NPR : News

Filed Under:

America's Big Backyard Pot Business

"You're driving up from redwood country, in the most beautiful park in America ... and when it's not on your radar, you have no idea it exists," says photographer H. Lee — referring to the marijuana industry that has proliferated, though unofficially, in that region of Northern California.

The name "H. Lee" is actually the pseudonym she uses when discussing her documentary project and forthcoming book, Grassland. It all seems very secretive, and I guess that's kind of the point — but she makes her opinion clear, too: "I don't think it should be so hidden," she says on the phone.

With the passage of Colorado's Amendment 64 on Tuesday — effectively legalizing recreational marijuana in that state — it seems perhaps some of America shares that opinion, too.

Either way, there's no denying the size and scale of the industry, even if it's hard to quantify.

"It's really a gold rush right now," says Lee, who has spent years photographing the marijuana industry in Northern California. "It's really different from eight years ago when I first saw it. Even five years ago, you had to be really careful."

These days, she says, if you just keep an eye out, you'll see greenhouses along roadsides and billboards advertising pot industry materials.

"It's a fascinating place," she concludes. Her anonymous photo story gives an impression of a booming business many Americans never really see. At least for now.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Pack These Pages: Three Must-Reads For Summer

Harriet Logan, owner of Loganberry Books in Shaker Heights, Ohio, recommends a graphic novel about trash, a George Eliot classic and a children's book about a bear pianist.
NPR

Why Does Every New Restaurant Look Like A Factory?

The stripped-down look of exposed brick, poured cement floors, and Edison light bulbs is popular in restaurants across America. One reporter dares to ask, "Seriously, why?"
WAMU 88.5

Why Local Nonprofits Haven't Fixed Poverty

As long as there has been poverty, there have been people trying to end it. We explore the obstacles and inefficiencies local nonprofits run into when trying to solve society's stubborn problem.

WAMU 88.5

Can We Trust Our Cars?

There were more airbag recalls this week, and VW has agreed to pay nearly fifteen billion in its emissions cheating scandal. Meanwhile, cars with driverless technology are becoming available, but whether they will make us safer is up for debate. A look at auto safety and consumer trust.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.