We spend an afternoon with the Guru of Ganja, Ed Rosenthal—co-founder of High Times magazine, element #100 on the PERIODIC TABLE OF STUFF STONERS LIKE and one of the world’s best-known authorities on marijuana cultivation and the guy sends us home with a bag of…TOMATOES?
Recently, after a great lunch and many joints (filled with Rosenthal’s home-grown), Rosenthal and his adorable wife Jane Klein treated us to a tour of their spacious Oakland, CA home. We walked by the huge Ramones poster on the living room wall, Rosenthal’s famous prison jumper on another and into the office where he and Jane run Green Aid, a medical marijuana legal defense and education organization.The two are very passionate about their latest work; providing help to individuals in legal trouble resulting from marijuana prohibition.
During our visit Rosenthal walked us out to his large and tranquil koi pond to demonstrate how his fish are far more responsive than his lazy-ass cats. We then head towards a small door just off the garage. We duck inside, walk past giant racks filled with Ed’s life’s work; his books containing some of the world’s foremost tips on cannabis cultivation. Then we walk through another door. On the other side are shimmering buds still attached to branches hanging to dry. The smell is overwhelmingly fantastic. Rosenthal is unphased. We’re stunned. He then continues on through the room, past a curtain and we arrive smack dab in the middle of the Guru of Ganja’s home grow room. It was a small greenhouse filled with CO2 and a few of the most stunning marijuana plants we’ve ever seen in our lives. And it was awesome. It was equally awesome to see the Guru himself in his natural habitat. As he talked about his fragrant garden he beamed, his eyes widened, his smile widened—it was magnificent. Listening to Rosenthal talk about his plants was like hearing a proud papa reflecting on his beautiful children.
Speaking of kids, Rosenthal tells us with a chuckle, “If you don’t want your kids to smoke pot, make sure they know that you do.” Apparently this why the Guru of Ganja’s kids, who are highly successful adults now, are not into weed despite it being so important to their father.
When it was time to split, Rosenthal sent us home with a hearty sample of the fruits of his 35 years of gardening expertise; a giant bag filled with…you guessed it. Juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes! Then it occurred to us, Ed wasn’t just sending us home with the foundation of a good marinara, he was sending us home with a message; trafficking in weed should be like trafficking in toms.
According to Rosenthal, more tomatoes are grown in America by home gardeners than are produced commercially. Yet there’s a robust commercial market for tomatoes and tomato products of all types—canned, vine-ripened, organic, sauces, soups, ketchups, etc.
At the same time, small-scale specialty cultivators do well selling their produce at Farmers’ Markets, and home gardeners with extra tomatoes share the bounty with neighbors as gifts, in trade or through informal sales. Rosenthal thinks legal marijuana could be produced, bought and sold in the very same way. Commercial growers can thrive side-by-side with home and specialty cultivators. And we couldn’t agree more.
So as we’re leaving with our beautiful bounty of vine-ripened toms, we ask Rosenthal about his favorite way to enjoy them. He tells us, with salt. Sure, salt is good, but we all know tomatoes are best when ROASTED.
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