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Pot Growers Among Hawaiian Locals Who Refuse to Leave
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A pair of medical marijuana growers are among the few people refusing to evacuate Hawaii’s Big Island, where Mount Kilauea has been spewing lava since May 3, 2018. Lava has wreaked havoc across the island, turning sandy beaches into smoldering flows. Despite the destruction, there are holdouts – among them, a grandfather and grandson team of pot growers. Dale Altman and his grandson, Josh Doran, live on a 5-acre patch of land on a hilltop; it’s there that they farm crops of medical marijuana. The pair is the last of the area’s residents still there, and the only way out now is via helicopter. Their community, Halekamahina Hill, is completely cut off thanks to streams of lava that are pushing up from ground fissures and flowing into the Pacific. Altman estimates that he has about $100,000 worth of pot growing on the farm, which is why the grandfather-grandson team has so far refused to leave.
Although many others have left – including Mark Clawson, who built his house from the ground up, and Tom McCarroll, a retiree who set up shop in Hawaii with his also-retired wife – Altman and Doran aren’t going anywhere… at least for the time being. Altman says he and his grandson have enough food to last a while longer, but that if they run out, they’ll consider evacuating.
“If it gets down to rice for every meal, the days are going to get really long,” says Altman.
Clawson, who built his own home atop Halekamahina Hill, says that his house is fine but inaccessible thanks to the lava.
“It’s surreal. I guess I just have to convince myself that I will come back,” Clawson says. “Convince myself that [the home] is going to last.”
What Do You Think?
Would you stay put in the face of volcanic eruptions if you had $100,000 worth of pot growing atop a hill, or would you leave to stay safe? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please share them on my Facebook page or Twitter.