Nowadays it’s almost too easy to get high, with local dispensary’s, weed vending machines, and home delivery services, but have you ever stopped to think about how the bowl you’re packing came to be?
In 2010 photographer H. Lee, who had visited pot farms on and off for a number of years, realised that big corporation could soon see the eradication of small farms and hard-working entrepreneurs, and saw fit to document life on a farm. Lee’s book Grassland details a year on a California weed farm, from planting and growing, to tending and picking.
Life on a pot farm
It isn’t all glitz and glamour, though, as Lee detailed watching mold wipe out thousands of dollars worth of crops, and the constant but somewhat inconspicuous security measures, be they guard dogs or shotguns.
Growing and protecting your crop isn’t the only hurdle, though, with farms needing seasonal workers for the harvest and trimming, who often live in tents or trailers for months at a time.
From farm to pharmacy
The hardships of running a pot farm don’t stop at the front gates; with sales obviously bringing a new pressure, and legalisation imposing an even larger threat to smaller pot farms. Lower prices and oversupply of product means that
“Growers have had to double, triple their production in order to cash in the way they once did”- H. Lee
Reliance on a single crop is generally irresponsible in the farming world, and the advent of full legalisation will allow for big corporations to stretch their green fingers, which will almost certainly see smaller farms squeezed out.
Don’t forget, it’s still illegal
The marijuana industry might be one of the fastest growing in the U.S., but social acceptance doesn’t always mean law enforcement will turn a blind eye.
Legalisation in Colorado and Washington means that Federal enforcement is now focused on California, with one of the most notable marijuana eradication efforts occurring in June 2015, when more than 86, 500 plants were seized throughout California’s Emerald Triangle.
Whilst this was a big loss for weed lovers everywhere, it also brought to light some of the environmental impacts of illegal marijuana farming, where creeks and streams had been dammed and diverted for irrigation, and in one case water was stored in a giant bladder.
Considering the state of drought California is in, this egregious damage to the environment is giving anti-marijuana campaigners a leg to stand on.
Have you spent time on a pot farm or know someone who has? Did you run into any trouble? Tell us about your experience on social media or in the comments below.