Monday, March 29, 2010

Growing Medical Marijuana

California’s Underground Economy

( Author’s note: In 1982, I won a California State Fair Media Award for agricultural reporting on the marijuana crops in El Dorado, Placer and Nevada counties. Even before then, as a writer and sometime drug abuse counselor, I’ve had occasion to cover both legalization – and enforcement – efforts ranging from debates in the State Legislature to a raid on an illegal Mexican plantation just outside of Colfax last year.

My assignment from The Union was to share my knowledge of how local medical marijuana growers walk the line – and cross the line – in complying with the law.

With the exception of Cindy Griffith, manager of CannaMedix, every conversation I had with my sources was strictly off-the-record – at my own insistence. This is not an investigative report. It’s just an observation, from my limited perspective but long time experience, with the alternative communities of Nevada and Placer counties. )

Petit Sirah, Af Gui, Merlot, OG Kush, Sauvignon Blanc, OT Pineapple, Burgundy, Purple Urkle, Grey Riesling, NorCal, Zinfandel, Blueberry .. listening to wine makers and medical marijuana ( MMJ ) growers talk about their boutique delicacies is often simply a matter of switching vocabularies.

They both speak with knowledge and passion, brag about their organic blends, closely guard their trade secrets, decry low-grade commercial product, have their own political organizations and lobbyists, worry about market prices, and love to sample and critique each other’s premium brands.

When you get down to it, vintners and pot growers do have a lot in common. They are, after all, both farmers and drug dealers. ( Alcohol is a drug – get over it. )

Of course, there are major differences – mostly involving the legality of what they grow and sell.

Nevertheless, MMJ growers are engaged in a quasi-legal agricultural industry that appears to be inevitably on track to become as legal, taxed and regulated as the wine industry in the coming years.

On March 24, the California Secretary of State certified a November ballot initiative that will ask voters whether marijuana should be legalized and regulated for adult recreational use.

Additionally, in February, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano ( D-San Francisco ) introduced AB 390 – the Marijuana Control, Regulation and Education Act – a law that would accomplish essentially the same thing.


  1. There are a lot of ways of growing marijuana. Both indoors and outdoors. There are a lot of techniques and methods to undergo when enggaging in this. And also, the risks taken are so high that it can lead to jail time. However, it is a heated debate now. The legalization of growing medical marijuana is on the process. Let's hope for its' legalization.

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