Friday, March 31, 2023

Local Farmer Contemplates the Fragmentation of Mendocino County’s Cannabis Community


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Remember opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of MendoFever nor have we checked the letters for accuracy.

David King cleaning a horse’s hoof [Picture provided by David King]

Our community has a social contract which gives us a short term functional system. What our community lacks is a clear holistic picture of the essence of what our county wants to achieve. Our community has a task at hand. To establish a legal cannabis industry. As individuals we have two ways of processing it. One is the right side of the brain that will see the issue as a community connected. Or the left side of the brain that will see it as individual goals to be achieved with an accumulation of goals that will result in a completed task. This is only natural, but we need to also address the nurture part of the equation. Western culture was wowed by great minds like Sir Isaac Newton. And rightly so, he achieved great wonders by dissecting a complex issue down to a single part then following the narrow path of that part so we could better understand, control and reproduce it. This brilliant idea became the foundation of how we designed our schools for the last 300 years. We break everything into fragments, Though it is effective and essential, it is not the whole picture and it leads to problems. Even if an idea is based on good, it is bound to fail if it doesn’t address the needs of the overall essence of the whole. In addition, such good ideas tend to colonize the area they impact and dominate over other good ideas. We are seeing this around the world in regards to charities. A good fragmentation is only viable if it serves the essence of the whole.

Let’s take some fragmentation examples in the cannabis industry. When Canada legalized a large amount of first time investors, wanting to invest into something good, invested in Canadian cannabis companies. So did people that just wanted to get rich. No one was arguing that cannabis wasn’t a good product with a long track record of use. No one was arguing that to produce cannabis wasn’t beneficial financially. But they built the industry with the tools we were trained to use. They did it in a fragmented manner. No one sat down to establish the essence of what the industry should be. No one talked about patients, workers, community impact and over all goals. No one discussed that retail is essential to actually get the product to the consumer. So the production side was overbuilt. Over 10 billion dollars of real money was lost. The players left standing were only doing so by mergers. In the first year it was estimated that for every $150 million a company was valued, they had 1 billion in investor funds. They had enough money to build a robust production sector. Just think of what they could have achieved with 5 billion dollars invested into retail and community needs. All that money and opportunity lost. So now that we have been shown the epic failed path of fragmentation, we are now doing the same in California. Before Prop 64 we had 14k dispensaries in the state. After years of legal cannabis we have well under 1k. We have compassion, but only with heavy taxation. We have an extinction event on the horizon.

So here we are doing the same thing in our community. We have not defined the essence of our cannabis industry in Mendocino County. We are beginning to fragment. All fragments are working for their version of the good of the community. However, without a clear purpose of the overall essence of the community needs, they will fail.

Let’s take one issue that the majority of the community agrees on. That environmental damage and violent crime needs to be addressed. When Humboldt started to increase eradication, farmers moved to Mendocino. When Sonama did the same, more farmers came. Now we are seeing new signs that growers are becoming more mobile. Meaning they come in and clear a sight and pull one round and leave. Instead of the old days of clearing and staying for a decade or two. This is disturbing since it will be increasing the environmental impact by clearing more often. We have already proven that Law enforcement cannot keep up. But Prop 64 addressed this issue by high taxation and money allocated for eradication. Now we have 100s of millions of dollars piling up at the state level, we are starting to see funds arrive at the county level. All the while we have one fragment of the county that feels that the county is no longer trusted to fix the issue so they want to stop the cannabis program. They feel they are able to build their own program. One of their big issues is the lack of credible enforcement, which is a good cause. Yet they do not see that if the county doesn’t have a cannabis program, which has raised over 6 million, then we will not see the eradication money from the state. The state has made it perfectly clear that those who have a cannabis program will get the bulk of the money. Those wanting to increase eradication under the guise of a noble cause are working to stop the financial means of achieving more eradication. Those wishing to stop the cannabis industry are good people, and their ideas are in a narrow context on the surface look like good ideas, but when you fragment an issue from the whole essence then you have a failed fragment, no matter how good intentions are. As the saying goes “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

All species have a tendency to try and dominate and colonize an environment. This is also how we treat our ideas no matter how good, charitable or just. In the process we narrow our focus, in turn narrowing our contact with other members of the community. Leaving us more fragmented and farther from the overall essence of the community’s needs. No matter how good the idea is, it is bound to fail because it is not in service of the overall essence of the community.

All members have made mistakes during this process. From those who showed up late to the process, to the operators, counties, cities and the state. Mistakes are part of the process. Through the chaos of the process we gain the opportunity to build something. This process will proceed. We are looking at 20 years of development. How effective will we be, working in isolated fragments or in fragments that are representations of the essence of the whole community. This concept is unimaginable and incomprehensible to most raised in a western culture. But the cannabis community is unique. It is one of the most diverse cultures with a strong foundation in inclusiveness. I feel the cannabis community is strong enough to bring us together to overcome some imbalances in our nature and nurture.

-David King, Mendocino County Cannabis Farmer



  1. “But the cannabis community is unique. It is one of the most diverse cultures with a strong foundation in inclusiveness. I feel the cannabis community is strong enough to bring us together to overcome some imbalances in our nature and nurture.” David King.

    Cannabis capitalist masquerades as philosopher-preacher with a woke word or two, but the bottom line is this: Mendocino County was once a bucolic setting with hard working people who obtained their livings from the land and sea. Let’s look what dope has wrought: murder, environmental degradation, a sister industry of meth, and scammers from afar who tell us how to live and that their product will save the world. Lets me honest. Cannabis is dope and nothing more. You light it up to escape reality while everything goes to hell. Check out our country roads. Check out our country schools. Take a look at the Sheriff’s reports; search for the bodies in the hills, and try to ascertain why so many young men born in our neck of the woods are paranoid and schizophrenic before they’re twenty-one years of age. Legal or illegal, go ahead and grow your dope, but don’t tell me, somehow and ambiguously, that one is attempting to make the world a better place.

    • This capitalist has bald tires on my old truck which isn’t a problem because the front end shakes so bad I can’t drive fast. Oh and I know the scene because I have been growing since the early 70s. The issues you have with today’s cannabis I completely agree with and I addressed them in heated arguments with Tony Caver in his office on the coast in the early 90s. . Been fighting this for decades. But with all my experience I must confess there is something I do not understand. What the heck is woke?

  2. Excellent comment , funny how there are a lot of us that see the same thing. Its still just plain ol common dope found on every street corner, the dopers are drawn here like a moth to a flame, a mecca of drugs floatin around out there, somebody has to use them!

  3. Not sure what this was. Perhaps it was a roundabout way to say “Let the county create the program or we will lose eradication funding”? And “well-intentioned people do bad when they want to prevent the county from creating the program and we can fix it later right guys”? Both of those sentiments are WRONG. If you allow the county to go ahead with it’s program you are allowing the opening of rangelands for massive out-of-area corporate interests to set up their mega-grows. You can’t “fix” that later!! If it happens then it is over. This so-called “farmer” wants you to hang out while the county does the bidding of Flo Kana and allows these mega-grows to take over. Because…otherwise we will have illegal cartels taking over? The writer has created a classic False Dilemma. Please sign the petitions opposing the county’s ordinance. Don’t let a few permitted mega-farmers to profit while they invite even bigger mega-farms to come in and destroy every little mom n pop we still have. We should all be protecting our little neighbors- the ones who do right and live humbly. We should not join in on the campaign to steamroll them and sell out our county.

    • we do not want to open up for expansion. But when we address the issue we need to be careful l we are hearing of a potential closing down of the entire industry. This will cut us from state funding. Simply look at the state funding now. See how it relates to which counties get how much funds. Our environmental degradation is out of control. Our county cannot stop it. We need funds. Standing up and saying there is a problem is great, but we need action more than reaction.

  4. “We have an extinction event on the horizon.”
    We sure do, but it’s much larger than the one in focus here.

    And though I personally hold no animosity towards the good herb, the whole push to turn it all into another big economic driver in what is now an over-arching global capitalist machine has done nothing good for the County of Mendocino. The rhetoric about legacies, brands, and a unique community sounds like a PR fever dream. Money is the big incentive here, and that is obvious.

    As it was the former illegal status and threat of criminal penalties that drove the price of this hardy weed into the stratosphere, complete decriminalization may have averted many current developments. But the present heavily controlled and profit-oriented status (a built-in feature of the present dominant economic model) of confusingly regulated quasi-legalization, in a country that has yet to fully agree on it, keeps us all moving towards that looming extinction event, one violation at a time. The place is being trashed in front of us.

    • Quality product will be sold wholesale for under $300 a lb. The PR fever dream is a ploy for investors. It’s just a bubble. We want the right to produce quality product that is very clean. We want to incorporate other crops too. I hope you never need cannabis as a medicine but if you ever do, we are here for you. And hey during the mean time why not get a blood test on your element levels. You see we have a highly tested engineered grow medium that is basically a manufacturing system to produce nutrient dense foods. You see you produce DNA every day. You essentially on average get a whole new body every year. Yes bones take 7 years but on average under a year. But that DNA needs a tool to put it together. They are enzymes. Each enzyme has a elemental cofactor. No element, no enzyme, no DNA sequence without mutation. Mutation is the foundation of disease. So what is the best way to get the elements into your system. You get it from plant matter or animals who eat it. We have the skills to make sure the element you need is available to you. Are goal is to perfect our systems now that we can test and track. Then we export our systems for everyone else. But it takes time because we are broke from the licensing process. Oh and FYI we will happily grow it for $100 a lb.

  5. I truly love this article. I’m all about embracing diversity. There’s no 1 single right way to do things. Our county’s Cannabis policy could be so strong if residents with diverse perspectives could be treated as equals, not just from the county rep perspective, but from our community level perspectives. Let’s respect our diversity and each other and move forward with open communication about solutions and collaboration as our vision, not division.
    Thank you so much for publishing this Matt.

  6. With another drought year approaching and wells running dry of water for merely sustaining life, how can anyone say yes to more and larger cannabis grows? All one needs to do is look at the numbers of grows on Google earth, it’s really amazing how many folks are growing cannabis and not just little ten or twenty plant gardens….Start calling Mendo County “HoopLand”!

    • Just a heads up the county rescinded the phase 3 program so there will be no new expansion and rumor has it majority of the present farmers will not be able to get licenses. We have thousands of acres of grapes and with all the present licenses of cannabis we have under 150 permitted acres in total. We expect that to drop drastically. I have a well full of water and I have a license but I am not planted because the market is flooded. So just because the books show the amount allowed to cultivate it doesn’t actually mean it is being cultivated. But I commend you on your concern about water usage, I hope you will keep your concern when you realize that cannabis is a drop in the bucket.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at if you know a story that needs to be told.

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