We are now in the heart of one of the most magical times of the cannabis calendar, Croptober, and we’re breaking down the harvest season with an explainer and our expectations here at L.A. Weekly for 2021.

After eight months of effort, California’s full-term sun-grown cannabis crop is getting chopped down across the state. This is the first step in a quest to become the heat that drives a demand for California sun-grown pot that will eventually save small farmers once they can sell it to everyone everywhere legally. 

But sadly, that path to glory is not the only one available. A lot of good pot getting chopped as I type this will not get the post-production care it deserves. Maybe the snap won’t be all the way there when they decide it’s done drying. The cure will get messed up. The flame potential is lost to an aroma reminiscent of Toro Riding Mower Kush. Tragedy. 

But once you get past the idea it’s not all going to be the best weed on the planet, you can focus on grading it all. Then, as you make your way through the pack, you start to find the things you can’t believe were grown outside. Almost as if the plants were next to an open bar in the Caribbean for a few months living a stress-free life. That true Occupy Weed Street 1% of the 1% flame outdoor? Wildly rare? Sure. But when you see it, it’s really something.

This year gave growers the best chance possible to reach their peak work a lot of the time, and many have been chirping for weeks about the quality of their pot. Why the exceptional hype levels? A lot of this year’s wildfire impact was localized. Much of the heart of the Emerald Triangle was spared with the exception of some heavier smoke events over in Trinity County and further east outside the official triangle in the Sierra Foothills. 

Losing the sun for a week last year ruined everything. There was a lot of good pot, but there really isn’t much room for debate as to whether the pot would have been better had the sky been there that week of smoke when we got enough Bladerunner jokes in for one lifetime.

We’ve already seen the results of great weather this year. As we covered in the Dep Report early in the summer, banging weather equals the best shot at growing heat. That trickles down the supply chain into the bags of pot you buy or as the proper material for concentrate manufacturers. 

When you hear Croptober, the core of it is the full term stuff, but a lot of people put the second round of deps under the umbrella too. Back in the day a lot of people only grew deps for the sake of having a fresh pile of cash for when the trimmigrants showed up. An endearing or loathsome term depending on who you ask, but its ethos in representing the flood of seasonal workers that make their way to the hills of Northern California is spot on. 

But unfortunately for the European Backpacking crowd, the rates their parents got to hang out in the hills, trim weed, and shoot the shit in a variety of Latin-based languages as they traveled across the U.S. has crashed alongside the pound price in the marketplace. Back in the day, farmers would pay $200 a pound to people they could get four a day out of no problem because fast scissors equal fast money. Some farmers would go all out to keep their unicorn trimmers on the team. I hope you like Costco steaks and sleeping inside! These days there are a lot of people paying $75 and people are thankful to have the work. Even more mortifying, minimum-wage trim crews that make the weed look like dirt. 

Why all the low numbers? There is just so much weed. There was no drought this year and California never ran out of B-list pot at any point. And as the harvest hits, there is more weed already on inventory from the first and now the second run of deps than ever. This makes it even trickier to push full-sun outdoor that isn’t Triple-A heat.

The most important thing about the 2021 harvest is it may be your last opportunity to support the small cannabis farmer. As the industry consolidates and the odds continue to stack against small farms until the parachute of interstate markets opens up, more will fall. It’s critical that the people doing it the best they can and pulling off quality products reputable enough for the marketplace get as much love as possible. 

Those farmers that are seeing the lowest prices of their lives deserve our support. Nobody expected weed to maintain its price point compared to when you could go to prison for it at every point in the supply chain. But where are these $200 – $300 dollar pounds on the dispensary shelves? Not to discourage the few dispensaries that have tried to pass on the love to the consumer with five-dollar eighths, but for the most part, the new prices farmers are getting hit with aren’t reaching the consumer. 

So this harvest season, as you look to be the educated consumer supporting small farms, keep in mind the people who are making their lives the hardest. And keep in mind if those same people passed the savings on to you. 

The weed needs some time to dry and cure, but we look forward to sharing all the best things from the harvest with you as soon as we lay eyes on them. 


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