Marijuana Culture on the North Coast: KSLG Interview with Eric Sligh, Sohumborn, and me

coworker in pot

Are marijuana growers like the wealthy rabbits in Watership Down whose riches come at the cost of a Farmer’s snare snatching one of them every once in awhile?

Two weeks ago, Sohumborn-an anonymous blogger who writes exciting stories centered around the marijuana culture, Eric Sligh-publisher of Humboldt Grow magazine, and I discussed this and other hot button cannabis related issues.  Local blogger, surfer, and DJ, Jen Savage did an excellent job of guiding and adding to the conversation.


I did.  Like anthropologists, these are fascinating people with hard won insight into a different culture.

Link to KSLG audo interview

The Humboldt Herald previously published a few excerpts but as far as I’m aware today is the first time an audio version has been available.  Thanks Jen and the folks at KSLG!


Photo from Eric Sligh’s magazine, Humboldt Grow.  Look for the 3rd issue.  It just came out and it is full of great photos and some provocative articles.

Note: For those of you who can’t get enough of Sohumborn, another local blog, In Retaliation, has joined us online and the latest piece is a heartfelt rant about losing our favorite fiction writer.



  • Kym, we must have weed on the brain. I just did a rant on why weed shouldn’t be legalized on my blog.

  • Kym–well, here it is 11:00 pm and I just saw something fairly stunning on the NBC news affiliate down here in S.F. It show Eric Holder–that’d be our Attorney General–telling a reporter at a news conference today that Obama’s campaign support for medical marijuana laws at the state level around the country is now Justice Department policy. (Dramatic Pause).
    He appears to be saying that the DEA will be taking a new direction on pot clubs and by inference, this little statement could go way further over time. There will be alot of news on this tommorrow, NORML is already blogging about 2/25/09 being the beginning of the end of pot prohibition. I’d be a bit more cautious than that, but still……..

  • Interesting video. Good links. Topical stuff. What more could a reader ask for?

    Keep up the good work. I’m cautiously optimistic that the announcement by Eric Holder – the Feds to stop busting medical marijuana clinics – will become the new norm…and pave the way towards legalization.
    As a state we’re ready.

  • Ernie’s blog points out some of the problems with legalization. I say we urge modifying the bill in order to (at least temporarily) limit the amount of plants grown which would keep enormous argri businesses from taking over production. This would minimize the financial impact to northern counties.

  • And Dave, video?, Hmm, you must have been smoking something to get pictures with your sound 8)

  • Kym, I rest my case.
    This showed up on your blog:

    Ernie’s Place (Branscomb)
    February 26, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Kym, we must have weed on the brain. I just did a rant on why weed shouldn’t be legalized on my blog.

    Here are a couple of excerpts from his blog:

    I really do think that Humboldt County will have quite a few business doors close if the weed is legalized. I also thing that any weed sold after legalization will be on the Black Market. I hardly think that the people that have been outlaws for all these years are going to say “thank-God we are legit now, and all we have to do is give the profit that we would make to the state”.

    I think that if our legislators think that they are going to balance their budgets with tax dollars from marijuana, they need to rethink their positions. They will turn a 16 billion dollar crop to the value of peanuts (Literally). They will be cooking our Goose that laid the Golden Egg. California will go almost instantly broke, and I can’t believe that they are stupid enough to not see that…
    But damn, I forgot, they really are that stupid. Pray for us.

    Branscomb carries on with all the amoral, self-righteous aplomb of a preacher. All any of you can think about is the money – BLOOD MONEY!


  • Joe, I understand your disagreement with Ernie. In fact, I agree with you that it is wrong for the state to keep marijuana illegal just to keep our goose laying golden eggs (as I said in my comments on his blog). However, “amoral, self-righteous aplomb” is wording that needs to be avoided. Thanks.

    My current idea is that we should legalize marijuana with a limit of 100 plants per parcel outside of city limits and 5 plants per incorporated city property for 10 years. That would allow Northern California the time to develop a niche market (ie run a campaign touting the flavors and medical benefits of different small independent organic strains) before Big Business stepped in.

  • Ah, Joe, my old friend. I bring out the best in you don’t I?

    “amoral, self-righteous aplomb” I’m afraid that I’m guilty as charged, but not nearly so as that of a preacher… What church did you say that you preach in?

    If you really knew me you would know that my stance is actually based on compassion for people, their frailties, and failings. I like Kym’s idea of limited planting. But as I said, I have seen no indication that rules will even be considered, let alone followed. So where does that leave us?

    Possibly I used the wrong analogy with the goose thing. I should have said that the state is controling the morphine drip that is keeping us from our pain. Or maybe you don’t realize the depth of the pain people will be in if they loose everything. I’m indeed glad that you are so secure.

  • An update for all interested parties– has an article posted late today friday, 2/27/08 entitled DEA To End Medical Marijuana Raids, the link is Thanks for moderating an important,ongoing discussion, Kym.

  • Ernie, Just yesterday, a friend and I were discussing a mutual acquaintance. We talked about what a good hardworking guy he was and how, because he isn’t very well educated, without marijuana, he would never have been able to own home. Like you, I worry that good people like him will be hurt when marijuana becomes legal. I would like to see some protection in place like I’ve talked about elsewhere for the northcoast economy but, even without that, morally, legalization is the only route that sits right in my stomach.

    Robin, thanks for that article. I enjoyed it. I wonder if those words are going to influence the legalization bill? I doubt it will pass but those words might relax some people and allow the bill to go through.

  • Legalize it. And let the growers and dealers start paying the 50%+ in taxes to the State and Feds that all other working/business people have to.

    Let them pay all the requisite business fees, licenses, taxes, withholding, insurance, etc that all other working/business people have to.

    Let them comply with all labor and environmental regulations that all other businesses have to comply with.

    It’s HIGH TIME, pun intended.

  • Good interview. Kudos to the three of you. I thought Jen was especially excellent. I haven’t seen the other two blogs or the magazine yet but I will check them out when I get a chance. I agree that it’s important to discuss the pot industry openly. Like you said, everyone knows that it’s going on anyway. I think that by shining a light into the darkness you are helping to lesson the fear and dissolve the stigma attached to growing.

    I’ve been living in the hills of soHum since the 70s and have seen a lot, the ripoffs, the busts, the hypocrisy, the kids, the pollution. Like you, I’ve seen it first hand and understand the negatives that the secrecy and hiding entails. But unlike you, I personally am against legalization. I feel it would be too devastating to the local culture at this point. Too many children would suffer, too many families would break apart, too many people would lose their homes, too many good people would be forced to leave the area, too many valuable legal businesses would fold. Marijuana money has helped to start and continues to support so much that is good in this area. It supports just about everything. I realize that having it illegal is far from being an ideal situation, but I see it as the lesser of two evils.

  • Headwrapper, if we were talking just the North Coast, you might be right (though I still don’t think so.) But you are talking about millions of people who smoke marijuana. Having it be illegal harms them, too, wherever they live. On top of that, if marijuana is illegal then most of can’t help feel that laws are arbitrary and not practical which leads to a disdain for law and law enforcement that is not healthy for a society. Legalizing marijuana will begin to clear away the deadwood that is tangling our legal system and our prisons. Surely, you don’t advocate sending one more innocent person to jail? That reminds me of the Watership Down analogy made by Sohumborn. In order to live well, every once in awhile one of us must be sacrificed. To me, that is unacceptable.

  • It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.

  • That sounds like that Chinese curse–may you live in interesting times! ;>

  • I HAVE BEEN WAITING LITERALLY 44 years, since 1965 to even be able to talk like we are right now these days. Before 215 we did not talk like this out in the open. Let’s all promise not to stop. I, just like you Kym, look at it as purely a moral issue. There are people in jail for just smoking a joint in some states. I know things would change here. But maybe we could recover with the talents of the people who live here. We could try. But it’s still a pipe dream I’m afraid.

  • I’m interested to see if this latest bill gets very far. Honestly, I don’t think it will but it will be an “icebreaker” as someone on another post said. Eventually, that ice will crack and so will Humboldt’s and the rest of the Emerald Arena’s economies. We need to A) have other irons in the fire and B)try to work in some mitigating language into the marijuana legalization bill ie a limit on the amount that can be grown on one plot of land for awhile. That would slow down the takeover by big Agriculture and help us develop a niche market

  • It was a pleasure to listen to.

  • I enjoyed doing it. Jen is a talented interviewer and Eric and SoHumborn are very informed people gifted with the ability to make me understand what they are talking about.

  • Hi Eric.

    My name is Caroline. I am trying to find out your email address so I can write to you to get in touch with you. I am in Facebook. You can also write to me at Please let me know. Thanks.

    Caroline K.

  • Hey there. I’m trying to get ahold of Eric. We are good friends but i lost touch after my chocolate shop closed on the arcata plaza. I used to own “grandma b’s fudge.” i helped eric review and with opinions on the first few issues. But would really love to catch up! I’m still out in Samoa you can tell him and if you get email me i’ll send my phone. Or he can email me. I’d really appreciate it. We were good friends that lost touch when my old phone died with all my numbers on it!


  • Hi Kym ,

    my name is Vincenzo and I am really amazed Eric’s magazine Grow. I would like to contact him in order to learn more about creating a collective for growing and selling maijuana in California for medical use.

    Waiting for your answer,

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