Transcript: Podship Earth Episode 010: GREENING WEED

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  Welcome to Podship Earth. This is your host, Jared Blumenfeld. This weekend, April plays host to both weed day on 420 and Earth day on the 22nd. The events were both born in the early 1970s. Both celebrate nature, and both have people coming together to share what they love. This week outside an Earth Day event in San Francisco, I ran into Friday Apaliski. What do you do Friday?

 

FRIDAY APALISKI: I'm a sustainability concierge.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  Wow. Okay, and what's your tip for Earth Day? What can people do?

 

FRIDAY APALISKI: Think about whatever purchase it is that you're making. Do I really need this thing, am I buying it from the most sustainable place?

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  If one of your clients who you are concierging for wanted to get some green weed, how would you hook them up?

 

FRIDAY APALISKI:  That is such a great question.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  In this week's episode, we're going to find out the answer to the question, how green is weed?

 

NEWS:  At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s, California will become the eighth state to legalize recreational marijuana. Legal marijuana use may be getting a big boost in 2018. Seven states now eyeing legislation to legalize both recreational and medical marijuana in the coming year.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  Nine states including Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Nevada, Maine, and Washington, DC allow for recreational marijuana use and 30 states allow for medical use, which means weed is now big business. In the U.S., the emerging legal cannabis industry took a nearly $9,000,000,000 in sales in 2017, and that was before California opened its massive retail market. At the same time, the black market continues to capture an estimated 46 billion in annual sales. California's 53,000 cannabis farmers produce about 13 and a half million pounds of weed per year.  About two and a half million pounds are consumed in the Golden State and the rest - 11 million pounds - get shipped to the rest of the country. What is less understood and very often ignored are the environmental impacts of growing all this weed. These fall into four main categories: water use, energy for indoor groves, pesticides and waste. In today's show, we'll talk with weed regulators, farmers, and entrepreneurs about how to make the movement greener. First, let's do a quick overview of weed’s eco impact. Water use.

 

In the Emerald Triangle region of northern California, made up of Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity Counties, four water sheds alone supply water to approximately 32,000 marijuana plants, depleting each water shed up to 192,000 gallons per day. That's six times more water than is used daily by all San Francisco residents. Energy use. One third of all the nations’ weed is grown indoors.  In California alone, this accounts for about nine percent of the state's residential energy use. Nationwide, indoor weed operations use enough energy to power 1. 7 million homes and each pound of indoor weed produces a startling 4,600 pounds of CO2, equivalent to driving your car for six months. Pesticides. Colorado recalled cannabis flowers in October 2015 due to pesticide contamination and required the removal of some 20,000 packages from dispensary shelves. California’s situation may be even worse. Steep Hill labs which tests cannabis reported that 85 percent of the samples submitted for inspection contained levels of pesticide residue prohibited by Oregon standards. Waste. In 2013, California agencies had to haul away 119,000 pounds of trash, 17,000 pounds of fertilizers, pull down 89 illegal dams and pull out 81 miles of irrigation piping from 329 crow sites. Since weed had been legalized in California and other states, farmers must comply with a host of new environmental laws designed specifically for the cannabis industry. As of this month, only three percent of California's 53,000 marijuana farmers have been issued licenses by the state of California.

 

This is a very interesting time to be looking at the greening of weed. We start by talking with Eric Sklar, who is the CEO of Napa Valley Fume, a cannabis management company. Eric is also a Napa Valley vineyard owner and public official. He and his family have been growing grapes in Napa for 40 years and he has recently planted his first licensed cannabis garden. Eric is the president of the California fish and game commission. Tell us a little bit about the industry itself.  It’s huge but break it down for us.

 

ERIC SKLAR:  I come from the wine business most recently and I would say it's exactly like the grape growing business in the sense of how it affects the environment. You know, there are great farms down in the central valley that use enormous amounts of pesticides that are poisoning the water and depleting the soil.  And then there's Napa Valley where we want wines that don't have any additives because we're seeking the highest quality we possibly can. We're very conscious about our waterways. We restored the Napa River to the point where steelhead are full swing back up the river when they hadn't been for 40 years. So just like the wine business where there's incredible range, the cannabis business is the same. At the one end are the illegal grows often run by Mexican cartels that are finding little spots and private land or public land, damming a stream using pesticides and chemicals that we don't even allow in this country.  They are bringing that in and they're poisoning those rivers and they are poisoning the soil, and they're poisoning the people who are smoking that cannabis.

 

At the other end, are people I know who were up in Mendocino who are about this, this is a spirit plant. And they believe it's you know a living thing that they need to foster, like they would their children.  They wouldn't dare put any chemicals in the soil. They only use natural fertilizers that they actually make themselves so that they are certain that it's pure. They hand tend these plants. They, you know, pick the insects off rather than, use chemicals. The good news is that part of Prop 64 is that all legal cannabis, all cannabis that's being sold in licensed stores, must be tested by third party labs. So that is no grower, no retailer can own a lab. These labs have to be owned by businesses that do nothing but that and every batch of cannabis that goes to the stores or delivery service has to be tested and the thresholds that they set are far lower than even for most of our food products in the state. So they're going to have to show that from seed to sale, this cannabis has been tracked and that at some point in the process when it gets to the distribution, it's been tested.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  So, what's your prediction of a year from now? How much of the total market will be legal versus still illegal.

 

ERIC SKLAR:  What I think is that most of the cannabis sold in California will become legal because I think most people want to avoid breaking the law. They want to make sure it's clean and that's going to be a way they know it's clean by not buying it on the black market. What's going to happen with the illegal cannabis is most of it's going to be shipped out of state. So the cartels aren't going away until we have national legalization.

 

Speaker 3:  And how are you making the migration from vines to cannabis?

 

Speaker 4:  So, I began because of my bias as a grape grower where there's just no question that the soil and the microclimate makes an enormous difference in the quality of the wine. I'm starting with outdoor growing.

 

Speaker 3:  Now that you'll migrating into cannabis to people like, oh my god, Eric, why are you doing?

 

Speaker 4:  A year ago, I probably wouldn't have mentioned it at all. Overall, it's eased up. I had a conversation with a guy who's probably in his early seventies, real country club, Republican kind of guy. I told him that I had stopped. I'm no longer making wine. I'm entering the cannabis business. And he didn't even jump. He said, tell me about that. And so, I think that the mood has changed enough that it really isn't that big of a deal.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  California divided the oversight responsibility of cannabis cultivation and testing to a number of agencies who accredited with working together to regulate the weed industry. The bureau of cannabis control is the lead agency in regulating commercial cannabis licenses. The California water board oversees cannabis cultivators taking water from streams, creating illegal dams, draining wetlands, leaving hazardous waste at abandoned sites, and illegal, clear cutting of forests for growth sites. I met up with Cris Carrigan, who is the chief enforcement officer for the California.

 

CRIS CARRIGAN:  Did you ever think when you got involved in this work that you would end up being the enforcement entity of a cannabis?

 

Speaker 5: I did not actually. It was quite a surprise and not came about in a little bit unusual fashion, but really once I started getting into it and digging into it, it became natural. About six years ago, we were looking at a sort of a paradigm shift amongst some of the civic leaders in northern California from a law enforcement type model to a regulatory model. The law enforcement model wasn't providing sufficient protection for water quality and flows in streams that were occupied by endangered species.


 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  I remember seeing cannabis growing in national parks and public land. Is this still going on?

 

CRIS CARRIGAN: These guerrilla type trespass grows are still a matter for law enforcement and they just have to be. There's no way those can be legalized and regulated.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  You've got the private landowners and then you have the indoors, right?

 

CRIS CARRIGAN:  I think those are the three major categories of areas where we'll focus.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  Tell us about the types of threats that marijuana cultivation was having to the California environment.

 

CRIS CARRIGAN:  Well, the threats are really in two main categories. One is the amount of water that was being diverted or taken out of streams, and of course that affects the fish, salmon and steelhead trout that reside in those streams. Then also discharges or the addition of pollutants to those waters from the operations. And we'd see on the private land grows, the most damaging of those additions is usually sediment from land clearing activities.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  Is this really that big a problem?

 

CRIS CARRIGAN:  It's a really big problem depending on location. We're looking at endangered streams in the

north coast, like China Creek and Redwood Creek where eight or 10 farms could really have an impact on the amount of water in the stream, especially during the dry summer months when the cannabis needs a lot of water, but there's no supply coming in from rainfall.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  So, you're really seeing streams that are drying up that were healthy before. And the major culprit was cannabis grows.

 

CRIS CARRIGAN:  We are seeing three to four years in a row where we have streams completely de-watered and that can lead to extinction events for salmon.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  And so, when you meet with a private grow on, let's say China Creek and you explained this to them, are they receptive? I mean, how does that conversation go when you're meeting with folks?

 

CRIS CARRIGAN:  It goes three ways. It goes, get off my land or I'll shoot you. It goes, hey, I'm not really taking that much water. And it goes, I would really like to help you and do the right thing. So, it really goes three different ways. And so, our objective at the office of enforcement and on the water park's part in general is to sort of weed out, so to speak, those who can and will cooperate and incentivize that type of behavior from those who can't or won't.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  So, what about the third category of person? You, you drive up the driveway, they've got the shotgun, they're like, get off my land Chris now.

 

CRIS CARRIGAN:  So, this is where we use our enforcement tools in what I'm usually used to doing. We issue fines and civil penalties of up to $10,000 per day of noncompliance. We can go on their land and cleanup nuisance conditions there. We can get warrants for doing that. We can get injunctive relief from courts to compel them to stop diverting water or stop discharging waste.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  What kind of pesticide and herbicide application do you see in a normal grow?

 

CRIS CARRIGAN:  Pesticides are an issue for us for sure. We do see problems associated with pest site application. If we can educate people on best practices, I think we could make significant progress there.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  There must be a lot of folks that are just used to doing operations under the cloak of darkness and I didn't know how you'd characterize it, but it seemed like a lot of people wouldn't want to visit from you still.

 

CRIS CARRIGAN:  That's absolutely correct. I think what we've been trying to say is we'll help you do it, will help you learn how to do it, but you just don't have a license to pollute and that's the way it's going to go.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  So, what's the biggest challenge of the new regulatory environment?

CRIS CARRIGAN:  So, the biggest problem is to for now is to make sure those who are incurring the cost of regulatory compliance are getting rewarded because their product is not being undercut in the market by black market.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  How would you describe your enforcement priorities in the year ahead? Where are the areas that you're going to focus your efforts?

 

CRIS CARRIGAN:  We've identified three to five priority streams where we think we may have extinction events, we’ll have serious amount of water consumption problems and potentially sediment discharged problems. And we're going to go out and inspect every facility in that site. We'll probably issue a lot of fix it tickets. We are going to expand next year to other areas of the state, but this will happen on the central coast, the north coast and the northern Central Valley this year.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  Someone who has a lot of knowledge of the areas of California that Cris will be visiting is

 

Mikey Steinmetz who founded Flow Kana in 2013. Mikey partners with farmers in Mendocino and Humboldt counties in California’s Emerald Triangle who produce sustainable sun grown cannabis. When the legalization of recreational weed was put on the ballot in California in 2016, voters restricted licensed cannabis farms to one acre in size so that small scale farmers could get a head start. However, new regulations now allow farmers to seek an unlimited number of small licenses opening the market to Big Ag.

 

MIKEY STEINMETZ:  I think there there's a big risk that Big Ag will take over and we'll go by, you know, the same traditional path that humanity has gone down before with traditional agriculture or industrial agriculture. And at least in California, unlike any other states, we have a very unique ecosystem of farmers.

 

In cannabis, we have a massive production right from this Emerald Triangle region. There's about 53,000 cannabis farmers that are collectively putting out between 60 to 85 percent of the cannabis consumed nationwide. And what's unique about their lifestyle and their way of doing it is that prohibition kind of forced them to go out and hide, right? Forced them to go off grid, forced them to go off of the main cities and the main road and they're kind of living just totally off grid lives, sustainable with solar panels, rain catchment, and diversified farming practices where they're growing their own soil. And I think what's really beautiful is that you see the cannabis plant next to tomatoes and cabbage and sunflowers and strawberries and other kinds of barriers. And it's, it's, it's really an agricultural crop, and it belongs in this bigger, grander farm ecosystem.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  You sound like an environmentalist, Mikey.

 

MIKEY STEINMETZ:  I really do feel that Flow kind of really isn't about weed. I really do think that this is a movement around the environment. It's a movement around developing a new agricultural model that benefits the many and benefits and planet rather than the few. You know, I think this crop has the potential to overturn alcohol and tobacco sales. It's going to be a massive, massive industry and the implications and ramifications for humanity are huge.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  So, where your weed comes from - I don't think it’s a question that many people have been asking. Why should they ask it?

 

MIKEY STEINMETZ:  I think it's hypercritical that people are very conscious of where their dollars are spent and what they're consuming in their body. I would invite them to ask themselves the question every single time they pick up a product, you know, where it was grown, by whom it was grown, and how it was grown. Those three questions are hypercritical in the end result and the end value of the product you're going to be getting. I mean you're taking everything bad that's going into that cultivation aspect.

 

[SPONSOR MESSAGE]

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  I drive two hours north of San Francisco to visit with small cannabis farms in Mendocino that are dotted throughout the rolling hill sides. I navigate along unmarked winding dirt roads that aligned with coast live oak, madrone trees and manzanita bushes. The air smells fresh. I'm traveling to meet three farmers to learn about their work to grow what they describe as beyond organic weed. The first farm I meet is Johanna Mortz.

 

JOHANNA MORTZ:  I worked in a dispensary in Los Angeles. I only asked myself like, what did it look like, how did it smell, and what did it do to me? Never where did it come from, how was it grown and what is in it? When I moved up here and started learning about cultivation, my mind was blown.


 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  What were you witnessing in terms of the environmental impacts of the cannabis cultivation that you saw?

 

JOHANNA MORTZ:  I still see like the horror stories, you know, of the people bulldozing hillsides using pots, pouring nutrients and pesticides, and then it’s running into the water and ruining the water, the fish, the environment. I hear all the horror stories of how some of the people have to cultivate cannabis, and it saddens me because there's no need. There's no need.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  Next I get introduced to Micah Flause, who is Johanna's partner. Micah. What's it like being a weed farmer in 2018?

 

Micah:  It is hard work being a cannabis farmer and it's getting exponentially harder as the regulations get implemented and the new market kind of develops and I think the work is changing. It used to be very physical activity and I used to spend a lot of time outside in the garden, and now lots of paperwork and tax schemes. We as regulated operators would like to see the black market go away, but we're not going to turn in our neighbors. So, we need to figure out a system together with the government that doesn't encourage the black market and the illicit activity. And we can really set a very high bar for the next century and see if we can kind of pull back some of the issues that we created last.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  I drive further into the Mendocino hills to meet with Cyril Guthridge at Water Dog Farms.

 

CRYIL GUTHRIDGE:  Did you notice the wild flowers on the drive in?

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  Stunning. How long have you been farming?

 

CRYIL GUTHRIDGE:  Well, we've been on this property for five years and I've been cultivating cannabis since 2002.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  16 years.

 

CRYIL GUTHRIDGE:  Correct. And it really started with just the love of plants in general as a child. It really starts with the soil for us and we just happen to be growing amazing medicinal plants in the soil. But the foundation of what we do is soil health, land restoration, creek restoration, forest restoration, and just good land stewardship.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  And then cannabis.

 

CRYIL GUTHRIDGE:  Cannabis has actually been the subsidy that's been allowing us to do this. And what we've

learned is the more diverse your garden is, the better your cannabis is going to be.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  You seem pretty off the grid up here. What kind of fertilizer do you use?

 

CRYIL GUTHRIDGE:  We start with the horse manure.  That goes to the chickens. Once the chicken's compost it, that goes to the worms. Once the worms are done with it, it goes out to the farm.

JARED BLUMENFELD:  And that’s the only input you have?

 

CRYIL GUTHRIDGE: We do have some input, but very little. So, I think it's important to switch over to some science to just work smarter because our whole method here is using nature to make nature better instead of hands off and just kind of let the cosmos take place. And so, you know, what you're seeing here is basically a permaculture inspired little ecosystem.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  Back at Polykulture Cannyard, Johanna agrees that less is more.

 

JOHANNA MORTZ:  We model after the Redwood forest. There's nobody out there feeding those trees. Mother nature does a great job. It's a miraculous system if we just let it be. We use water only, so we feel like, we just kind of help support what the cannabis plant can do naturally on its own.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  Is it harder to grow weed, greener? What’s the big difference?

 

JOHANNA MORTZ:  We as humans have over complicated things. This cleaner, greener way, really allows for human input to be far less and, and no bottled nutrients and no pesticides, which I hear, you know, can run new hundreds or thousands of dollars. And so, I think it's a much more cost effective, sustainable method.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  So obviously you'll grow is entirely outside, powered by sunshine.

 

JOHANNA MORTZ:  I definitely think if you're at all concerned with global warming or are Plan A or your carbon footprint that you would choose sun grown over indoor. The comparison is that we don't use electricity or energy. We use the sun which is free, and it not only is it free, but it produces a much bigger and greater array of light.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  Back with Cyril Guthridge at Water Dog Farm, I asked him how many other weed farmers thinking like him.

 

CRYIL GUTHRIDGE:  You know, I'd say a majority of my network thinks like this, a lot of the people that we work with in our distribution company, they also are thinking this way. And to me it's a way to really lower our costs.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  What I'm seeing today, which is kind of cool though, is like if you care about the environment, if you care about restoration in a place like Mendocino by getting Water Dog weed, you're actually helping that. That's the crop that's affording you the opportunity to do the restoration. So, it's almost like membership of environmental organization.

 

CRYIL GUTHRIDGE:  Yeah, that's a great way to look at it. And what I really think is this needs to be happening across the planet, and if people have another subsidy that's going to allow them to do that, I think that's great because I just don't think everyone wants to grow cannabis where they're at.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  What are we going to see next?

 

CRYIL GUTHRIDGE:  Well let's go walk over here and we'll look at some just medicinal herbs that are growing. We got some Goji Berries over here, that's a pomegranate, and walk this way.

JARED BLUMENFELD:  And so as a consumer, when they go to the dispensary, why should they care?

 

CRYIL GUTHRIDGE:  Well, they should care because the cannabis is going to be of a higher quality. There's just a big difference in methodology. So, you could have a bulldozed terrace with smart pots growing a mono crop of cannabis, or you can have a diversified farm growing over 100 different species of plants that are going to be growing better cannabis for the consumer at the end.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  That's a big, that's a big difference. You seem really happy doing it.

 

CRYIL GUTHRIDGE:  Oh, there's nothing I'd rather be doing than working out in this property growing and stewarding the land and living this lifestyle.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  Talking of lifestyle, I asked Joanna about how her life has changed since becoming a weed farmer.

 

JOHANNA MORTZ:  It’s been a roller coaster for sure. It's been a rather amazing personal journey. When I learned the cultivation side, I really felt connected to the cannabis plant in a way that I had not felt before.  As well as, you know, my daily commute is, I walk into my garden as opposed to spending four hours on the 405. So better for my health. I imagine more so raising a family up here, the community that I've met up here, the people, the lifestyle, I wouldn't have imagined this five years ago, but I would definitely not trade it for the world.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Now that we've heard from the farmers, I check back in with Mikey to understand what is like to be on the cutting edge of the green weed revolution.

 

MIKEY STEINMETZ:  Well, that’s what I think makes California so special, right? It's that pioneering spirit. It's that sense of adventure, you know? I think it's the state that kind of brought us, you know, Alice Waters and Steve Jobs, right? The pioneers of the good health and food movement and the innovators of technology. I think California has that intersection of tech, silicon valley capital and this new model of agriculture, and cannabis, and bringing those three together is a powerful combination. And then most recently we bought this old and abandoned winery which were repurposed to do a central processing center that's in Mendocino.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  As luck would have it, I got to visit that very processing center and talk with Kelly Weaver about her job. Kelly, what are you working on now?

 

Kelly:  Right now, I'm dropping various size, various weights of cannabis into a combination scale called the precision batcher. They can each hold a piece of cannabis. Then it combines them all to make exact precise batches within a certain range. This batch is making eighths.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  When you're out with friends and family and they're like, so Kelly, what do you do? What do you answer

 

Kelly:  I'm a Cannabatcher.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  Nice, a Cannabatcher. I love that. Mikey, thanks for letting me see the insides of that warehouse. Do you think that you can help change not only the cannabis industry, but the entire way that agriculture on the planet is operated?

 

MIKEY STEINMETZ:  Yeah. Well, that question gave me the goosebumps. I think that's the naive dream or the naive hope of this company. It’s that we can not only build a new model in agriculture for cannabis, but that it could have implications for agriculture broadly speaking. And you know, the farmers are really at the core of the inspiration of Flow Kana right? They are at the core environmentalists and then second, they are cannabis growers, and the cannabis allows them to protect the environment and to build that ecosystem that actually is giving back rather than taking away.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  Since it's 420, I thought I'd go and check out how the local weed dealers are taking legalization.  So where are we at?

 

MR. JU JU:  We're in San Francisco, California. Golden Gate Park, where all the weed heads are who smoke a lot. I am the one and only Mr. Juju, you feel me?

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  How’s business these days now that it's been legalized? How you doing?

 

MR. JU JU:  Fuck legalization. That's my answer to it.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: How do you find out how green the weed is that you are selling?

 

MR. JU JU:  To answer that question, honestly, the only way you will know what’s in your weed is if you grow it. I grow my own. I like to deal organic marijuana, which has been grown naturally, period. You feel me? And so, when I say naturally - sunlight, we don't use pesticides, no chemicals, no additives, none of that stuff. Everything we use comes from the earth.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  I like gardening. So, I went to get myself a cannabis plant. Juju said it was a good idea, so I thought I'd try it out. These are also called clones because their genetics had been tested, which is a little bit weird. Anyway, as I'm waiting, I started talking with the person in the queue. What's your name, Sir?  

 

ALDO:  Aldo.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  So, Aldo, what do you, what do you want to buy today?


 

ALDO:  Well, I was looking for clones because I kind of messed up my last batch. I put too much nutrients on them, and they kind of stunted their growth. I went through the whole gallon of it and the guy is like, no, this is supposed to last a year. And I'm like, oh God, it was two weeks.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  Okay. Wow. So, I think I'll stick to getting organic weed from Flow Kana or other certified companies. The weed from Juju, the street dealer, could come from anywhere, and to be honest, although I like the idea of getting a plant, I'll never have as green a thumb as the farmers I met with up in the Emerald Triangle. Thanks to Friday Apaliski, Eric Sklar, Cris Carrigan, Mikey Steinmetz, Kelly Weaver, Johanna Mortz, Micah Flause, Cyril Guthridge, Mr. Juju and Aldo for helping us understand the weed industry from the inside out.  And a big thank you to Cate Powers who made the road trip to the Emerald Triangle possible and fun.

 

Today's show really opened my eyes to how big the weed industry is right now and how much larger is going to get. We are at a critical juncture. One path leads to healing the planet by encouraging sustainable cannabis cultivation. The other path leads to Big Ag and the pesticide industry grabbing the reins as consumers. We can decide that future if you care about the earth. If you live in a state that has legalized weed, never buy from the black market. If you care about the alignment of 420 and Earth Day, always make sure to purchase sun grown organic cannabis. And here’s the thing -legalization is working. It's requiring testing. It's bringing regulators together with farmers to help the environment and it's creating certainty for consumers. Once the federal government moves out of the way, the drug cartels will also vanish.

 

The work of the three farmers I met in Mendocino was inspiring. They are engaged in restoring the land, streams and forests there. They are environmentalists first and weed farmers second. Weed is their way of funding native habitat restoration.  What an amazing model. The way we view cannabis is changing. Grandmothers are now using cannabis cream to ease the pain of arthritis and cannabis extraction called CBDs are now helping kids prevent seizures. And during these trying times, it was so wonderful to see the most diverse crowd I've ever witnessed at any event show up to celebrate 420. It turns out there's a lot the environmental movement can learn from the normalization of weed and the community that supports it. What I took away from this week's episode is that the world of weed is positive. People feel connected to each other and to the plant. In many ways, as I sat on Hippie Hill in San Francisco watching 40,000 people light up, it felt as if 420 had eclipsed Earth Day. By cultivating a vision of the future that is intimately connected to healing the planet, the weed movement has given everyday people something to believe it.

 

In next week's episode, we focus on why there are still 1 million people in California who don't have access to clean drinking water. Please like the Podship Earth pages on Facebook and Instagram. Thank you so much for being part of the Podship Earth journey from the entire Podship Earth crew - editor Rob Spate, producer Nancy Ferranti, executive producer David Kahn, and me Jared Blumenfeld. Have an excellent 420 and Earth Day week.