Before 1996 when Dennis Peron’s Proposition 215 legalized personal marijuana growing at home for California medical marijuana patients, illegal black market marijuana growers like you and me supplied North America with most of its high-quality buds.

The black market domestic marijuana industry rose up in the 1970s when we got tired of the sticks, seeds, and dried-out, crappy buds in compressed bricks of smuggled Mexican, Panamanian, Colombian, Jamaican and Thai weed.

Black market marijuana growers created the seedless female bud (sinsemilla) technique, studied horticulture, pushed industrialists to create fertilizers and grow lights targeted for cannabis, and kept tens of millions of marijuana consumers happy.

Peron, who is now deceased, said he wrote Prop. 215 to be as vague, simple, and helpful as possible. He didn’t trust government, politicians, taxes, regulators, bureaucrats.

In contrast to the complicated so-called marijuana legalization regulations enacted as Prop. 64 in California and similarly confusing, expensive, and ridiculous restrictions in other “legalized” states, Prop. 215 didn’t have plant limits and other hassles for growers.

It just said you could grow what you and your doctor thought you needed medically.

Now I constantly hear legal marijuana corporations, consortiums, venture capitalists, and lobbying groups whining about black market growers, complaining about the industry’s alleged racism and sexism, demanding that “minority-owned” cannabis businesses be given special breaks, and similar capitalist-industrialist bleating.

The first mistake these people made when they jumped into our industry is not understanding that the cannabis infrastructure and culture they seek to take over was created by two groups a long time ago: hippies and outlaw capitalists.

It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when a large percentage of young people didn’t believe that worship of money, bling, and profits should be the only motivators in your life.

Growing marijuana and your own food, living off the grid, avoiding consumerism, working for peace and justice, eating an organic, vegan diet, staying healthy and in touch with Nature—those were hippie ethics.

The outlaw capitalists weren’t hippies at all. They wanted to grow as much marijuana as possible as quickly as possible and sell it for the highest price possible.

Neither group had respect for “the law,” police, or government. They didn’t believe government has the right to tell you what plants to grow, consume or sell.

They were outraged by the violence and criminality of drug war police, military-style marijuana raids, and long prison sentences for growing plants.

Some hippies became outlaw capitalists. A grow room was often called “my mortgage payment.”

Regular folks who coached youth sports and did other community work also raised families, bought homes, and put their kids through college solely by growing and selling marijuana.

When Canada’s “BC bud” was a major percentage of North American supply about 20 years ago, real estate agents in Vancouver touted upgraded high-capacity electrical panels in sound-proofed bunker basements with extensive plumbing, water filtration, and air conditioning capacity.

“Also note the totality of the security system and stealth features,” the agents would say, with a sly smile.

Of course there were problems in the black market marijuana industry. Rip-offs, violence, murders, rapes, extortion and other bad things happened to growers—due to corrupt police.

And non-police predators inside the industry, along with free-lance gangsters and narks, knew that ripping off an illegal grower was an easy way to get cash with no worries about law enforcement.

It’s not like an illegal grower could call police to report illegal marijuana cash had just been stolen at gunpoint.

But overall, the black market industry worked well and everybody was happy.

Contrary to the propaganda from today’s marijuana entrepreneurs, consumers were smart enough to recognize tainted, inferior cannabis.

The best growers got the most customers; schwag growers were shunned.

The black market marijuana industry developed all the best marijuana strains (and the foundational genetics for recent top strains) sold today in legalized marijuana dispensaries.

The black market industry pioneered new marijuana growing techniques, gear, and fertilizers.

Prices were affordable enough for consumers, while also providing enough profits for growers to stay in business.

Prop. 215 didn’t harm the black market, it expanded it.

Because the black market worked so well, California politicians and money-minded businesspeople had to wreck Prop. 215 and replace it with the draconian, bizarre regulatory scheme California has today.

As of 2022, California has issued at least 12,500 cannabis business licenses that cost from $1,205 per year for a small grower to hundreds of thousands per year for larger growers.

On top of that, legal cannabis businesses pay special fees, taxes, and must comply with expensive employment laws and grow op building code requirements.

The late, great marijuana seeds guru Subcool (aka the Weed Nerd) spent tons of money trying to be compliant with California’s cannabis legalization business rules, but always had to spend more and more, as rules kept changing, sometimes day to day!

He finally gave up and left California.

Legal marijuana, which is not as tasty, potent, and fresh as what you can grow for yourself at home, costs way more than black market marijuana.

The legalized marijuana industry is very angry about that. They’re lobbying government officials to do more to arrest black market growers, hoping to eliminate competition.

Canada’s federal marijuana legalization scheme includes increased budgeting for anti-marijuana police to enforce increased penalties for black market growers and sellers. Many of the richest people in the legal American cannabis industry want the same thing in America.

Of course, for people unwilling or unable to grow their own marijuana, it’s nice they can walk into a legal dispensary and spend a lot of money on a variety of cannabis products, some of which can’t be easily manufactured or supplied by black market growers.

The really funny thing is our magazine grower team has consumers in several legalized marijuana states, and when those consumers tell us we should lower our prices or they’ll get their marijuana from legal dispensaries, we say, “Go ahead, you’ll be coming back to us as soon as you sample that overpriced crap.”

And they do come back to us, grateful we grow fresh buds of incredible strains you never see in any legalized marijuana store.

The bottom line is you can easily grow your own premium cannabis that’s far better than ANY buds you get in a dispensary, and even with initial start-up costs and ongoing expenses, it will be way cheaper than buying retail legal cannabis.

For sure, there are some cool people in the legalized marijuana industry, such as Humboldt Seed Company and others who were forced into the legal industry by the reality of government oppression.

But I have zero sympathy for the the profit-driven people who jumped onto the cannabis bandwagon looking for quick bucks, after tens of thousands of us black market growers risked prison for decades to supply marijuana to the masses.

These people don’t love marijuana and live for it. It’s not their passion. It’s just a way to make money. They could have opened a yogurt shop, tanning salon, strip club, or alcohol bar and been just as happy if not happier.

It’s quite ironic that legalized marijuana led to a supply glut that dropped prices and put many legal marijuana businesses out of business, lol.

Black market marijuana growers created the marijuana industry, and we don’t intend to let the government and its allies steal the entire industry from us.

When you grow your own marijuana or purchase premium cannabis from a connoisseur home grower, you’re doing the right thing.