Hints for marijuana growers and the people who love ’em
Editor’s note: For the past five years, Crash Barry has pursued the neo-homesteading lifestyle in eastern Oxford County. This is the eighth of a dozen essays about his attempts to live closer to nature.
Here’s a surefire technique to increase trichome production on your marijuana plant. In the second week of flowering, start adding a little organic frass (a type of beetle feces available at better grow stores) to your compost tea, and in the third week scratch more frass into the soil around the plant. Then sit back and watch the magic happen.
The plant apparently senses the beetle shit and is tricked into thinking she’s under attack by the insect predators. Her response is to generate more trichomes (the microscopic sacs, filled with THC and other cannabinoids, found on the plant’s surface) in an attempt to coat her seeds with the sticky stuff and thereby dissuade the enemy from eating her future babies. However, since most modern cannabis cultivation is seedless (thanks to the use of clones, feminized seeds, and the early detection and disposal of any pollen-producing males), the increased trichome production translates into higher THC levels on the buds, which means better pot that enables you to use less and still get wicked high.
Consumers of marijuana should take a gander at their medicine through a magnifying glass before buying it. If the stuff is grown with love and care, prepare to be amazed by a crystalline world. If the ganja was harvested too soon or “tumbled” by unscrupulous middlemen — in order to remove the THC for their own use or for resale as kief — then a close look will reveal broken or missing crystals, a desolate landscape largely devoid of the herbal benefits and probably not worth purchasing.
Just adding frass won’t result in miracles. But now that many Mainers are growing in backyard gardens, rather than deep in the woods, any extra-special care and attention can work wonders. A happy marijuana plant loves to eat and adores well-drained soil. Her favorite food is an easily absorbed nutrient soup of aerated compost tea composed of a variety of guano mixed with worm castings, molasses, humic acid and other goodies. Teeming with beneficial microbes, the tea feeds her roots and her soul and inoculates the plant against anaerobic disease, so she can thrive during the muggy nights and foggy mornings of late summer, conditions that can cause beautiful bud to turn moldy and unusable.
As often happens in agriculture, as soon as one enemy is vanquished another rears its ugly head. Consider the plight of the modern cannabis cultivators whose healthy farming practices have reduced the threats from molds, mildew and mites, but who now face another trio of loathsome pests — the New Prohibitionists, politicians and tie-wearing corporatists — conspiring to destroy Maine’s locally owned and operated marijuana industry while making their out-of-state overlords tons of cash.
The most laughable of the foes are the New Prohibitionists who call themselves SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). The leader of these scolds is Patrick Kennedy, the former Rhode Island congressman with a colorful history of pill and alcohol abuse. Helping him are former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum and ex-Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, a pair of talking puppets who have profited handsomely by propagating lies on behalf of their former governmental masters.
These three knuckleheads and their local minions know the tide of marijuana prohibition has turned and legalization is inevitable, so they’ve started advocating for a kinder, gentler War on Drugs. SAM’s purportedly “smart approach” is to arrest marijuana users and, instead of jailing them, sentence the stoners to court-ordered probation, counseling and mandatory drug testing. (Under current Maine law, most people caught with small amounts of illegal reefer just have to pay a modest fine — assuming the cop even bothers to write up a citation.)
I think most Mainers realize SAM’s plan is downright nuts. The group’s scheme would add a huge load to our already overburdened court system and waste more public resources while spawning a new bureaucracy and bankrolling an industry controlled by Big Counseling, the expensive talk-therapy and behavior-modification subsidiary of Big Pharma.
Despite SAM’s stupidity, the mainstream media insists on treating it like a legitimate entity. Its bogus “scientific findings” go unchallenged by reporters and are relentlessly repeated in fear-mongering public service announcements, boring blogs and other propaganda.
Meanwhile, in the Legislature, Sen. Scott Cyrway, a Republican from Benton, is working hard to obstruct any progress on the marijuana front. Most notably, he was able to convince his colleagues during this past session not to override a gubernatorial veto of a bill to set up a system for laboratory testing of medical marijuana. According to witnesses, Sen. Cyrway warned colleagues that testing facilities could be covers for large-scale, illegal grow operations. Which, of course, is a nonsensical lie. The much-needed labs would test for molds and mildew and measure the herb’s potency. Thanks to Cyrway’s untruths, it will continue to be unnecessarily difficult for patients, doctors and growers to find out what’s in their medicine.
Luckily, Cyrway’s argument against a bill to allow medical marijuana to be used in hospitals was ignored, so it will become law. He reportedly said that hospitals shouldn’t be dispensing addictive substances like marijuana, and claimed he’d never let a family member receive treatment in a facility that dispensed such a dangerous drug.
Cyrway, a veteran Kennebec County sheriff’s deputy, has been state coordinator of Maine’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program for over two decades. The dude is scared. Ending Prohibition will derail this gravy train. D.A.R.E. is obviously a failure and scam. Look at the lousy job it’s done teaching Maine kids about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. In 2014, the year Cyrway was elected to the Legislature, a record number of Mainers died of drug overdoses — 208, up from 176 the year before.
Yet marijuana, which has caused zero overdoses ever, is the focus of Sen. Cyrway’s drug-reform crusade. What a numbskull.
Granted, the Democrats’ side of the aisle isn’t any better. Perhaps the best news of this year’s circus-like Legislative session was the complete failure of Portland Rep. Dianne Russell’s bill to legalize weed on behalf of multi-national corporations. Russell will be term-limited out of the statehouse next year, but I expect she’ll soon resurface as a lobbyist for Big Marijuana, Big Bourbon, or one of the faux-progressive organizations heavy on administration and light on accomplishment.
I’ve been extremely disappointed by Democratic Portland Rep. Mark Dion’s efforts to legalize marijuana in a way that would hugely profit the medical marijuana dispensaries while shutting out small Maine farmers. Back when Dion was deputy chief of the Portland P.D., and then the progressive sheriff of Cumberland County, I was often impressed by his willingness to look out for the downtrodden. And in a legislative session last year, after listening to scores of concerned citizens during public hearings, Dion admirably admitted that he’d been wrong to propose a law to ban cannabis concentrates. (These potions are amazing medicine for many people with seizure disorders, and are an emerging treatment for Lyme disease and certain cancers.) So I know the dude is a good guy. Yet he’s still a politician, in addition to being a lawyer and a former cop.
By the way, don’t be fooled by any song-and-dance from the so-called “non-profit” medical marijuana dispensaries. These state-sanctioned drug dealers are far worse, in terms of the price and quality of their product, than most black marketeers in Maine. Dispensary officials have publicly defended the price of their almost $400-per-ounce marijuana as being necessary to prevent patients from reselling their medicine. Huh? That idea doesn’t pass the straight-face test, plus it shows a disdain for patients. Being “non-profit” doesn’t mean a dispensary won’t overpay management while low-balling workers and ripping off customers with high-priced, swaggy weed. And besides, their stuff is grown indoors, under lights, and kept alive using chemicals that most marijuana farmers wouldn’t touch. Whenever I’m offered dispensary weed, I decline.
I also recommend Mainers “just say no” to the suits on the payroll of the Marijuana Policy Project, an outfit from Washington D.C. that’s devoted over 100 grand so far to collect signatures for a referendum to “regulate marijuana like alcohol.” The MPP wants to create an industry that benefits corporations while shutting down competition from Maine farmers. They propose to tax ganja at a whopping 16 percent. And, mind-bogglingly, the MPP wants stricter laws against marijuana possession, making it a criminal offense to possess over an ounce of weed. These guys are just as bad as the New Prohibitionists. Gotta wonder if they’re secretly working together on behalf of a shady drug cartel, the bastard son of an unholy coupling between Big Pharma and Big Booze.
I’m gonna say this slowly in case any legislators are still reading: marijuana … is not … like … alcohol. We’re not even talking apples and oranges. This is more like apples and guns. Over a million bottles of Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy are sold annually in Maine, and that’s less than a tenth of the state’s sanctioned liquor industry. The negative economic and societal impacts of booze are too immense to measure and impossible to ignore. Yet this is the system the MPP thinks we should emulate. It’s obvious these folks don’t know their way around a garden and never get close to the plant. Which is so sad.
Marijuana is a gift from the universe to humanity, an herb that’s grown wonderfully in Maine for generations without causing society to collapse. As we’ve seen with the emerging medical-marijuana-caregiver industry, the economic benefits of growing ganja locally are substantial. Several dozen new grow stores have sprouted across Maine, and the industry has buoyed the fortunes of the state’s Farmers Unions, which have historically made fat cash off of growers. All those enterprises are collecting sales taxes destined for Augusta’s yawning money pit, not to mention all the income and property taxes paid by those growing and making this medicine.
Fortunately, we have a chance to rid Maine of both the New Prohibitionists and the MPP. (Alas, we’re stuck with the Legislature.) I’ve made no secret of my support for Legalize Maine’s competing referendum. Under their plan, cannabis would be “regulated” like the plant that she is, under the auspices of the state Department of Agriculture. (For the record, I’m not a member of Legalize Maine because I wouldn’t want any perceived connection to my loud mouth to taint their good name.)
Here’s the deal: If you want marijuana to be treated with the respect she deserves, rather than as a potential murderess, then you should support Legalize Maine and tell the MPP to devote their energy and corporatist dollars to marijuana liberation efforts in New Hampshire or Texas.
If you support the right of each adult Mainer to grow six flowering plants, while having six plants vegging and another six seedlings waiting in the wings, then get behind Legalize Maine and tell the MPP their six-plant limit is a dozen too few.
If you wanna boost the local farm-to-bong movement, then get behind Legalize Maine. Small-scale, farmer-owned marijuana production will create well-paying, permanent jobs for thousands of rural Mainers — especially women, since everybody knows the touch of the feminine green thumb grows the very best weed.
The long-awaited demise of federal marijuana Prohibition is looming. Meanwhile, corporatists are trying to figure out the best way to get their fat sausage fingers into the pot of pot money that’ll materialize once those archaic and unjust laws are off the books. But if we move quickly and legalize herb on the state level, before the rest of the country cashes in, we can help ensure that Mainers benefit the most from local cannabis.
If we act soon enough, we just might be able to keep America out of Maine.
Crash Barry will be appearing at the Green Love Festival at Harry Brown’s Farm in Starks on August 15, along with Paranoid Social Club and Max Creek.