Crime du Jour, Day 10: Drug Manufacturing and Cultivation

Crime du Jour: 31 Days of Malfeasance, Misconduct, and Immorality

One crime story per day, all the way through October. Ebook to be published Nov 1. This will be under my mystery/crime pen name, Diane R. Thompson!

Please note, I don’t actually smoke weed myself. I’m a writer, and my job is to convincingly lie about these things.

Crime du Jour #10: Drug Manufacturing and Cultivation


Recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado. You can grow it at home for personal use. Six plants per resident over 21 in the house, with as many as three plants flowering at a time, a max of twelve plants unless you meet certain requirements. Let’s keep it simple and say twelve plants total, with six plants flowering at a time. The plants have to be in an enclosed area, concealed from view, locked up, and inaccessible to minors. You can’t sell to anyone, either marijuana or marijuana products.

Raising pot plants indoors goes beyond an art. It’s witchcraft. Grow lights, grow times, nutrient cycles, handling mold, ventilation, to use or not use a pesticide on your precious plants, not tracking pollutants in or out of your grow area, harvesting, trimming, drying, curing, and making other products. All of it’s fussy,  complicated, and temperamental, so you’re always learning something new.  It’s not like growing snap peas in the back yard in summer. Do you know your top ten hygrometers?  I know mine.

I put in my time and learned my craft.  The kids call me the Pot Witch, because I’m old, crotchety, have a wart on my chin, and my product is like magic.

Newbies expect it to be easy.

Being high is easy.  All the steps before that are a pain in the ass.

You have to love the process for what it is. And I do.

Sometimes when I’m in my grow room, my soul sings just from the feeling of the cycle of life ebbing and flowing around me.  There’s a place in my heart where the plants and I blend into each other, where I’m forgiven all my little sins and my plants reconcile themselves with becoming ash and dreams.  Everyone’s got a little bit of the mystic in them. I save my mysticism for my plants.  My craft.  No matter what strain I grow (although I usually stay with Lamb’s Bread or Granddaddy Purple, to stick with my strengths), people always feel like they’re guided toward insight. I’ve had more than one friend break down in tears as their inner defenses come down.

But I once ended up in a bad place because of what I’d shared.

I was vaping a little dab of weed concentrate—or shatter—with an old, old friend of mine, someone I’d known for a hundred years between the two of us. (Yes, I’m that old, if not older.)  The shatter was my own, made from frosty trim, the sweetly-furred leaves that surround the buds when they’re ripe. If you don’t trim the buds when you dry and cure them, it makes for a less-than-optimal smoke, but if you do trim them, you end up with less flower.  I compromise by doing a very clean trim, drying and curing the trimmings, then running them through a vacuum tube-butane setup that looks like something out of a mad scientist’s lab.

That night, the talk between my friend and I was getting free and loose, our tongues coming undone.

Then, out of nowhere, that old, old friend of mine said something unforgiveable.

And then he said something even more unforgiveable.

I gritted my teeth.

He asked me why I was being so quiet, then laughed and said something that topped both previous times combined.

Did I go all Montresor from Edgar Allan Poe on his ass? No.

But did I refuse to show him my shatter set-up when he asked?

Also no.

A man who could say what he had said, was obviously a man to know his own mind. “So this is the butane intake?” he asked, without waiting for an answer.  “And here’s where the oil collects? I know a great way to get a few last ounces out of it. You put in a couple of wadded-up coffee filters at each end, then overstuff the cylinder before you start running the butane through it.  You should try it.”

“Do you have your own rig?”

“No, it was a buddy of mine’s.  Hey, why is there tape all over the light switches?”

I told him that it was because I had a cat who liked to play with them.

He said, “How about letting me have a run at your setup?”

I did have a plastic tub full of frosty trim that was just waiting to be processed into beautiful, honey-clear shatter, about two dozen plants’ worth. But I pressed one hand to my heart and said, “I would never practice my craft while I was this high. Besides, I’m out of trim.”

He laughed and said he felt perfectly clear-headed, he would do it for me. We could go out and buy some good buds, not crap any homegrower could grow at home.

I said I was going to bed.

He said, “You’re just worried that I’ll steal your trade secrets.”

I said, “Tell you what: you bring a batch of shatter and we’ll try them both. Whoever wins has to show off their setup to the loser.”

He bared his teeth.  “Ha! ha! ha! An excellent test.  We’ll have a good laugh over this for years.”

I said, “Just be careful. Nobody makes good shatter when they’re high.”

He left that night with a smile upon his lips.

I wondered what would happen to him.

A spark, a single spark, was all it would take to light any leaking butane on fire.

I sat down with a second dab and a meditative state of mind, wondering if I had done the right thing.

My plants said it was out of my hands now, that the man he truly was would emerge from this test. Would he be a humble man, willing to admit he had much to learn? Would he forget about the whole thing?

Or would he be a dead man with his house on fire?

Eventually, the plants said, we would all have to find out.



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You can find 2018’s story-a-day project, Tales of the Normal, here, and 2017’s story-a-day project, October Nights, here.

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