First The Green Rush, Now The Green Rash


Mario Piperni dot Com
What I learned from watching the Republican Convention was that nowadays you can basically lie about anything as long as the market can tolerate the bullshit

By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent
Boy Howdy… Are we fucked
What I learned from watching the Republican Convention was that nowadays you can basically lie about anything as long as the market can tolerate the bullshit. In the past, the market stood for facts, common sense and what we could logically bear as a society. Now the market is based on how much bullshit you can get the American people to accept before their heads overload and explode.
Take American Idol. It was almost a new religion when it premiered in 2002. Now it’s like an elderly third cousin who needs a place to crash for a night or a year. When the American people have had enough of something they let you go quick the way the Church of Scientology jettisons a fanatic parishioner who talks to the press. 
And don’t expect any apology.
See, I don’t care about the lies told at the RNC. They’re on the record but it doesn’t matter. You could tell the American people that cannabis cures cancer but they won’t believe it until they heard from someone they trust like Dr. Oz or Matt Lauer. 
What I do care about are the innocent people who get hurt in the process? I care about my friends, the growers of Northern California.
Did I mention we’re fucked?
Sorry for the crassness but I’m beyond angry. I’m motivated.

Let’s begin with the end.
In the next year or so, the American people are going to be told that, gosh, marijuana does have a medicinal value. At that same time, behind the scenes, that modern hybrid of the private sector lobbyist, who’s also somehow a Senator, plus holds a job with FDA, while he’s on the board of an international pharmaceutical conglomerate, is going to pay-off the right people to get marijuana reclassified down to a Schedule II or III drug designation. 

Gaia Health

By doing this it achieves their ultimate goals of keeping the plant out of the hands of hippies, patients and let’s face it, everyday capitalists who, as shown in 2010, took the cottage industry of cannabis to a new high by offering everything from infused kettle-corn to insurance agencies who protected grower’s crops against future unforeseen calamities. This rescheduling will also solidify the permanent ownership of the plant by the pharmaceutical Warlords. That’s it. Remember where you heard it first.
So, in the meantime, our government has launched a war against its own citizens. The Feds, through propaganda and bullshit, are closing the dispensaries of California. I have no doubt that when they’re done here, they’ll want to get their Rocky Mountain High on or shoot up to Washington State and screw-up what they have going there. 
Everyday I receive calls or emails from friends and concerned citizens with stories, most with tragic implications, about what’s transpiring locally as the result of the Feds’ shutdown of Medical Marijuana throughout the state.
First and foremost, people are broke. Many don’t have even gas money. Some in fatter times were smart enough to have hid coffee cans stuffed with Franklins off property. But many residents of the North Country live not week-to-week but day-to-day. 
While law enforcement reaps headlines for busting illegal grows and marijuana in general, meth still runs rampant in those woods. These small-headed cretins are on the bottom of the employment ladder in the backwoods. When times are bad, these are the desperados who run out of money first.


From Laytonville to Arcata, friends have told me about their neighbors catching meth heads creeping around the woods late at night casing lonely farmhouses for break-ins. These mostly young white men in their twenties prey predominantly on the elderly and others who are too scared to fight back.
A good friend of mine had to move his mother out of her house to town because of break-ins and her fear of being too far away if she needed help. Bands of homeless skinheads are sneaking onto roofs of the unsuspected waiting for the occupants to leave and then they fleece the vacated house.
My friends tell me there’s nothing they can do. It’s not like it was two years ago when you could call the sheriff if you thought someone was going to steal your garden. Today if you do that, you can’t be sure of the response. Much of this new mountain crime goes unreported.  The usual DUIs, spousal abuse, shootings, rape, bar fights, the crimes the area used to be known for, continues as these municipalities struggle with budget cuts and a depleted revenue stream.
Staying with these feral punks, don’t forget that many of them grew up in the area the products of broken homes. They can be found. After a rash of break-ins that occurred over a one-month period in one such small town, the locals didn’t know what to do. The already strapped police force couldn’t catch the punks red-handed at the scene of the crime and needed further proof in order to apprehend the vandals.
Sometimes, when the cops are hamstringed by the law, the locals turn to another source for help. ‘Mountain Justice’ it is sometimes called. Vigilantism would be a more accurate term, but who you gonna call?

This past summer has produced rumors and gossip about thieves and other fuck-ups who had harsh awakenings for the sin of breaking the code of conduct that the growers live by. Those who thought they could get away with robbing their neighbor or not returning with the money, as agreed on, found themselves being torn from their double-wide trailers in the middle of the night.
The victims might be taken to a deserted field off a mountainous road far from lights and sound. Tethered to the ground, naked and blind-folded, the victims cry out that they didn’t do whatever it is their inquisitors think they’ve done. These masked ‘strangers’ threaten to kill the bawling couple if they don’t tell them where their money is. Sometimes they get their money back, sometimes they don’t.
Two weeks ago, a car was discovered at the bottom of a canyon. It was determined that the four bodies in the car had been in the ravine for close to three weeks before it was found. The official report says the car went over a bridge. Foul play was suspected but no one can say for sure what really happened. One of the young men’s father said he knew something was off when his kid hadn’t been home to water his crop for days. 
Another friend who grows is being black-mailed by someone in his town. My buddy is a single-dad raising two kids under fifteen with some help from his live-in mom. He’s been able to keep the kids separated from the gard
en if you know what I mean. For years everything’s been copacetic. A short time ago my friend left his house one evening to go shopping at the Costco in Santa Rosa, leaving mom and kids watching TV and eating mac’n’cheese in the living room. 
Once he was on the freeway his phone rang. A mysterious caller, who was able to get his cell phone number, told my friend that he was parked in front of his home at that moment looking at his family. He described to my freaked-out buddy what his mother was wearing, the empty box of Kraft on the countertop, and what the kids were watching on TV. He knew my friend grew and therefore must have money. He demanded $6,800 in small bills.
Once my friend pays, the stranger said he would leave him alone. My friend had to quit growing to protect his family even though his marijuana patch barely covered his overhead. He wasn’t getting anywhere close to being rich from growing weed. Some asshole assumed where there’s grass there’s money. 

Dish Online

I could recite one bad story after another. What I guess you would call ‘War Stories.’ War Stories is the term people use to describe something so horrific and unnatural to your everyday life, that when you hear one, the most you can do is tell one of your own.
Now these hills are full of object lessons and legends of ski-masked hippies, stuffing organic fruit in the scared mouths of someone who thought they could rip-off, a local, and get out of the Triangle alive. A guy in dirty overalls and a George Bush mask is getting ready to tattoo ‘narc’ on a terrified forehead with a penknife for starters. That’s what they call taking the law in your hands.
We had the Green Rush and now we have the Green Rash.
Our Federal Government is marching like Sherman to Atlanta with the same kind of zealous Scorched Earth mentality. Burn all the fields and throw the landlords in prisons. The whole state is in disarray. If you’re in a cannabis related business in California, anything from lawyer to dispensary owner, your future is uncertain. The guys you think have money, they don’t. 
In 2010 it felt like the sky was the limit when it came to the potential of what was possible in the bright new market called Medical Marijuana. Today you have a better chance of getting a job as travel agent than you do finding work as a Budtender.
The price of marijuana behind the Redwood Curtain has fallen greatly, from where it was a few years ago, causing an economic panic of uncertainty to engulf the region. For an area that’s known for outlaws and others who prefer solitude over noise, this disconnect that’s happening with medical marijuana in California is kind of like poking a hibernating bear with a stick. You can do it but why would you?  
Forcing the growers back into a Black Market economy after tenure of being ‘out’ is not what the grower signed up for.  Illegally removing their trade, no matter how much you dislike cannabis, might not have been the smartest game plan in the world, unless busting your fellow civilians is what you had in mind. 
Our Government has dismantled Medical Marijuana in California in order to squat the virtual property for the Pharmaceutical Behemoths until they are ready to privatize the plant. In the meantime, innocent lives have been crushed for the sin of telling the truth too soon.

Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town correspondent Jack Rikess blogs from the Haight in San Francisco

Jack Rikess, a former stand-up comic, writes a regular column most directly found at

Jack delivers real-time coverage following the cannabis community, focusing on politics and culture.

His beat includes San Francisco, the Bay Area and Mendocino-Humboldt counties.

He has been quoted by the national media and is known for his unique view with thoughtful, insightful perspective.