August 02, 2013

Making Money in a Mountain Subdivision

A while back we were visiting someone who lives in one of those typical Colorado mountain subdivisions — winding gravel roads, five-acre lots, the whole wildland-urban interface picture.

M. goes walking and meets this thirtyish guy — let's call him Zach — out with his dog. He seemed eager for conversation. Before long, he invites us down to his camping trailer-plus-attached shed summer home to show us his plants. His six legal Colorado medical marijuana plants, that is. We duly admired the greenhouse that he had built and the well-tended and labeled plants.

Then he gestures down toward a copse of trees down in a ravine, where the other cannabis is growing. Why was I not surprised?

Walking back to our hostess's place, we pass the house that Zach says is his landlord's. It looks fairly new, and given the potential views, M. wonders why one two-story wall has no windows. That's the "grow room," I say, half-seriously.

Heck, yeah. Zach, whose didgeridoo playing echoed up from his greenhouse in the evening, takes us in there the next day. It's a communal growing operation between his landlord, some friends, and him, all Mylar-faced insulation and bright lights.

He had started growing on the East Coast, did his "post-graduate" work in Mendocino County — he is very proud of that — and discourses at length on varieties, propagation, fertilization, and the rest.

But he misses his partner and their kid, who are elsewhere, hopes to see them soon, and meanwhile gets out a couple of days a week to play in a pick-up band at a tavern in a nearby tiny town.

We talk about the changing law and habits, the growing popularity of "vaping," etc.

"Twenty years from now," he speculates, "people will be saying, 'Do you know they used to roll this up in paper and smoke it?' "

He is probably right about that.

At last, a form of economic activity that you can practice in your mountain subdivision, where there is not enough forage for livestock and the outdoor growing season is too short for many vegetables.

You think people like Zach are not exporting beyond the legal MMJ marketplace and the new, liberal laws in Colorado? Of course they are.
Last year, police across the country made at least 274 highway seizures of marijuana that investigators linked back to Colorado. According to the report, the seized pot — 3½ tons of it in 2012 — was destined for 37 different states, most frequently Kansas, Missouri and Illinois.
There is a lot to sort out here.

3 comments:

Malcolm J. Brenner said...

C'mon, Chas, it's the capitalist way! I wonder what gives the goddamn government the right to tell us we CAN'T grow this stuff?

Chas Clifton said...

It's like the new moonshining, only now quasi- kinda- sort of-legal in Colorado.

But the situation is complicated, from banks refusing to handle dispensaries' money to towns like my county seat banning all retail sale to nearby Pueblo County's approving a big commercial greenhouse operation over the objections of some residents in that area.

John Yohalem said...

"Vaping"?

(Hey, I'm from New York City. I still like holding hands and pitching woo.)