I met this man at Church, we will call him "Able" because he was Willing and Able to do whatever it took to save himself and his lifestyle! Well Able was telling me over coffee about his year, and how he turned it around with the aid of POT. At the beginning of the year he was "downsized" out of his white collar job, as the job, not him was shipped to India. Joblessness soon was looking like homelessness as the banks began to foreclose on his house after he exhausted his 401K and savings, and still could not find a job or make ends meet. Able had a nice 4 bedroom home on the the very nice upscale northern edge of Chico. 2 stories, wonderful yard, a kitchen a Chef would kill to cook in. Swimming pool, laundry room, Pantry as big as a Bathroom in my home. By all the standards I know of Able was doing well. Then his American corporation saw profits over people, "downsized him" (what does that mean anyways) and shipped his technical white collar job off to India, standing and dumping their 25+ year employee without so much as a thank you, just a New Years Pink slip, clean out your desk and we will walk you to the front the door, no "Thank you for your years of service", no bonus check, no golden parachute, just a quick walk to the door, and off his job went to India, so his American Company could pay lower wages, offer no benefits, and increase profits. So muych for "Buy American" "save American Jobs" and the "American Dream". But this diary is not about the injustices of the American form of Capitalism, multi-nationalism or Corporate greed, no this diary is about how Able was able to seize the movement and make prosperity out of Diversity, thanks to the California Agricultural BOON in POT! Thanks Dennis Peron for this new and growing market.
Double DISCLAIMER: Dennis Peron is a friend, and I view pot as a mind altering drug with a score of ill effects, but in this story it is a hero!But this story is bigger than one man, because the cultivation of this plant is changing the California economy, (Pot is now the number one ca$h crop in California), just as it is changing and molding and evolving a generation!
Now Able facing eviction, all avenues exhausted, was approached to rent out some of his rooms to an emerging organic Medical Marijuana Collective. Not only would they rent his 3 extra rooms, (whhich he confided in me was more than his mortgage!),they would pay his electric bill, which was about to balloon under the strain of grow lights, put solar panels on his home, pay him a salary as a caretaker and guard of their garden. He would daily have to open his home to Collective employees that would tend the plants, trim and care for the plants. The collective took care of everything, he told me. The got his home and him licensed, they basically vacuum sealed the grow rooms, put in their own special hydroponics systems, upgraded the electrical to support the strain of the grow lights. The catch, those 3 rooms are off limits to him now, and he is a collective employee who job is to protect their million dollars of plants growng in his 3 spare rooms!
The collective installed a home security system, and wireless camera in the rooms, and monitors the rooms from a central location via the high speed internet they installed, with cellular backup! Everyday his home is invaded by a small army of horticulturalists that manage and monitor the "grow" and hydroponics.
But he has a living wage, a new car and toys, bills and the mortgage is paid, a new LG 60 inch flat screen sits in the living room. The only givaway in his home that something is "different" is the 3 high quality cedar doors to his 3 extra bedrooms, and their outside grade door nobs and dead bolt locks, that and the security camera in the hallway watching the doors. Able told me their are similar camera inside the rooms watching the doors from the other side, monitored, he said from the Collective via the internet and a cellular backup.
What a setup I thought! They are forking out some bucks on this, so I boldly asked Able why, what do they, the Collective, get out of this. A dispersed high quality product. He said they told him the harvest from his place alone would be worth about 1.5 million when sold out of the medical marijuana dispensery, all legal, taxed and licensed.
WOW, behind those cedar doors was a million dollars of green gold! With typically 4, sometimes 6 harvests a year, and presumably Able was not the only "grow house" like this. A "friend" told me it was pretty common practice for the collectives to "ambulance chase foreclosures", and turn misfortune into profits!
I was recently told by one that would know as many as a third of the homes in my area had pot growing in them. Geez, in a failing economy where people are worried about their next meal WHO has the income to buy and smoke $300-$500 ounces of pot. Where is it all going? Who is doing it all, and where is all this money to buy and smoke pot coming from.
As is always the case in our lives, there is no joy without sorrow, and Able's luck soon turned. Through Pot, Able met Ken, Ken introduced Able to crystal, and soon Able was fighting an addiction, and broke again and losing everything. Able is obviously a survivor, and God willing he will pull out of his nose dive addiction has brought him, and pull himself once again up by his boot straps and start anew.
So that is one man's story of Agriculture's new reality in the days of legalized pot, and as Buddha once said "all life leads to suffering". One might be so bold as to say man's natural state is to suffer, even at his own hands!