From The LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/local/abcarian/la-me-abcarian-cannabis-twins-20161020-snap-story.html
Robin Abcarian October 19, 2016
don’t end up in Round Valley, one of Mendocino County’s finest
cannabis-growing micro climates, by accident. It is well northeast of
Highway 101, along a winding mountain road that follows the curves of
Outlet Creek and the Middle Fork of the Eel River.
minutes, the valley comes into view. From a lookout called Inspiration
Point, even in a light drizzle, Round Valley is a picture of bucolic
grace, with wheat-colored fields, black cows and green orchards
spreading out below.
Many of those groves conceal marijuana plants
— or trees as they call them around here — which flourish in the rich
alluvial soil of the valley’s fertile bottomland.
through the valley is dead straight, punctuated by one town, Covelo,
population about 1,200. Just past town, I pulled onto a farm owned by
Robert and John Cunnan, identical 76-year-old twins who were born in
Glendale and left Southern California more than 40 years ago seeking a
“We came here with the back-to-the-land movement,”
Robert told me as we stood in front of a shed where dozens of fragrant
cannabis stalks were hanging to dry.
For $6,500, the brothers
bought 10 acres with a creek down the middle. They built craftsman-style
homes for themselves and raised families on food they grew in their
gardens and money earned as cabinet makers for what they call
“mom-and-pop” businesses — restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques. They
got by, but barely.
“A friend of mine came up here in 1985, grew
marijuana and sold it for $2,000 a pound,” Robert said. “And that’s when
I thought, ‘You know, you might be able to make a little money doing
This, pretty much, is the very thought that has crossed
the minds of untold thousands of Mendocino County residents, beleaguered
by the crashing logging and fishing industries, and willing to flout
the law to support their families.
“At one time, I sold stuff for
$5,000 a pound,” Robert said. “It was worth more than gold. Now, it’s
down to $1,200 to $1,500. But cannabis allowed me to finish my house and
get comfortable.” (Yields vary wildly, but in these parts, each tree
can produce two to four pounds or more.)
“I consider myself a
teacher and a woodworker,” said John, who commutes to Ukiah once a week
to teach woodworking in two schools. “The cannabis is just to fill in
where the teaching and woodworking don’t pay the bills.”
the Cunnans would be strong proponents of legalizing cannabis for
recreational use. As it turns out, they oppose Proposition 64, which
would regulate and tax cannabis for the adult market.
And they are not alone.
Many small marijuana farmers, as it happens, see Proposition 64 as a threat to their way of life.
believe that a legal, regulated cannabis market could open the
floodgates to corporatization of the industry, pushing taxes up and
prices down, perhaps forcing them out of business altogether.
thing you need to realize is that this is a movement that is becoming
an industry,” Robert said. “The movement was organic gardening, the
back-to-the-land, alternative lifestyle. We were the original generation
that came out here and set up our pot gardens.”
businesses squeezed out by big-box retailers, he said, so are pot
farmers in danger of being squeezed out of business once big
corporations get a toehold in the cannabis business.
Continue reading at: http://www.latimes.com/local/abcarian/la-me-abcarian-cannabis-twins-20161020-snap-story.html
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