How did you begin growing marijuana?
I’ve been living here most of my life. Since 1978. There were no jobs after the mill closed. We talked about moving and selling our property. We went down to Sacramento and it was terrible. We didn’t want to raise our kids there with all the crime. There were gangs, and I didn’t want my kids exposed to that.
I’m 51 years old. I’ve had cancer twice, and I use the leaves to make a tea for CBDs (cannabinoids). I’ve been growing a lot longer than it’s been legal. It’s kind of necessary to get by. And a lot of times you fail: sometimes worms or something else ruins your pot. Sometimes you get ripped off or get busted. Getting busted is worse, because you have to pay fines. You have to have fingers in a lot of pies to get by. I do a lot of things to supplement my income. I don’t have a regular paycheck.
What do you think about the effects of the marijuana industry on the community?
It’s like the gold rush—people come here to get rich and get out. There are trimmers that hitchhike here all the way from New York. It takes its toll on the community. We don’t grow 99 plants. We don’t need that many. I haven’t grown over 35 plants, I couldn’t manage more. I’d have to hire people to help, and that would be expensive.