Down On The Farm

September 28, 2016 at 4:20 am (Cosmic Encounters)

Stinky Cheese

Stinky Cheese

My cousin and I have a medical grow operation. (It’s his, I just help every possible way.) For the past thirty years he’s had the best weed around, and I stick to that statement, even in this day of dispensaries on every corner. “It takes about a hundred grand,” is his statement to anyone who wants him to get them started. He doesn’t fuck around. He only does it right, and that ain’t cheap.

We’ve been doing business for years, and he trusts me implicitly, as I do him. So a chill ran down my spine and rested near my nutsack when I heard him say the words, “Randy wants to see the books…”

Weed has always been a cash business, an illegal cash business. Nowadays you worry more about thugs than cops, but caution is required. Standard accounting practices do not apply. For the longest time nothing was written down, because that’s evidence. One relied on memory and trust.

When Cousin told me Randy said the numbers weren’t adding up, I had to question. I’d been doing everything right. I move a small amount of weed to people who don’t want to pay an eighth’s worth of state taxes. (Dispensary eighth: $45-$50. My eighth: $30. And we sell to the dispensary.) I build a small slush fund, and he picks it up when he brings our monthly allowances, usually a big, stinky ounce apiece. The slush fund often pays for his concert tickets, or emergency pill runs, etc… He’d scooped the money last time, but I’d sold some more and used it to pay for my sister’s doctor fee. (Doctor’s signature on medical form: $165.) We had to reimburse the money from one area to another, and this was confusing Randy, apparently.

My cousin is in his mid-60s now. A once robust carny is now looking frail most of the time. Today was a good day. He was up and about, though sticking close to the bathroom. He handed me a pen and notebook. “Make a list of the figures the best you can, while I use the shitter.”

I opened the notebook, and did the numbers:

$200 Card fee
$165 Doctor fee
$50 Grower fee
$10 Postage, copies etc…

$425 total. We do this every year. I don’t understand the confusion.

I made a second copy for Sister, adding, “Paid $150 from slush fund, and $15 from C’s pocket for doctor. Need $275 cash today. Might as well do both cards today.

Cousin came out of the bathroom. “Done? Come on in and talk to Randy, then.”

I’d met Randy after years of hearing about Randy. One of Cousin’s oldest friends, he was a burly, strapping man in his early 60s. His room was neat; the only thing out were his dentures and a baseball bat. Hmm.

“How ya doin’?” I said. “Here’s what I got.” I explained how I’d rob Peter to pay Paul here and there, explained the fee scale at the doctor’s office, and how since we don’t qualify for Oregon Health Plan anymore we have to pay full price for our cards.

Randy’s voice was raising, but the anger was general, not at me. “Well, that’s all fine and dandy, what I don’t get is this ‘grower’s fee’? Why are we paying a grower’s fee? We’re the grower! Is this for someone else?”

“No,” I explained. “When you renew every year, there’s a $50 grower fee. I always forget and have to come back, but this year I didn’t. You get the certificate that better be hanging on the wall in the grow-room.”

“I fuckin’ hate paperwork,” said Randy. “Okay, it’s all good. PAY THE MAN, COUSIN! He’ll take care of ya out there. I just couldn’t understand why we have to pay twice for the same shit.”

“Welcome to the OLCC controlling the weed business.” Weed and booze go great together, but not in business. Apples and oranges, people.

I went into the weight room, where Cousin sat at the table weighing up a second ounce. “Ah, hello tri-beam,” I said to the scale. “I am having an ’80s flashback.”

“Have you ever considered getting your own scale so I don’t have to do this shit?” He was weighing out eighths now; dumping them on the table for me to bag up.

“I never kept a scale because they would use that as evidence of marketing when they seize your house. Drug profits and all that shit.”

“Well, now that it’s legal…”

“Yeah, Cuz, you know you like busting up bags of weed. It’s therapeutic.”

“Yeah, well you can use some therapy yourself, bud.”

And so we bantered. We drove to a nearby copy shop for a dozen photocopies of his driver’s license, so we don’t have to do this again for a couple years. Well, the copies anyway. We’re getting good enough at it that I no longer have to read the checklist on the application.

When I got home, Sister told me, “They said keep the $50 grow fee, and to tell the grower to watch his mail for the yearly renewal. He pays $200 annually instead of the patient.”

I looked at her paperwork, sure enough. They already had grower information, down to house specifics. This might explain why Randy was wondering why I was squeezing him for a couple fifties, when he’d already done the dirty work.

I called Cousin, and let him know the details. “So, the laws changed again, huh?” he said in a bored voice. “I’ll tell Randy.”

I put away my ounce of Stinky Cheese, and stashed the $50 in the slush fund. Next month it’s my turn…

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