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After eight months in his childhood home helping his mother through her bout with cancer, Matthew Frank and his wife were themselves desperate for comfort. They found sanctuary in the most unlikely place—amid a collection of outcasts and eccentrics on a plot of land miles outside their comfort zone: a “mostly medical” marijuana farm in California. Pot Farm details the strange, sublime, and sometimes dangerous goings-on at Weckman Farm, a place with hidden politics and social hierarchies, populated by recovering drug addicts, alternative healers, pseudo-hippie kids, and medical marijuana users looking to give back. There is also Lady Wanda, the massive, elusive, wealthy, and heavily armed businesswoman who owns the farm and runs it from beneath a housedress and a hat of peacock feathers. Frank explores the various roles that allow this industry to work—from field pickers to tractor drivers, cooks to yoga instructors, managers to snipers, illegal immigrants to legal revisionists, and the delivery crew to the hospice workers on the other end. His book also looks at the blurry legislation regulating the marijuana industry as well as the day-to-day logistics of running such an operation and all the relationships that brings into play. Through firsthand observations and experiences (some influenced by the farm’s cash crop), interviews, and research, Pot Farm exposes a thriving but unsung faction of contemporary American culture.
Matthew Gavin Frank is an assistant professor of creative writing at Northern Michigan University. He is the author of Barolo, available in a Nebraska Paperback, and the poetry collections Sagittarius Agitprop, Warranty in Zulu, and The Morrow Plots.