Local cannabis cultivators at The Remedy find a home and safe haven in California
It is easy for cannabis-using Californians to forget how good they have it. As of January 1 this year, possessing an ounce or less of marijuana is an infraction punishable by a $100 fine and no criminal record. If you have a medical-cannabis referral, it is basically legal for you to possess, ingest and grow marijuana in California.
Not true in America’s south, where medieval marijuana laws can ruin a pothead’s life. In Florida, 25 marijuana plants is a felony that could get you 15 years in prison. If you get caught growing one plant in the state of Virginia, you can end up in prison for five to 30 years. Any amount of weed can get you a prison term of a year in Tennessee and Alabama.
“Back home, they hold you back from being yourself,” explained Bear, the manager of local cannabis club The Remedy. “You can’t even mention weed. We are from the Bible-belt, redneck, Republican South.”
Russell, Troy, and Bear are three Southern gentlemen who run The Remedy, a medicinal-marijuana dispensary that grows all of its own pot. Cultivating and nurturing weed is their passion, one that they used to have to hide as if they were members of Al Qaeda.
“From seed to sale,” boasted Russell. “I know everything about our product from the roots up.”
The Remedy’s short but sweet homegrown menu has OG Skywalker, Casey Jones, Green Candy, 707 Headband and an heirloom Juicy Fruit strain that survived because of one found seed. Another strain, which I haven’t seen much, is Sweet Island Skunk, a 70-30 hybrid from the Federation Seed Company, which went out of business in 2009, and is probably only found at The Remedy.
According to test results from Halent Laboratories, The Remedy’s Cherry AK-47 has a mind-boggling 27.6 percent THC level. It also makes its own hashish using its many strains of AK47.
Over the last three years, Russell, Troy, Bear and their families, plus other like-minded friends, all medical marijuana growers from the South, have moved to California. Making their homes in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, they’ve enjoyed their adopted state and grown medical marijuana without fear. But the trade-off is being away from family and friends.
“We let go of a lot when we moved here,” said Bear. “We have a lot of inner grief from leaving home, but California is where dreams are made.”
I asked them what is it that they like best about living in California, and all three answered simultaneously: