Author’s Note (2021) & Links to Vignettes (Table of Contents)
Author’s Note (2021)
As with many writers, I seek to provide context to this work that I completed over 15 years ago. You’re more than welcome to skip straight to the stories, though.
Pot culture and economics have changed drastically in the past five years — not to mention the past twenty years. While it is a relief to see decriminalization and increased medical and recreational use legalized — and certainly many lives are better for it — the economic commercialization comes at a cultural cost: financial success and legality overran, mutated, or killed a variety of small subcultures that operated on legality’s edge. During the decade I lived in Humboldt, the culture transformed rapidly — it quickly lost some of its best facets, like loyalty under pressure, while integrating some of the worst (home invasion, torture, betrayal).
I’m publishing the vignettes for several reasons. First, I hope other people enjoy reading them. Second, and more importantly, I think I have captured some of the cultural ethos that made this community so special and engaging — a place where you wanted to belong because it gave you an instant home. It’s an ethos I miss, in most cases, and it’s one that made for a relatively healthy community. Third, publishing is a way to honor my elders and ancestors: traits, names, quirks, events, and objects that show up in the vignettes connect directly to numerous people who I cared about deeply.
During the 2000s, I was fortunate enough to live in Arcata in Humboldt County. At the time, it was hard to not be on the fringe or edge of multiple growing communities and cultures — you could literally throw a stone in any direction and hit a grow house. At the time, growers renting houses made it practically impossible for non-weed growers to even be able to afford a house to rent in the area — but that’s another story. After living there several years, I wanted to record what I found as the surreal, fascinating, amazing, and horrific aspects of the cannabis community there. From 2021 hindsight, people would like to label it communities; however, from what I was able to determine at the time, everybody knew everyone else through one or two degrees of separation.