Hey San Francisco: it's 4/20! No, I'm not trying to get everyone worked up about celebrating Hitler's birthday. Instead, I'm pointing out that its, International Pot Smoking Day.
There are many legends how the term "420" came about. One version has claims the term originated from a group of teenagers at San Rafael High School who would meet after school at 4:20 p.m. to smoke marijuana at the Louis Pasteur statue. Another version claims that 420 originated from a police code that announces marijuana use is taking place.
I doubt that 420 has anything to do with Hitler's birthday. But if the Furor did smoke more weed chances are he would have followed through with his dream of pursuing that art career.
For the stoner-sect, working on a Northern California pot farmer must seem like the equivalent of a fat person winning one of those contests where they get to stuff their shopping cart with as much food as they can in one minute. I actually worked on a pot farm in Mendocino County (part of the Emerald Triangle) as part of my book, The American Dream.
What I learned: the fantasy isn't always the same as the reality. Since it's 420, as an annual tradition here are a few facts and fictions about working on a pot farm:
There is copious amounts of weed on a farm, TRUTH!
You better believe it. Bushels and bushels of freshly trimmed weed stacked to the ceiling with such exotic names as Trainwreck and Purple Indigo.
It's easy to find a pot farm to work on in San Francisco. FALSE!
I had one pot farm scheduled to work on and the night before leaving I got an email that the DEA swooped down and took all their plants. Other times people were really flaky on when I should be going up ("Oh, dude? Was that today!?")
The local police are always ready to bust a pot farm. FALSE!
In Mendocino the local police aren't concerned about the weed that is grown in the area. Busting all the farms would crash the local economy. What they are more worried about is robbery. Gangs from L.A. have come to this area armed with AK47s to rob farms of their weed because it's so profitable and abundant.
People who work on pot farms really, really, really like pot. TRUE!
It couldn't be more ideal. They can trim weed and smoke it ALL AT THE SAME TIME! Not only that, but they can do so while listening to hippie music ABOUT weed and centering ALL conversation, like wine snobs, around, well, weed.
It's fun to trim weed. False!
Trimming weed is one of the most monotonous tasks known to humanity. All day long you sit shaping buds over a garbage bag with a pair of scissors and rubber glove on your hand. If this were perfectly legal I'm sure this job would pay $7.50 an hour. Instead, trimmers are paid $100 per each pound of weed they trim.
When eating is involved on a pot farm, it gets very quiet. TRUE!
As much food production (sandwiches, etc) goes on as weed production, followed by moments when all you hear is chewing.
There's nothing scary about a pot farm. FALSE!
You have that combustible mixture of paranoia and fear of being robbed while stuck in the middle of wooded nowhere. Late at night every little noise can trigger the fear that the gangs from L.A. have arrived to rob the place at gunpoint, or the DEA has swooped down to bust everyone in sight.
Have you worked on a pot farm? Did you feel like a kid let loose in Willie Wonka's factory, or was the scenario more of a "don't ask for what you wish for because you just might get it"? Let us know.
Please check out my book, The American Dream.