Archives October 2008
Here it is again, that one day out of the year when kids get to eat loads of free candy, parents can be thankful for the fluoride in our drinking water, and all the young girls of America dress themselves up like prostitutes and go out to get macked on by drunk dudes in costumes.
We used to love Halloween. But then a couple of years ago while we were handing out candy to the local children who came to our door, we were unexpectedly rushed by a group of 10 teenage boys who weren't even wearing costumes. At first we tried joking with them, "Ah you guys aren't even in costume! Gotta save this candy for the children who dressed up!" But they just started grabbing the treats from our bowl and shoving their way into our home. These kids were probably 16 or 17 years old. A couple of them looked like they were on the high school basketball team.
That was the last time we participated in Halloween in Humboldt County. We have never had such a negative neighborhood experience (daytime home burglaries excluded), and we don't plan on ever again opening our door up to the local youths after sundown.
So, to celebrate Halloween this year, we found this ridiculous photo gallery of dogs dressed up in hilarious costumes. We sincerely hope you enjoy. And please, be safe tonight if you go out. Have a designated driver, be aware of your surroundings, and watch out for STDs. ;)
Not that we're very surprised, but this month's electricity rate hike is so substantial and well-targeted that we just had to tell everyone about it.
Growers looking closely at their power bills this month might notice a marked increase in the rates for top tier power usage. PG&E likes to divvy up your electricity charges into different "Baseline Quantities", charging more per Kwh when you use more power than they think you need.
This is fine for those of us who turn our lights off when we leave the room, shut our computers down at night, and keep our thermostats set low. But for the many thousands of households where residents are running multiple high wattage horticulture lamps, dehumidifiers, and industrial exhaust fans, those baseline charges could be a big deal.
This month PG&E increased rates for the "Over 300% of Baseline" tier by nearly 15%, and the next tier down by over 13%. The bottom two tiers, aka the non-grower tiers, actually went down in price by a couple hundredths of a penny.
Last month's power rates
This month's new prices
This is kind of a big deal, but only for growers. For the rest of us it's actually a little satisfying to know that pot growers who are using 100 times the amount of electricity as a normal household (no joke) now have to pay an additional 15% premium for their excessive consumption. But is it right for PG&E to purposefully implement what is essentially a grower tax? We would much rather see a real tax where the money comes back to the community somehow, but for now it's nice to know that at least someone out there is skimming a little off the top of the most profitable (and questionable) industry in California.
Should pot dealers and smokers expect prices of indoor marijuana to increase this year because of the beefed up electricity charges? Definitely not, because the profit margins on marijuana are still so astronomically high that an additional 5 cents per Kwh is quite literally a drop in the bucket for these guys. Consider that a 4-light indoor pot garden will generally yield 4 pounds of bud every 60 days. Running that garden will cost about $1000 in electricity each month, plus maybe $1500 in rent per month, and maybe $350 in supplies and upkeep. Oh let's throw in $40 for water, too. So it's about $2890 per month to operate that grow house. But quality indoor marijuana sells for at least $3600/pound these days, and this house is producing 4 pounds every 2 months. That leaves the grower with a profit of $8620 every two months, or $4310 a month.
And that is a really small grow scenario. Most growers would laugh at 4 lights because they're probably doing twice that, and you don't even want to start speculating about how many growers here in Humboldt County have multiple grow houses, each with 8 or more lights.
Speaking of marijuana prices this year, word on the street is that the big outdoor harvests from Southern Humboldt and Mendocino County are far, far bigger than ever before. Last year it rained early and caused lots of losses, but this year the rains have been light and the weather has been warm and sunny, allowing many growers to leave their crops in the ground much longer than normal. We have been hearing reports of double-sized yields over last year, and quality is unbelievable. As a result, prices are looking to be a bit lower this winter, which might put a strain on some indoor growers looking to unload their goods. But uh, we're definitely not offering any sympathy, seeing as how margins in the pot business are so ridiculously high it actually makes us sick.
In case you were wondering exactly what goes into setting up, managing, and financing a marijuana grow house, How Stuff Works has published a 6-page article describing all the bits and pieces that go into running a real indoor pot garden for profit. The article is titled Setting Up A Grow House.
According to the website, "HowStuffWorks, a wholly owned subsidiary of Discovery Communications, is the award-winning source of credible, unbiased, and easy-to-understand explanations of how the world actually works." We seem to recall that this site started out as a resource for school children, which is why we're a bit surprised to see them explaining commercial marijuana gardening.
The in-depth article references the LA Times story from a few months back and some bits from the Arcata Eye to back up their facts, and they throw down some numbers in the beginning, too. Of course, those numbers are way off. For example, they state that one marijuana plant grown indoors can yield half a pound of pot, but any grower in Humboldt will confirm that actual realistic yield from a single plant is between 30 and 90 grams, and rarely more. Nobody gets more than a quarter-pound of weed from a single plant in an indoor garden in a normal grow cycle.
The article also claims that a single 1,000 watt grow light can sustain 15 to 20 plants, but most pro growers won't do more than 9-16 plants per light, mostly to keep the number of total plants down so they don't exceed the legal limit for Prop 215 cultivation, and also to curb the complexity of their operation.
All in all, Setting Up A Grow House is an informative read, and the author, Robert Lamb, either did a lot of research before writing it or he has first hand experience with indoor pot gardening. He even mentions that grow house operators are less likely to interact with their neighbors, which is probably true. Maybe that has something to do with #12 in this morning's post?
Isn't it interesting that marijuana growing has become so prolific and commonplace that our children can now read about the inner workings of illegal pot gardens at their favorite Discovery website? It turns out this is nothing compared to their article on Manufacturing Crack Cocaine, which is complete with photos and step-by-step instructions on how to turn regular old coke into crack rocks! Yay for education!
Ekovox recently posted an email that is circulation entitled "You know you're from Eureka if...". We thought it was a good idea, so we're taking it one step further and doing a list for all of Humboldt County. Here goes:
You know you're in Humboldt County if...
- One out of every three vehicles you see on the road is a gigantic pickup truck with a 12" lift and a 20-something pot grower's girlfriend behind the wheel.
- Your internet and long distance connectivity is severed every few months when Caltrans digs up the fibre to San Francisco.
- Everyone you know has been robbed or burglarized at least once.
- You never leave your car unlocked, not even for a couple minutes while you run into the gas station for smokes.
- The sun only comes out once a week, maybe less.
- The pungent smell of fresh marijuana wafts through your neighborhood on a regular basis.
- You don't bother calling the cops, ever, because you know they won't show up for at least two hours.
- There's an indoor marijuana garden related house fire at least once a month.
- Every person under the age of 30 you see walking around town is wearing a hooded sweatshirt.
- Every person under the age of 24 has their hood pulled up over their head, even when the weather is nice.
- You fully expect every driver on the road to be uninsured and driving an unregistered vehicle without a valid license.
- Nobody smiles at you or says hello.
- White people with super gross dreadlocks are everywhere. The longer the dreads, the more disgusting the person wearing them seems to be.
- At dusk, only half the drivers on the road use their headlights. The other half are divided into two groups: those who refuse to turn their lights on until it's actually pitch dark, and those who think it is acceptable to drive around with only their parking lights on.
- Every house has the curtains drawn or the shades closed to hide the marijuana growing activity within.
- Locals are outnumbered 4-1 by out-of-towners who moved here to grow pot.
- There are hundreds of restaurants, but only about 5 that are worth eating at.
- You can't walk down the street without some homeless 19 year old with dreadlocks asking you for spare change. When you refuse, he cusses at you and says something about capitalism and greed.
- Nobody drives the speed limit. They either go 5 mph under the limit, or they go 10-20 mph over.
Did we miss any? Feel free to add yours in the comments section!
Looks like they captured Anthony Flores, the driver of that silver Mustang who caused that horrible accident a few days ago. Let us all hope that he is repeatedly raped for many, many years as he rots away in a jail cell for his crimes. Glad that douchebag is off the streets.
Now that the Evergreen Pulp Mill is shutting down, can Humboldt County residents expect an increase in quality of life and general cardiovascular health? It sure will be nice to go outside and not have to smell the horrible stench of paper pulp every day. We're betting the view from the Bayview Motel perched above Broadway is going to be much nicer without the steaming stacks of noxious pollutants billowing away in the distance.
Economic downturn? The new Great Depression? Maybe in the rest of the country, but here in Humboldt County we really don't think it's going to mean much. Why? Because we are nearly positive that at least half of those living behind the Redwood Curtain won't even notice because they either grow marijuana themselves, or they work for someone who grows marijuana. If you have a pair of blue Wiss scissors, you won't be out of work any time soon. The stock markets might be crashing and home prices have plummeted, but that gold mine in the attic will keep you warm until the next federal raids (so long as it doesn't go up in flames).