I don’t believe in ghosts, UFOs or supernatural beings, and I pride myself on being a rational person. But I must confess, even I’ve experienced inexplicable events in my cannabis grow rooms — things that have forced even a nonbeliever like me to question my rationalist understanding of reality.
One of these curious moments happened when I was growing 27 cloned cannabis plants under 5,000-watt grow lights. I had much experience with the reliability and phenotype characteristics of this genetic line and its mother plant, and anticipated a predictable season and a lucrative harvest.
After four weeks in grow phase, I flipped the plants to bloom. If they were to perform as the clones from the same mother plant had performed in previous seasons, then they’d be ready for harvest in 9–10 weeks.
I predicted I’d end up with 8–10 pounds of dried and cured Platinum Kush with top-dollar resins, taste and smell. I planned to keep several ounces of the choicest bud for myself, and sell the rest wholesale for $2,100 per pound.
But the plants stalled in early flowering. They stopped gaining height and the buds didn’t get any bigger or develop resin glands.
My first suspicions were the grow lights. Did they lack intensity or the correct radiation wavelengths? Or was there a chemistry problem in the root zone?
I tried to remediate the problems by putting new grow bulbs into three of five grow-light fixtures. I flushed the root zone and measured runoff pH and hydroponic nutrients concentration. But the parameters were all within normal range.
When a week went by and my cannabis crop still wasn’t growing normally, I changed hydroponic nutrients, replaced my reverse osmosis filters, and changed watering patterns and timing.
Nothing made a difference. The plants were fading away, their leaves curled and twisted like claws. There was no terpenoid scent and no hope of having a happy harvest. After two weeks of trying to save the plants, I pulled the plug.
I conducted a post-mortem, half expecting to find root aphids — the silent, unseen crop killer. But the root zones were clean.
It was my last grow season before summer shutdown, so I dismantled the entire grow op and hid my hydroponics gear.
Then, one evening, I was in my living room watching a movie when the front door burst off its hinges and hit the floor. The gun-and-badge gang rushed in and handcuffed me. They scrambled around the house, frantically trying to find a grow room. When they found nothing, they uncuffed my wrists and left the house without a word of explanation or apology.
I filed a civil proceeding against the police department, from which I received a settlement of $5,500 for damage to my home and violation of my civil rights.
The mysterious thing about the sudden failure of those clones is I’d never before and have never since had plants that suddenly seized up like that.
I realized then that their failure was a blessing — if my plants had grown like they were supposed to, my grow room would have been in peak bloom phase when the goons burst in, and I’d have been arrested and charged.
Whenever I’m feeling “spiritual,” I sometimes ponder if my plants knew what was coming and sacrificed themselves to protect me.
A Timely Grow-Op Warning
I was running a grow op in a rental house located deep in the woods, a house the landlord Lenny didn’t care about, as long as the rent got paid.
My real name wasn’t even on the lease. I sent the rent check to a post office box, and assumed Lenny didn’t know and wouldn’t have cared that I was growing weed in his dilapidated rental.
Lenny never explained why the previous tenants moved out so suddenly, leaving most of their furniture, cleaning supplies, clothing, and a martial arts training dummy.
The house’s wiring was old aluminum, and someone had tampered with some of the circuits and with the circuit panel.
Still, I’d managed to set up a decent grow op and was running Humboldt indoor strains. Reading books on the decaying back porch under a canopy of redwood trees and making sure the house didn’t burn down felt like a productive use of my time.
One night I was driving into town in a torrential rainstorm when I saw a bedraggled kid hitchhiking. I rarely pick up hitchers, but this long-haired guy looked like a stoner; he also looked like a drowned rat.
Almost as soon as he plonked himself next to me in the passenger seat, thanking me profusely for getting him out of the rain and apologizing for the soaking seat and floor mat, he whipped out a plastic bag and took a fat joint from it.
We smoked that bomber until we were both laughing, joking and carrying on like old friends.
He told me his name was Josh and that he was born and raised in that small town and knew everybody there.
He asked where was I staying and I responded vaguely, telling him only that it was a rental off a logging road.
He surprised me by asking, “Is it a funky camo color with a muddy driveway, in the redwoods?”
It was, but I didn’t tell him that because I didn’t trust him enough.
“Too bad about Lenny,” he said. I was startled to hear him name my landlord. Feigning ignorance, I asked who Lenny was.
Lenny was a weed grower and dealer, and he also sold white powder, the kid explained. The cops busted him a while back, but he skipped bail and now rents the house to whoever.
“They’re probably watching the place, waiting for him to come back,” he said.
I dropped a grateful Josh off at a gas station and quickly drove back to the rental, packed up the grow op, and found a musty trailer to move to. I didn’t want Lenny’s police problems to become my problems.
An electrical fire burned the house down a week after I left. At the time, I thought of Josh, thanking God this hitchhiker had warned me about the place being under surveillance.
The thing that propels this into X-Files territory is that when I told an old-timer about meeting Josh, he reacted very strangely.
“Well, buddy, it ain’t Josh you picked up, no way,” the old-timer said, looking at me like I was crazy. “He was killed two years ago by a logging truck when he was hitchhiking.”
Marijuana, Jesus, The Loaves And The Fish
Of all the mystical stories I’ve heard, the one about Jesus feeding 5,000 hungry people with only five loaves of bread and two fish is among the most intriguing.
This inspiring biblical tale, found in the New Testament book of Matthew (14:13-21), is basically as follows:
Jesus had his disciples source food to feed thousands of hungry people who were gathered around him. But the disciples could only muster five loaves of bread and two fish.
Jesus took this food, prayed over it, then gave it to his disciples to distribute among the crowd of 5,000 who were encamped there.
Somehow, everyone had enough to eat, and the disciples gathered 12 basketfuls of leftovers.
Christians see this as a supernatural intervention proving Jesus is the “Son of God,” while secular historians speculate that people shared their own food to augment what the disciples gave them.
No matter how you interpret it, the message is one of unexpected bounty in the midst of perceived deficit.
This same kind of welcome largesse happened to me twice.
On one occasion, I was cultivating a predictable clone strain. I knew my harvest tally would at the very most be 10 pounds of dry-weight product, and probably a lot less.
At the beginning of bloom phase, I received terrible news — someone I deeply cared about had a potentially fatal medical condition that required emergency surgery and long-term rehabilitation.
But they had no health insurance. Worse yet, the hospital and specialist physicians refused to accept Medicaid’s reduced fee schedule.
It’s sad that in what is one of the richest countries in the world, Americans lack the universal single-payer health care system you find in other modern democracies, like Canada and Australia.
In the USA, a medical emergency may result in a sick or dying person being refused treatment for lack of health insurance and funds. Or, if the person gets expensive medical treatment, they can be plunged into savage debt that drives them to bankruptcy.
I stepped up to sign as guarantor for unpaid financial obligations the patient was likely to incur, and was asked to provide an up-front cash or credit card payment of around $7,000. I didn’t have the money, so was forced into a loan shark arrangement, using my one car as collateral.
During this medical crisis, I barely had time to tend my bloom-phase cannabis plants, but noticed two weeks into this period that the crop looked ridiculously robust, with more budding sites than I’d ever seen before.
In peak bloom, the buds were longer and fatter than this cannabis strain ever produced. Branches were bending almost to the ground from the weight of them.
At the end of bloom phase, I was astounded by the magnitude of the harvest and had to buy two extra drying racks. When I weighed the dried and cured harvest, I had slightly more than 15 pounds of the most resinous bud I’d ever grown.
The yield was a few grams shy of three pounds per 1000-watt grow light — 45 percent more than I’d expected!
I sold the extra-large harvest wholesale, paid off the loan shark, and saved my car. My friend survived the surgery and is slowly but surely paying me back the money I fronted.
Then there was the time a magically unexpected bounty happened when I scored fantastic center-floor tickets 20 feet from the stage for a Roger Waters concert.
All of us in our group were Pink Floyd fanatics, and two had never seen the band in any of its incarnations. You can bet we wanted to be fully baked for this show, and several of us brought cannabis concentrates and buds to enjoy.
What we didn’t count on was the venue’s unusually strict search and discard policies. Uniformed police officers and private security personnel had huge garbage bags filled with contraband and paraphernalia. They weren’t busting people, but they gave you a choice: Let us keep your drugs, or you won’t be seeing Pink Floyd.
The searchers found every scrap of cannabis we had, except they missed a chamber pipe I’d concealed in my shoe.
We went to our seats in disgust and indignation. Concertgoers around us were similarly pissed off at the heavy-handed search and seizure tactics. We all knew that seeing Pink Floyd without being high was like eating at a gourmet restaurant when you have no appetite.
I reminded my friends that I still had my pipe, which I’d crammed with a two-gram ball of bubble hash. They were underwhelmed. Normally, that would have been a mere appetizer, nothing that could carry you on the wings of soaring psychedelia through an entire concert, plus intermission and encore.
As the venue lights dimmed and the crowd cheered in anticipation of “Dark Side of the Moon,” I made a joke about Jesus and his loaves and fishes, even blessing the pipe as I lit up.
I expected each of us to get no more than one hit and to only acquire a mild buzz, but the bubble hash kept on delivering hit after hit for several minutes. We even had generous mercy on people seated near us, and pretty soon that little pipe and its bubble hash sent many a Floyd lover into the cannabinoid stratosphere, so we were well and truly baked as Roger Waters and his bandmates wove their magical spell.
Like I said, I’m not usually a believer in the supernatural, miracles, gods or monsters that can’t be explained by rational analysis.
But in my life of cannabis cultivating and consuming, these experiences make me wonder if something mysterious and even beneficent was at play in the universe, something that kept me from getting busted by cops or incinerated in a grow-house fire, that gave me a massive harvest when I needed it most, and the amazing little hash pipe that satisfied a row of music lovers who wanted nothing more than to be super stoned for Pink Floyd.