Earlier this month, the Sacramento Bee quoted Humboldt County Supervisor Rex Bohn pushing to promote Humboldt County's weed cachet post-legalization. "Although he's no advocate of his county's most infamous product," the Bee said, "he is lobbying to make it a brand."
Savvy entrepreneurs have been doing that for years, and not just with the plant itself. Take Trinidad resident Flow Well. (Yes, that's his name.) Back in 2010, when it looked like Prop. 19 was going to legalize weed-for-fun, Well started tinkering with copyright-free images he found online, Photoshopping pot leaves and spliffs onto old propaganda posters and pinup girls.
"My girlfriend got home and said, 'Wow, those are cool. You should do something with those,'" he recalled. And he has. Underground Postcard Collective, the business Well founded, now sells marijuana-themed postcards, posters, magnets and greeting cards at stores all over Humboldt County and beyond. Many of the images, including the stoned Mae West lookalike above, could easily be labels on the "Humboldt Brand" joint packs of the future. And they're selling all by themselves.
"I didn't intend it to turn into an actual rent-paying business," he said with a laugh, "but it did. Now I'm working on getting wider distribution."
His images range from the silly (a stoned garden gnome) to the political (a femme fatale with the caption, "Fuck legalization — keep the black market alive"). Does Well agree with that sentiment? He stammers a bit and finally says he tries to keep his own views out of his graphics. Still, unlike many growers, he's not too worried about the future.
"I think legalization will only help my business," he said.
Last Wednesday the Drug Policy Alliance filed a legislation initiative that would legalize fun pot, but the drug reform group hasn't said yet whether it's aiming for 2014 ballots or 2016. If it's 2014, that would make for three competing legalization bills in California.
Here's a hypothetical: Say you're a 36-year-old Oregonian, hangin' in the alley behind Toby & Jack's on a Friday afternoon and smokin' a joint (as you do). And let's say, further, that you have a backpack filled with hash, a pound and a half of processed ganja and about $18,000 cash. Question: When Arcata cops swing by and strike up a conversation, should you
a) show them a fake I.D. or
b) not do that? Vincent David Torrey chose "a" and got arrested for it.