Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution


Pre-order Book HERE

Doug Fine

Funky Butte Ranch

While the Middle East dictators kept toppling (they always topple, don’t they? They’re like Weebles) and the bankers kept devising new kinds of financial instruments to circumvent whatever “regulation” they and their former colleagues (now in government) concocted, I was sleuthing in one of the first places in the United States to declare a Drug Peace. Why?

Bottom line: the War on Drugs had just celebrated its dubious fortieth anniversary, during which time it has cost you and me a trillion dollars without making a dent in supply or demand (actually both have increased). I wanted to know: is there a sustainable solution that can put billions back into the economy every year while decimating the murderous drug cartels and even helping the U.S. wean from foreign oil?

That’s what I’ve been looking into for the past year and that’s the topic of my new book, TOO HIGH TO FAIL: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution (Penguin/Gotham, August 2, 2012).

I essentially spent a growing season in domestic medical cannabis fields following a single flower from planting to patient. I shadowed a cadre of American farmers (some new, some third generation) looking at what a cannabis economy would be worth to the U.S. balance sheet if (perhaps we should say “when”) the Drug War ends. Just tryin’ to do my part to help the ol’ economy.

The folks who invited me in to learn the details of their once-secret industry sported tastefully framed permits from local law enforcement and were Chamber of Commerce members. Sustainability standards were written into local regulations. Quite the brainteaser for a fellow raised during Just Say No.

What I discovered amidst the Northern California redwoods is what both a majority of Americans and Pat Robertson already sense (according to a 2011 Gallup poll): beyond its obviously valuable medicinal properties, taxing cannabis like alcohol for adult use will bring a half-trillion dollars into the legitimate American economy in the first five years after prohibition ends and will thus play a significant role in balancing the U.S. budget, while jump-starting an American agricultural and manufacturing revival.

It’s already happening in Canada, where the cannabis industry is growing at 20% per year. That’s where the organic hemp seed oil in my morning shake comes from, and the plant’s per-acre biofuel efficiency is ten times that of corn. It’d be a federal felony to grow it here. But we can buy it from other nations. Or from cartel criminals (to the tune of tens of billions of as yet-untaxed dollars every year). At a time of massive national debt. Don’t you love good policy? Go BP.  “It’s magnitudes more productive than corn- or soy-based ethanol,” a USDA biologist told me. “But it’s not even on our blackboard because it’s a federal crime.” Thus were the farmers I followed practicing a kind of patriotic civil disobedience. One day they’ll be teaching university courses to students dubious that their crop was ever really illegal.

And on the sustainability front, I learned during the research for TOO HIGH TO FAIL that the cannabis plant, thanks to its aerating, foot-long taproots that grow in a month, can even help ravaged soil worldwide adjust to climate change and recover from a century of monoculture. So the topic passed quite easily my “yes, but is this important enough to spend a year researching?” test. As I put it in the book, ‘One tries not to sound like one of those “cannabis can do anything including bring about world peace and an end to Ring Around the Collar” people, but from my Omega-balanced breakfast shake alone I felt I deserved some kind of Canadian tax rebate.”

As the highly decorated (and very popular) local Sheriff in the community where I did my primary research likes to say, “The plant isn’t going away. We can tax it, or we can let the drug lords make the profits. If a law enforcement professional or a politician doesn’t realize after forty years [of Drug Warring] that the sun still rises and there’s still an America with cannabis on the convenience store shelf, it might be time for him to retire.”

It was, perhaps needless to say, a fun book to research. Hope it proves that way to read. Click on the cover image (or book title) below to head to the pre-order page or to see the short film about the whole season-long, seed-to-patient adventure. Please also feel free to forward this note far and wide. And thanks as always for your support. I never forget that it’s you who allow me to keep writing about the topics that feel important and amusing to cover.

Doug Fine

Funky Butte Ranch

Note: for those of you blessed humans who ordered signed copies of my previous books directly from me, this time please first use one of the options you’ll see on the pre-order page: it’s part of my agreement with the publisher that we’ll do it through stores this time, whether independent local bookstores or the Amazons/Barnes and Nobles/Apples of the world.  As in the past, if you want your copies signed, I’m happy to do it. The best way is probably to come to the live events as they line up in the second half of the year. There you’ll also see the unintentional comedy performance known as my show. Hope to see you on the tour.


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21 Responses to “Too High to Fail”

  1. Nice article, if you take the long view of history–which I know is quickly becoming taboo and even condemnable amongst TV hypnotized (the flicker frequency, look it up) and smart phoned-brained modern folk–you’ll see that a plant cannot really be criminalized.

    Its been legal, even in America (as it still is in many nations, globally) for a long long time. Until 1938 I believe. Thats a long time, going back to the First Nations of North America, that is thousands, and thousands of years, in N. America alone. If God created it, put receptors in our brains for it, maybe we should be trying to figure out how to responsibly use it, starting with non-intoxicating effects of industrial hemp as well as the intoxicating sister plant–cannabis: again, as we have for millenia.

    Its been linked in archeological sites around the world to humans in their encampments, going back a long long time. Therefore, its been legal, and always will be legal, but there is just a blip in our history right now, where shallow politicians and corporate shills have succeeded: to try to outlaw and control it, through hypocritical legislation, starting in primarily the industrialized West, starting the the early 1900s.

    The writing is good, the topic is overdue. But guess what, this plant, and mother nature, with exception, have and should, with exception, have always been not only legal, but preserved, protected, and stewarded wisely, not consumed for mass waste and over consumption. see about that. This time period we’re living in is the end of a dark and dreary age. People are waking up to the power they have within themselves, to directly know things, inexplicably, and that power is Knowledge. Its only a matter of consciously choosing to follow the deeper spiritual intelligence of Knowledge within, or to follow compulsions of conditioning and culture externally. Which will you choose, and when?

    Strangely, cannabis has been known to make accessing that innate spiritual guidance power of everyone human, in their heart, easier. Cannabis (which its called everywhere else in the world) is also good at releasing emotional trauma and pain and beginning to heal and move forward, in a calm, kind of resolute way. This plant, like other ethneogens has not and will not succeed in being illegal much longer, how can you afford to enforce it, in a ‘no economy’ joke?

    Well, when people throw away their TV & its hypnotizing blend of subliminally programming sports, fear/speculation, and worship of technology as our new god (or money right?) and start to eat right (essential fatty acids are impt) then they’ll see the power is always in the the peoples hands. To do that the right way, you have to follow your heart: people have to have will to act and use their heart in their action, to make it constructive, and well intentioned and completely ethical, for everyone involved, then it works out in the end.

    That power Knowledge is now brewing, and Steps to Knowledge: The Book of Inner Knowing has been one that has really been important for me, in showing me my true inner power of inner authority and inner guidance. The guidance of God and relationships of higher purpose. In a world needing great contribution now, including in saving and preserving the environment for our green family in the plant kingdom, Knowledge is the calling that will lead you forward, if you but let it. for a free download

  2. Justin Case says:

    I exercise my basic human right to extend my middle finger to our government daily. I respect neither evil men or their evil laws and I will choose what I will put into my body. I figure that this plant was either made for us or us for it and by god I plan on becoming one with nature momentarily. Peace y’all.

  3. anona says:

    “Land of the free, home of the brave” my @ss. I grew-up listening to such brain-numbing, patriotic/propaganda swill from all the older generation while watching us turning into such a fascist police state.

    There are so many Americans who legitimately need this miracle plant for medicinal use –not recreational use– due to illnesses brought on and promoted by our industries –including the medical industry. Yet, it remains a crime and out-of-reach to use it for one of the purposes it was created for. What a sick and twisted bunch of Fks running this place including the pathetic, brainwashed old people who support criminalizing this miracle plant put here by the same God they claim to believe in.

  4. amicusbriefs says:

    Cannabis means cash revenue for honest people independent of bank-created debt-slavery. This agitates the bank tribe to the degree that they’ll spend hundreds of millions of Federal Reserve Notes annually to finance lobbyists peddling nonexistent science and their version of the ‘This is your brain on drugs’ spiel. Legalized cannabis would be a simultaneous dagger in the hearts of ZioZombie banks and Big Pharma. States already have the lawful power to nullify all federal drug laws using rational interpretation of the Commerce Clause. Citizen juries already have the lawful power to find Justice, despite the DA’s loud assertions to the contrary. They are under no lawful obligation to ‘uphold the law’ if the law is excrement. Thomas Jefferson said, “If the law is unjust, it is not law.”

  5. It’s all about starving the cartels out, IMO jeffd. If the plant was not illegal, there would be no reason for this type of activity.

  6. jeffd says:

    I live in Northern California. One of my neighbors whose family has been in the area for over 100 years told me that another local resident (who was a professional Houndsman) was hired by the railroad to go into remote valley areas of Trinity and Humboldt counties in the 1990s. What he reported was that certain areas were full of Mexican nationals growing weed in the employ of the Drug Cartels. The interesting part of his account was that the Houndsman reported that on certain nights the whole place was light up by U.S. military helicopters bringing in supplies. On a family camping trip two years ago I spoke with local Forrest Service people in Trinity County who acknowledged that the cartels were still there. If this book doesn’t mention this then it’s like talking about the U.S. dollar and not mentioning the Federal Reserve.

  7. The only person who is intentionally insulting anyone, Pix, is YOU.

  8. Pix says:

    “While the Middle East dictators kept toppling (they always topple, don’t they? They’re like Weebles)”

    That is totally insulting. If the USA stopped interfering ie bombing the crap out of these countries, removing their legal democracies and stopped funding dictators to take over, there would be no trouble in the Middle East at all.

    You are either totally ignorant or stoned off your trolley.

  9. David says:

    I’ll stay out of the debate, thank you. I just wanted to point out that, unlike Middle East dictators, “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down!”

  10. “It’s already happening in Canada, where the cannabis industry is growing at 20% per year.”

    Yes, the albino pot that we call industrial hemp has grown fantastically since it was allowed back.

    Canada totally criminalized all cannabis cultivation in 1938, putting farmers out of business that had previously been subsidized since 1923, through a Federal Hemp Bounties Act.

    There were some special exceptions made during the Second World War, but otherwise, all commercial cannabis was completely criminalized from 1938 to 1998. (A few experimental crops were allowed from 1994, until 1998.)

    Although only albino pot is allowed to be grown, which is generally inferior in many ways, nevertheless, industrial hemp DID make a comeback in Canada.

    It still suffers from 60 years of complete criminalization setting the industry way, way back. But nevertheless, the inherent value of the plant has enabled dramatic growth of the hemp industries in Canada. (However, there still was tons of red tape, that makes it impossible for most small farmers to enter the market, and even the bigger companies that do still have significant problems to overcome, to keep their markets going. The specialty hemp seed food products seem to have done better than the fiber products, so far, due to the complex bureaucratic and marketing obstacles in their way.

    BUT, at the same time, recreational marijuana is being more viciously attacked by the Canadian government now than ever before!

    For tons more of rambling, redundant bla, bla, blah about cannabis in Canada, see … The party leader section, and our English Forum, have the most stuff.



  11. blake says:

    ZANG, the obvious answer is to OUTLAW government; thieving worthless bunch of parasites -Amerika being the first of the worst of course

  12. Tom says:

    I can’t understand why so many people want to pay more and more tax to the government. With more tax, the government has more power and more money to squander – while you have less.

    Hey let’s just give EVERYTHING to the government, they nearly have it all anyway.

  13. Frank says:

    Give these warmongering scum another 1/2 trillion dollars to murder millions more,I think not!

  14. Highly Doobious says:

    Don’t Legalize Marijuana…Decriminalize Cannabis!

  15. Zang says:

    To tax it it would have to be legal, If its legal I will grow my own thank you very much so the Govt will never legalise !

  16. Willie Boy says:

    How can men tax that which Creation has given us, as the greatest of all medicine, gratis? IS THERE ANY GREATER ARROGANCE?

    Should we be taxed for sunshine and the air we breathe (y’know, the horrid carbon dioxide we exhale, that plants need to survive?) as well?

  17. Les says:

    You do know the government does not like competition right? Not to mention all the big industries from drug to petro to wood products and clothing. Add on the Dea and the private prisons. Too much money and too many jobs involved. That’s why the fight to keep illegal what was once mandatory to grow in this country. That and they discovered that that people who are regular pot users are not good subjects for their brainwashing. And they can’t have that.

  18. LorieK says:

    If folks would have just Johnny Appleseeded the whole place starting back in the 60’s, instead of throwing seeds away…there would be no issue by now. Hmmmmm….

  19. rico says:

    We can grow roses too, doesn’t mean everyone can. We can roll our own cigarettes, make our own beer.. If its on a shelf and I can get a pack of kush, I’m ready to pay my tax!

  20. I agree about the taxation, Rex.

  21. Rex says:

    Don’t tax a plant you can grow yourself.