To many of us, weed is a packaged product. Even if you don’t live in one of the country’s more enlightened states, where sativas, indicas, oils, and edibles are branded like novelty candies, you still may find yourself browsing a menu as your deliveryman reads you the specials. What you see in those bags or jars is plant matter, sure, but you can bet it didn’t spring out of the ground looking like that. Like so many other things in our lives, weed has become a grocery that we consume without considering its origins.
When it came to understanding where my weed comes from, I turned to a dude who I, frankly, revere. The first time I tried Q’s product, I was floored. Turning one of his buds in the light, you can see the care that he puts into his grow op manifest in layers of THC crystals and spirally, colorful hairs. Watching him survey his floral harem healthily growing under synthetic sunlight, you can see that they are much more than plants to him.
Like any passionate enthusiast, Q has developed a methodology that guides his operation. Since his early cultivation days, he’s consistently maintained two base plants at all times. Once business entered the equation, he had to expand his personnel. The additional plants receive the same level of care as his personals, but they’re not as special. As he puts it,
“The two that are just for me, those are my girls. Then there are the eight or sixteen that make me money. Those are my bitches. You still gotta treat your bitches proper, ‘cause they gotta be able to go out there and get you that money. But they’re still your bitches. They’re not your girls.“
Q’s girls are a work in progress, strains that he’s cultivated over many seasons. He sees each grow cycle as a collaboration with his ladies, a chance to top the previous harvest. He pushes them, experimenting with different seeds, fertilizers, and growing techniques. His bitches are essentially workhorses, clones of the same mother nurtured to yield heavily and consistently.
Nine months out of the year, Q’s bitches are producing, and he manages pretty decent yields, but being set up in a city environment is a huge pain in the ass. Space is constantly an issue, as well as proximity to nosy people, and worse yet, Miracle-Gro, which by virtue of its ingenious 19th century name persists as a wildly popular soil for home gardens. “Miracle-Gro is filled with all types of bullshit that loves to propagate a hell of a lot during the summer,” laments Q. “So you got all this shit around you from all these other gardens trying to make their way into yours. It drives me nuts, man. Because it fucks with your girls, it puts them under stress, it takes away from what they’re able to do.”
As he’s gotten closer to his plants, Q describes a newfound appreciation for nature. Like me, few city dwellers consider where their consumables come from, but perhaps those of us who spend time raising plants attain an understanding, a peace, particularly when they’re merrily addicted to what they’re growing.
But that peace has not led Q to what most of us would consider an enlightened view when it comes to the legalization of his crop. While he sees the recent surge in support as progressive, Q considers a race to legalization to be a foolhardy path towards weed freedom.
“Everybody is looking at legalization in the context of making weed and smoking it legal, making growing legal, just in general. But in order to do that, there has to be some regulation on the commerce. I feel like it will turn into this fake free market, that we have with every other industry, especially cigarettes.”
Though the fanged demons that run America’s tobacco powers have denied any intent to take over Northern California’s weed market once it goes fully legal, Q is convinced otherwise. Considering the massive $ opportunity and the tobacco industry’s penchant for bullshitting, he might not be far from the truth. In his view, that would not only allow them to drive the price and quality down in tandem, but also equate to their influence on how marijuana is legalized, which could limit personal or small scale growing. In short, “I don’t want Philip Morris growing my weed. I want to grow my own weed.”
While everyone is excited about Colorado legalizing recreational use, Q cites measures like the state’s mandatory surveillance requirement on all grow ops as a sign that we’re moving in the wrong direction. It’s a mark of his surprising political leaning.
“Strangely enough, I consider myself a Republican. I’m big on individual liberties. I won’t go as far as to say I’m libertarian, but I’m big on freedoms. Let me do what I want in my fucking house without you watching me on a camera.”
Q acknowledges that he is generally a paranoid dude, but while his evidence borders on conspiratorial, it at very least plays devil’s advocate to our assumption that legalization will make everything better for weed lovers. If it goes the way of tobacco, convenience might end up outweighing quality and most consumers will end up smoking mass-produced, additive-laden trash like cigarette smokers already do. We’ll stare at the different brands and pick the best looking one, tearing off the plastic and lighting up without contemplating for a moment where our product of choice comes from.