he needed a jump-start, because he left his lights on. What are neighbors for? I helped him out a few times, and was friendly about it. We live pretty far out in the sticks and I do my best to cultivate good relations with our neighbors. Around here, you never know when you’ll need them, so I got to know my new neighbor a bit.

He is about the same age as me, and hanging out with him felt like hanging out with friends in college. We’d puff fat joints while we talked about music, old TV shows and marijuana. He was obsessed with marijuana. He watched a lot of TV too, but he was obsessed with marijuana. He told me how much he was paying in rent. I’m sure it added up to more than my previous neighbor ever made off her crop in her best year. “Am I an idiot?” he asked me.

“Can you make it work?” I asked, in an attempt to politely avoid blunt honesty.

“Yeah, I think so.” he replied. As it turned out, he was wrong.

He had never grown anything before, let alone cannabis, and his ineptness at gardening was only exceeded by his ineptness at business. I’ve never seen anyone spend more money on grow supplies than he did. For awhile, he had a crush on one of the girls who worked at Dazey’s Garden Supply, and I think he bought a lot of stuff just to impress her. His mother paid all of his bills and sent him credit cards, so it was no skin off of his teeth.

Still, he didn’t need six seedling heater mats or eight T-5 fluorescent lighting fixtures or five generators to run them all. He hated being out in the sun, and couldn’t take the heat. When he installed an air conditioner, I knew I knew he wouldn’t last. I also knew that we would get no peace until he moved. His generators ran constantly for the duration of his three year stay.

He hated to work, too. I can’t say I blame him for that, but he brought in a partner to do the grunt work who I really didn’t like. While hanging out with my new neighbor was like talking to friends in college, being around this other guy was like junior high. I found him crude, obnoxious and insufferable. Fortunately, he wasn’t there that often. He lived on the East Coast, and commuted to Humboldt County. He must have flown back and forth across country at least a half a dozen times over the course of the growing season, which means the pot they grew together, here in Humboldt, under the sun, has a bigger carbon footprint than any indoor pot you’re likely to find anywhere.

Together, they may have grown the most expensive marijuana ever produced in Humboldt County. They couldn’t have made money on it. In fact, they must not have made money on it, because now they are both gone. Humboldt County turned out to be an expensive mistake for both of them. But that wasn’t enough.

Their little adventure in SoHum also took out two younger guys, who diligently trimmed weed for my new neighbor. These trimmers took their pay in product, in hopes of selling it for more money, out of state. After leaving here, the two set out across country, by car, but didn’t even make it to Reno. A Nevada State Trooper pulled them over for tailgating a semi, smelled weed, searched the vehicle, found fifteen pounds of weed and arrested them both.

These four guys all lost their shirts in the greenrush, on just this one property in SoHum. This must happen all over Humboldt County. I’m sure that not all of the greenrushers are as dumb as these guys, but I’ll bet they’re not that far from average. The NCJ just reported, this week, that the wholesale price of cannabis continues to fall. Can the “green-flight” be far behind?

None of these guys really wanted to live here. None of them cared about the forest. They all came here with dollar signs in their eyes and greed in their hearts, lured by the sweet scent of California sinsemilla and the prospects of making a quick buck. When all was said and done, their whole endeavor turned out to be a complete waste of time, money, energy and resources. They would have made more money working in a fast-food restaurant. They would have all done better, at almost anything else, almost anywhere else.

The only winner here is my former neighbor, now enjoying her retirement in Mexico. Almost none of the money earned off of her land, since she moved, stayed in Humboldt County, but all of the mess did. My neighbor left 30 years of garbage when she moved, and these guys just added to it. Together they turned a beautiful forest into a complete dump, for no good reason. Really, if you’re thinking of coming to Humboldt County to grow weed. Save yourself a lot of trouble. Don’t.


John Hardin writes at Like You’ve Got Something Better to Do.