“Nobody produces any better weed than we do here,” says Raul G. Raul, a pot grower whose farm is somewhere between Santa Paula and Ojai. Raul likes to think of himself as a benevolent outlaw, supplying “medical” marijuana to clinics and “slanging [dealing] a little on the side to make people happy.”
His plants are gorgeous, even (or maybe even more so) to a man in recovery who hasn’t touched bud in 11 years. Some are easily 15 feet tall, with the sexiest flowers this side of Holland.
“Weed is as natural and wholesome as spinach,” says Raul, adding, “and a lot more profitable.”
Medical pot’s reputation has been tarnished lately — LA County’s DA is shutting down dispensaries, and investigators with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s narcotics unit have blamed at least one of the recent wildfires on a marijuana farm. But neither the negative publicity, nor, in fact, anything short of a bust, is going to put Raul out of business. Just one of his plants, he says, yields about two pounds of herb, which would be worth about $5,000; Raul boasts that his plants are worth “a cool green million.”
The economics of weed are simple and seductive. It costs about $1,000 to grow a kilo (2.2 pounds) of pot, which sells for up to $7,500 to a wholesaler. At a conservative $15 a gram, the $1,000 investment can ultimately be worth $15,000. If “medical marijuana” clinics are getting any part of the deal, you can imagine how sweet that is.