Right now, California is in the midst of a gold rush. Trimmers come with the contents of a backpack and a dream of earning enough money to buy a car or fund a year of college. Growers come with thousands of investment dollars and the noble aspiration of choking a donkey with gargantuan wads of cash. Both groups can achieve their goals safely as long as they play by three fairly simple rules: Keep quiet, get a license, and use cash. (Or "pass after one," "bring your own," and "don't spill the bongwater," depending on who you ask.)
But Northern California's stinky money press might soon come to a grinding halt. Pot lovers around the country live in hope of the same day most growers dread: legalization. Legalization means federal oversight, licenses, bank accounts, and rules about how many trimmers you can stick in a woodland shack without a functioning bathroom. In other words, it means an end to the gold rush.
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And an end to a golden age for shacks.
There's a reason many growers across California opposed Proposition 19, the 2010 amendment to straight-up legalize marijuana in that state. My primary source for this article supported legalization because "nobody should go to prison for smoking a blunt." But he wasn't the norm. Pot producing counties like Humboldt and Trinity saw a majority of their people vote against Prop 19.
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"I'm not voting against pot, I'm voting for money."
It's worth pointing out that growers in Colorado and Washington haven't exactly seen their profits collapse. But those folks are still paying for their solid gold jet skis and champagne hot tubs in cash. Banks won't take their money yet, and that makes it much easier to avoid pesky crap like taxes. Skirt the DEA and it's a laugh. Fuck with the IRS and the hammer comes down. The growers are all too aware of their impending demise:
"Most of us know we only get four or five more years like this, before Philip-Morris or Marlboro gets into the business. We're Main Street USA, and the Walmart of weed is coming."
For more insider stories, check out 8 Terrifying Life Lessons From a Former Terrorist and 5 Reasons Being a Male Porn Star Is Less Fun Than It Looks.
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