SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — On the balcony of a small, crowded family apartment in San Francisco’s Hunters Point neighborhood, Ox shows off his small pasture.
Ox—that’s his street name—has about a dozen marijuana plants.
“They at least made to five feet,” he says pointing to the other female plants.
“She made it five feet. She made it to 4’7”…” he continued down the line.
It’s harvest season here on the Hunters Point balcony—and on the huge fields of Mendocino and Humboldt counties.
Inside, up the stairs, are those buds, ready for their close-up, ripening inside a drying tent.
“For an actual manicure, I just trim,” Ox says. “As you can see on this plant, there is a lot more leaf matter.”
It’s the buds that are used to ingest, and need to be cleaned. While it’s a full-time job lasting months for harvesters in Mendocino and Humboldt, Ox just gathers some pals.
“Sunday, I had two groups of folks—four of us—we’re taking off the big leaves—big fan leaves, water leaves and the other two people were manicuring,” Ox said.
He paid them $20 each and some product.
Ox says it’s slow and tedious work.
“Make sure you get in there good, get in as close a possible as you can to the bud,” he said.
Ox said he sells to marijuana dispensaries—illegal under federal law, quasi-legal in California where officials, mostly, look the other way.
“Clubs do not like to pay much at all,” Ox says.
“They’ll find any little thing in my bud to lower the price,”
And though Ox stands by his product, there are few clubs that actually check the potency and safety of what they sell.
“You don’t know. You don’t know; if it’s not tested, you have no idea,” says Wayne Justman, who was among those that worked on the original proposition in California, which made medicinal marijuana legal in 1996.
He says he’d like blanket testing but right now it doesn’t exist.
“No, there isn’t. That’s optional,” Justman says.
But Ox says he knows what goes in his weed and he doesn’t trust others.
“If it looks good and it smells good, it don’t matter what I put in that plant,” he says.
“And I don’t buy from the clubs—unless I have too; I don’t like smoking weed that I don’t know what’s in it.”
That’s currently one of the big issues facing the medical marijuana community.