|According to my careful calculations,|
the helicopter landed right where the
pond lies today.
Like the spinning rotor of a helicopter, my thoughts swirl around my head as my own Day of Infamy arrives on the summer calendar, July 23rd. It was a day like any other day, back in 1985, except that a helicopter came out of the sky and set down in the field below our ridge top home.
Out streamed a crew of rent-a-cops, wannabes being paid ten bones an hour to eradicate cannabis, and up the hill they charged. Though the front gate was unlocked, instead of opening it and passing through, they kicked the gate in, splintering it, and requiring that it be replaced. They did the same thing with the gate onto the front deck, though they did manage to restrain themselves, entering the house without kicking in the unlocked door.
These thugs ransacked our home, using a crow bar to pry open GlutenFreeMama’s unlocked hope chest. Exactly what they expected to find in a woman’s hope chest, that would link us to a grow, is beyond me. They took nine hundred dollars from us, money that had been prepaid to me for carpentry services. In other words, before I could start earning income again, after the bust, at ten bucks per, I had to first work ninety hours just to break even.
|Sweet Baby Lee|
When the chopper set down, pregnant GlutenFreeMama had snatched up fifteen-month-old BenJamIn and grabbed not-quite-three-years-old HeadSodBuster by his hand, and headed out overland. They were trying to get three parcels over to my folks' place, where they waited for the invasion to end.
I was nowhere in the vicinity, being gainfully employed installing blocking, while working on a construction crew building a new house. I received a phone call from a terrified GlutenFreeMama, after clambering down form the top of a ladder to take the call on the land phone inside Jeff and Carol’s old house, back when we were still anchored to kitchen walls.
|Michael sang at our benefit.|
No warrant was ever issued for my arrest and I never faced charges on the local scene. Instead, the raid having been conducted by federal “agents,” my home and twenty acres of land were seized by the government, a notice to that effect having been affixed to the destroyed gate on their way out.
For the dastardly crime of growing cannabis plants, I was going to lose my home.
I hired Ron Sinnoway, the pro from Dover when it came to cannabis. His specialty was land seizure cases, and he waved his magic wand and made it all go away, nine months to the day after we had been CAMPed on. For this service I was charged $17,500 and I paid it with a smile.
About a third of the loot came from family and community contributions; we even had a benefit or two done in our name. The other two-thirds was given to me for services not yet rendered, by Michael for whom I was doing carpentry. In exchange for helping him the following year with his grow, he paid what was left of those lawyer fees, around ten large.
|Indiana Slim and Bear|
Thirty-four years ago today, the government tried to seize my home and property for the “crime” of growing plants. Its agents invaded my space, created havoc, stole from me and left a seizure notice behind, and all I could do was defend myself or lose everything.
All of this occurred because of 33 plants.
Placed in a historical context, what happened to me was not out of the ordinary for the time period. Just up Bell Springs Road the previous year, a couple had experienced the same invasion, but instead of fighting it, they had given up and moved along, losing their home and land.
I was sweating blood.
I personally use cannabis daily to treat my mood spectrum disorder, and I use it exclusively for pain management. As a 66-year-old farmer, I have my share of aches and pains.
Here at HappyDayFarms, we are licensed to grow medicinal cannabis on both the local and state level, no longer outlaws. We played the game, we pay exorbitant taxes and consequently, do not have to worry about the current eradication efforts going on around us.
That does not mean that I have forgotten, or those around me have forgotten, what it's like to be invaded by agents of the government. I am outraged to learn that current efforts in Mendocino County, in Humboldt County and in other places near and far, include similar invasive tactics. I continue to struggle to understand why growing six or twelve plants, or thirty-three for that matter, gives authorities the right to invade and ransack people’s homes. It’s grandstanding, nothing more nothing less, on the backs of small farmers doing no harm.
As someone who has experienced Blunt-Force-Government, I call bullshit. Get a warrant, take the plants and then leave. It’s as simple as that. Treating these victimless crimes as though they were some sort of abominations, is reprehensible.
It needs to stop.
|My parents, Pauline and Robert, and neighbor Rex at a benefit,|