The Wall of Weed

Happy 420! To celebrate I’d like to give you a wall of weed!

The Wall of Weed

Above: Online promo graphic for The Wall of Weed… feel free to copy and share.

About The Wall of Weed

This art piece contains 1960 photos from over 650 different batches of medical marijuana. There are close to 350 different strains represented on the wall.

These photos were taken between 2008 and 2012 in Long Beach, California.

Link: http://onehumanbeing.com/wall-of-weed/
Note: the page can take up to a minute to load – lots and lots of photos to load…

Here’s a short bit I wrote awhile ago about how I got started taking photos:

In June of 2008 I started taking photos and posting menus on WeedTracker.com for a local, Long Beach collective called CCLB, Canna Collective Long Beach.

The whole thing started as a fluke – I just wanted CCLB to keep up with their menu posting because gas prices were soaring and online people wanted to know what was available before they made the long drive – sometimes coming all the way from San Diego – a nearly 300 mile round trip.

My round trip to CCLB was only 10 miles, so during June I started my volunteer gig as the Menu Guy for CCLB. Over the July 4th weekend, through a series of events I’ve written about elsewhere, I officially became an unpaid, community volunteer at CCLB and through October of that year I photographed nearly 80 different strains, some of them several times…

Goals and Format

I had several goals in mind while taking these photos:

  1. Capture the most average, “representative” buds to photograph. I was not looking for the biggest and best buds to photograph, just the buds that an average patient would get if they went to the collective.
  2. Use a repeatable format so people could focus on the herb, not the photographs.

The format I settled on after about a year was 3 photos per batch.

  • The first shot was of four (more or less) buds grouped around a quarter to give the idea of size. I weighed each of these buds to add to the image when I processed the photos.
  • The second photo would be the single bud shot.
  • The third shot was the close up, and by 2010 I had finally started to achieve some great shots with the close-up.
  • For awhile I took a forth shot – a jar shot from above.

I usually took about 60-80 photos of each batch to make sure I had what I needed to pick the best shot.

These photos were used as “menu photos” for the websites of the various non-profit collectives I volunteered at during this time.

Fun Fact: Each photo in this collection is 420 pixels by 420 pixels – except 1. Can you find the one odd-sized photo?

Dedication and Thanks

The Wall of Weed is dedicated to my friend Josh Howard who got me started on this photo project in June of 2008 when he was the budtender extraordinaire at CCLB. Thanks Josh!

A special thanks goes out to those who helped facilitate this project over the last few years – Eli, Nichole, Sam, Val and Harvey.

 

P.S. I know the question you have in your mind, and the answer is yes – I did sample more than 90% of the batches shown here… Happy 420!

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues

An Introduction

Since 2007 I’ve been a member of a number of different collectives in Long Beach.

I’ve volunteered, built websites, taken photos of over 300 different strains of medical marijuana, and grown to care about a number of incredible people.

I’ve also watched one collective after another crumble under the burden of legal fees, changing city regulations and other costs associated with always having to fight to stay open…

My personal history with medical marijuana goes back much further than that however, back to when I first started using marijuana in 1983.

I’ve spent a lot of years watching the medical marijuana story get to where we are today, and in this series I share my motivation for being an activist, talk about being a collective member, and about my own medical use of marijuana.

And then there’s this – RIGHT NOW, in Long Beach, our collectives are facing the prospect of having our city council ban them on Tuesday evening, and all my thinking about this has given me the talking medical marijuana blues – Enjoy!

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part One

Includes the story: The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall

“On Tuesday night, November 18th, I got home from work, sat in my big chair, kicked back, and for the first time in my life smoked marijuana legally…”

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Two

I Get By With The Help Of My Friends – a brief look at my personal history with medical marijuana…

“There was a time, not very long ago, when I would often have to wait for days, sometimes a week to get my medicine. Sometimes nothing would be available from the few friends I knew, who knew a friend, who knew a friend who could get marijuana for them…”

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Three

Talking ‘Bout My Medication – looking at the different ways to use medical marijuana and how I use it…

“I wasn’t diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder until I was 33 years old. This revelation – that there was a medical reason, of some kind, behind my most confusing moods and actions – caused a paradigm shift that made me look back over my life through a new perspective…”

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Four

Rev. Martin Luther KingWe Shall Overcome! – talking about the situation here in Long Beach, right now – about the City Attorney’s effort to ban the collectives, and how you can help!

“Rev. Martin Luther King stated over 40 years ago in a speech that “the arc of the moral Universe is long, but it’s bent towards Justice…”

During my long, personal civil rights march towards medical marijuana justice I’ve seen that this statement is true, just as I also believe that one day ‘we shall overcome!'”

I Get By With The Help Of My Friends

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Two

That’s No Way To Get Your Medicine

There was a time, not very long ago, when I would often have to wait for days, sometimes a week to get my medicine. Sometimes nothing would be available from the few friends I knew, who knew a friend, who knew a friend who could get marijuana for them.

I guess that’s a pretty tolerable situation if you’re just buying marijuana for recreational use, just as a weekend kind-of-thing… but horrible for someone who really uses it as a medicine.

Can you imagine a diabetic having to do this to get insulin?

Of course, you could make your own insulin – if you know how and can afford the manufacturing process…

Grow Your Own

I wish I could grow top-grade marijuana, but I’m not very good at it. I know because I tried for a whole year.

In California our Attorney General has issued guidelines for medical marijuana to try and help clarify some of the legal issue within the state. One aspect of these guidelines was to set the personal plant limit at 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants.

I set-up an indoor grow several years ago for only 5 plants, just to be safe and stay below the limit.

I got 5 Mr. Nice clones (Mr. Nice is a “double-indica” strain that produces short marijuana bushes – very good for an indoor grow like mine) and built a small 4’x6′ grow closet complete with medical marijuana stickers and labeling to make sure it was all identifiable as a medical grow.

I loved my little grow. I learned all kinds of stuff about nutrients and pest control, PH balance and watering schedules – I was into it. I invested over $1000 to get it all set-up and running. I was going to prove to myself that I had a green thumb and could grow my own medicine.

The first crop I grew ended up being so-so. I tried not to be too disappointed, but… I was. I thought to myself, “that was just a learning period – now I really knew what I was doing…”

Crop number two was even less impressive, and when I switched strains after the second crop and grew something else, I ended up with some pretty low to mid-grade medicine and became thoroughly disillusioned with the idea of myself as a “self-sustaining grower of my own medicine.”

I dismantled the grow closet and turned it into an art storage rack, gave all my grow equipment to the collective I belonged to at the time, and since then I happily rely on professionals to grow my medicine.

The Benefits Of Being A Collective Member

Here is an excerpt from a posting a couple of years ago on The MMJ Project:

Being in a collective creates an opportunity for them [the collective] to purchase the herb for a larger number of people, lowering the prices for everyone involved…

Of course, to start, you need some people to put up large amounts of money as capital for the collective and those who keep a eye on the business side of things, making sure all the bills are paid on time and that everything is kept financially legal – like in any business.

Other people bring different talents, skills and time to the collective and get compensated for their contributions – and often it’s comes as below cost or free herb – a benefit that helps keep the medicine bills in check – all the volunteers at AAC [the collective I belonged to at the time] are also medical patients.

Still other people are members of the collective who just come by to pick up their herb and they pay what is needed to help cover the costs…

All the different levels of involvement are important and needed.

But the most important part is that the goal is a sustainable model with ever lowering costs instead of a huge profit goal with ever higher investor returns and excessive wealth. A collective, like a co-op, is for mutual benefit of all it’s members…

source: http://mmj.onehumanbeing.com/inside/2009/04/28/updates-april-28th-2009/

Financially Speaking

So what does it cost to buy marijuana at a collective?

I started going to medical marijuana collectives in 2007, four years after I got my first medical marijuana recommendation from my Kaiser psychiatrist.

At the time I would pay around $70 for a decent “eighth” of marijuana. An eighth is 3.5 grams – and if you figure a joint is around .5 to .7 grams, then an eighth will provide about 5 or 6 joints.

Because I could use one joint for two different times of “taking my medicine”, I was paying about $6 per “dose” of medicine.

I had a friend, who had a friend, who could get me a “quarter”, or 7 grams, for around $100, but I never knew what I’d get, and how good it would be for me. The collective had over a dozen different strains to choose from, so I went there whenever I could… but it gets really expensive, very fast.

Currently my daily use can be up to about 2 grams a day – during deep depressions- and more during periods of hypo-manias, so you can imagine how expensive this medicine was…

At the collective I go to now, the same quality medicine would cost only $35-$45 for an eighth, but most of the medicine is much better than I could get just 4 years ago.

Since 2008 I’ve become a volunteer at most of the collectives I belong to, taking photographs of the different strains, helping with the website and generally contributing whatever skills I can to help offset the cost of my medicine.

The Uphill Battle And The Casualties

Unfortunately, over the last few years I’ve watched collective after collective crumble under the weight of legal fees and having to always fight to stay open.

I’ve watched people with the best hearts and purest intentions lose thousands of dollars while just trying to do the right thing for patients, ending up in debt and burned-out from all the struggle.

I’ve also learned that there are some amazingly self-serving individuals that see this industry as just another potential cash-cow for themselves. That’s pretty typical in any industry I guess.

But more often than not, the people I’ve met have been good, kind people that would just like to make a decent living and be a part of something positive at the same time. Fellow patients helping other patients.

Reality – 2012

Medical marijuana has a consistent approval of over 70% of Americans, and in Long Beach, where I live, people are even more sympathetic to medical marijuana. I rarely meet someone from Long Beach who is against either medical marijuana or the existence of collectives in the city. Most people don’t even notice them.

But, despite that reality, our city council is deciding this coming Tuesday, January 17th, on whether or not to ban all collectives in Long Beach.

I assume they would prefer that all of us patients either grow our own (you see how that worked out for me) or go back to the black market and the days of waiting for a friend of a friend to make his delivery.

Taking Action Now!

At this time I’d like to shamelessly plug the LBCA – the Long Beach Collective Association and their website because they are working very hard to Stop The Ban on Tuesday. (Disclosure: I worked on the website)

Visit their website, call one of our city council members and voice your support for medical marijuana. I happen to live in the Third District, so you can call my council member, Gary Delong.

Next: Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Three – Talking ‘Bout My Medication

Previously:

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part One
Includes the story: The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall

Latest Photos on The MMJ Lists

elviswillie_11_27_2010_full_3

I went up to The Treehouse Collective to take photos of a bunch of strains that had come in the day before. I was expecting 8 strains, but there were 12 different ones to photograph when I arrived. Lucky me!

It’s been a little while since I’ve visited my collective to do the photographing work I love so much, and it felt great to be participating once again in the collective process.

I was up till 3:00 or so in the morning processing the photos, and here’s the results. Read more on The MMJ Lists…