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Bloom Where You're Planted
I contemplate giving birth at a time of year when growers are popping seeds
I’m about to give birth to my first kid, and thanks to the myriad of changes swirling in and around my body and head, time is a bit abstract to me as of late.
You could tell me it’s November (it’s actually March), and I’d probably believe you. This is to say that I only just realized that, shit! It’s time to pop seeds once again. I’ve been unsure of doing it, knowing the time commitment that growing requires may not be best combined with the relentless demands of newborn life.
I’ve been on a years-long cannabis-growing journey, otherwise. After many years of merely consuming cannabis, happy to enjoy the fruits of other dedicated peoples’ labor, I decided a while ago that how involved I was in cannabis in my professional life didn’t quite match up with my dedication on a personal level. Sure, I was smoking a lot, which is obviously a commitment in its own right. But could I truly understand how this plant works and manifests without seeing it bloom from seed to smoke? To truly get connected, I knew I had to start growing myself.
In adulthood, I’ve really developed my love for plants, the outdoors, animals, and anything related to nature. While I thrive being surrounded by plants, keeping them alive has been a bit of a struggle for me. Succulents, monsteras, even garden tomatoes—you name it, I’ve killed it. So I was hesitant to wade into my absolute favorite plant on Earth out of sheer respect. Wasting a seed—especially one with “cool” genetics—seemed kind of sacrilege to me. But you never know if you don’t try, I reasoned, and I figured my mild terror and deep reverence for the cannabis plant would keep me in line.
It did. I’ve become a bit of a plant mommy, in addition to now becoming a human mommy, a process that was fraught with similar anxieties and overthinking. I’ll never claim I’m growing any kind of fire, far from it, but I grow purely outdoors (thanks, Southern California!), and the several harvests I’ve now reaped have been totally smokable.
As expected, growing cannabis has deepened my relationship with the plant exponentially: I understand its cycles, how each variable—weather, water, nutrients, pest control, to name just a few—contributes to the quality of the final product (or lack thereof), the rainbow spectrum of genetics and how differently they all manifest, and also, frankly, how easily it grows without any intervention at all (hence the nickname “weed”). It’s informed my reporting, my evaluation of products in the marketplace, and it’s been a mental health balm in times when getting my hands dirty was just what my body and soul needed most. It also gave me immense respect for those who do this on any kind of commercial scale for money. The plant will grow just fine on its own, but it won’t shine without the special touch of expert know-how.
I also view growing as an act of political resistance—yes, even in the age of legalization. It’s still federally illegal to grow, even in states that allow homegrow. In April 2022, I was called to be a witness in a federal cannabis case as an expert on the cannabis plant, something I was comfortable doing thanks to my experiences reporting and growing, and I admitted on the stand as part of my proving my bonafides that I had grown cannabis before.
“You’re aware that a lot of the things you just listed as part of your qualifications, growing weed, for example, is illegal?” the prosecutor asked me while I was on the stand.
“Yes,” I replied.
“What quantity did you grow it in?” she asked.
“Under six plants, per California regulations,” I said.
“And do you also know that, regardless of your personal feelings about them, you still have to follow the federal marijuana laws in this country?” she asked.
“Yes,” I replied, while the right side of my face twitched a little bit.
I know enough to know that nobody’s prosecuting federal cannabis cases for homegrowers anymore, so I’d be safe. But I was definitely sweating bullets nonetheless. Federal court will do that to you. Still, it felt like an important moment of defiance. Especially considering many states with adult-use legal cannabis sales and consumption have outlawed homegrow entirely. That’s not just a force of the government, but something lobbied for and enacted specifically by cannabis industry lobbyists and so-called “advocacy” groups, like the New York Medical Cannabis Industry organization and others across the nation, who often represent the interests of monied cannabis corporations.
As for me this year, I’ve decided I’m going to pop some seeds after all and line up a few clones, just in case the aforementioned goes sideways. I’ll do the best I can (my baby is due late May) and allow myself room for distraction while making sure to tag in my husband to help hand water. If my grow fails and I become engulfed by my baby, which is entirely possible, I’ll know it’s just the way things are meant to be for this season and allow myself some grace.
But mostly, I have visions of myself with a baby strapped to my chest, sitting on the earth and slowly trimming leaves under the San Diego sun. It’s an idyllic vision to look forward to (if potentially unrealistic), and it excites me for what’s to come. I’m hoping that in any free moments I can steal, these growing female plants will remind me of the transformation that took place in my own womb and that they’ll offer me a mental salve in the difficult days of early motherhood. That it’s a female plant, a mother plant, whose bloom is healing and beneficial is not lost on me at all. I feel like I have to start the growing process, at least, seeing as I’m about to pop new life myself.
News, recently published, and all that:
I have signed with a literary agent at Aevitas Creative! I’m thrilled to be working with such a great agency and excited to formally start the book writing and selling process. The book will be about weed, and that’s all I’ll say for now.
This past fall, I was a speaker (along with my now-husband, Jesse, who is an editor and reporter at Voice of San Diego) at the Journalism Association of Community Colleges Southern California conference, where I spoke about lots of things, but also my unorthodox path to and through journalism. One of the students dug it and wrote a profile about me for Riverside City College’s Viewpoints newspaper, where she is the opinions editor. It made the front page with a giant picture of me (six months pregnant), which is wild. I don’t know about you, but I definitely got in a lot of trouble for weed in college. It’s crazy to be on the front page of a college paper talking about weed, however much I’ve aged out. Like I always say, times are changing, indeed.
As I am sure you have divined, my podcast with San Diego Magazine, The Plant Lady, is out! Episode 1 was a heady conversation with Ricky Williams. Next week’s will be with Luke Scarmazzo, who was just released from federal prison, and Weldon Angelos. We spoke a week to the day that he was released and, in my humble opinion, it’s a very special episode.
For San Diego Magazine, I wrote about Humboldt Family Farms, which is newly digging into California’s direct-to-consumer market, an admittedly difficult space. He’s got some heavy legacy growers under his belt, including Amaranth and Full Moon Farms, and Arcata Fire doing concentrates. I’m a believer.
Did you know I got married in January? Well, I did! I wrote about eloping in Las Vegas for San Diego Magazine.
I’ve also written two pieces for the last two issues of Cannabis Now, but it appears they haven’t made it online. If you see an issue in the wild, keep an eye out.