It’s three in the morning. I am putting on a mask and plastic gloves. Our faces, arms, and legs are covered by T-shirts and gardening gloves. My mom and I are about to go to the grow room to spray all the marijuana plants with Eagle 20. At this point, we really didn’t have a choice. It was either use this nasty pesticide to kill the microscopic, weed eating insects called spider-mites, or let those critters destroy all of our cannabis product.
The pesticide makes the plants so sensitive that any light would scorch the leaves, potentially kill them, and if we had gotten any on our skin it would have burned us. So we sprayed in makeshift hazmat suits and in complete darkness with only a green flashlight to guide us. It felt like we were in a war zone.
This was the summer of 2016. I was a sophomore at the University of Washington where, during the week, I went to summer classes and helped manage a tech startup called EvoEco. Then on Friday afternoon, I would hop in my car, drive three hours to Portland, OR and help run JORA Green, my mother’s legal cannabis grow operation. After being up all night Sunday trimming the plants, Monday morning I would drive two hours, take a nap in the car, then drive the remaining hour straight to class at the University in Seattle.
At the time, my mother’s grower was jumping ship and my mom couldn’t afford to hire help. So, being the only family in the area, I became involved. It took roughly 20 weeks to fully transform the marijuana seeds into a smoke-able flower. The fact the grower was leaving during in the middle of the grow would be a disaster. We would lose all the product and my mom would go bankrupt.
He refused to teach my mom the necessary steps and techniques to maintain the plants. Luckily, the grower and I had become friends. Even though he would no longer be our grower, he agreed to teach me what I needed to know on the weekends. Then, I would try to regurgitate the knowledge back to my mom on Sunday nights before driving back to Seattle.
Her efforts were to little avail. At the same time our product was ready for sale, an influx of colossal previously unknown state wide cannabis operations were releasing their product. This over saturation