The growing acceptance of medical marijuana may have an unintended consequence — squeezing out the small scale, outdoor growers of California's famed Mendocino and Humboldt counties.
The pot grown in the area, prized by connoisseurs of cannabis, brings in less cash each year. The farmers in the area, who take pride in the organic way they grow their crops, blame the fall in price to large-scale indoor grow operations that supply the dispensaries, the Los Angeles Times reports.
"It used to be a contest to see who could drive the oldest pickup truck. There's just been this huge influx of folks who have money on their mind, instead of love of the land. A lot more gun-toters. A lot more attack dogs," one grower says.
The old timers, who funded schools, roads and fire stations in their remote towns, complain that the newcomers aren't interested in investing in their communities. But the irony doesn't end there. In many cases, parents are discovering that their children are behind some of the large pot grow houses.
Though they've pushed for legalization and the medical use of pot, the growers are discovering that now that they're on the verge of achieving what they've always wanted, it may put them out of business. Some of them suspect California's medical marijuana law was a ruse by Bay Area pot activists to monopolize the market with large scale growers in Oakland.
"Ultimately we worry about Winston or Marlboro getting some land and doing their thing. We see it time after time in America — big corporations come in and take over," another grower worried.