Jetty’s outlaw stories from the days of cannabis prohibition.
There are many stories in our burgeoning industry. Close calls. Incarceration averted. Sleepless nights. That we made it to the other side. Paying taxes. Making payroll. We can appreciate our position now. It’s been a bizarre ride to be sure. Companies new to cannabis, flush with investor money can buy-in immediately and cut to the front of the line. We took the risks. Innovated when the danger was real. As a result, we’ve pioneered better processes for making products we’re proud of.
Tell someone they can’t have something and they’ll figure out a way to get it. The racist foundation of marijuana prohibition and real world consequences of trafficking are an ever-present reminder of how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go. The anti-cannabis film Reefer Madness of the 1930’s provides ample evidence. Outdated. Prejudiced. Ridiculous and sobering through the filter of history.
Below we explore one of the (many) close calls in a candid chat with Jetty co-founder, Nate Ferguson.
Tell us about your first raid?
It was a weird scenario. The [redacted] raid. The police cut our lines to our AC unit and we lost power. [That] made the heat rise, drying out all the plants. So we had to chop everything down. When we had our AC guy check things out, he was up on the roof and said someone had cut all the wires. Turned out it was the police trying to figure out if we were moving plants in and out of the facility. Not long after, they raided the place.
After the raid, like months and months later we were able to go collect our property. We kept the evidence bags as souvenirs. Another weird thing about that [redacted] raid was my roommate had $10,000 cash confiscated. Because, obviously we couldn’t bank our money, so they took the money but they wrote down on the receipt that they only took $5,000. So, they tried to steal it but the [redacted] was ransacked. Flipped upside down.
They took all our iPads and phones. Old-school Jetty Packaging. An iPad they tried to open locked it out because they couldn’t figure out the password. The code was 4200. These guys were a handful.
As we’re putting everything back together, we found $5,000 tucked away. The guy who stole it left the money at the house because, I don’t know, maybe the sergeant was watching him. After everything was said and done and they could give us our money back they said on the sheet that they took $10,000. But we had the $5,000 we found tucked away after the [redacted] raid. The evidence guys were like, “we can’t find $5,000 of the $10,000.” They ended up sending my roommate $10,000 right into his bank account.
They essentially laundered our money for us through a wire transfer.
You take a lot of raids and its hella scary at the time but we’re good to go now.
Were you ever afraid you were going to get arrested?
After the [redacted] raid–knock on wood–I got pretty lucky. There were a few times where I was never formally charged with anything but I knew that they were investigating me. Just waiting for them to kick down my door.
One time at my house in San Diego. My buddy called me and told me there’s a white van that’s been parked out in front of your house for the past 8 hours and there was a bunch of guys dressed as utility workers. They were going around the house looking in the garbage. Looking in the back of the house. They’re probably going to get a warrant. But I wanted to get everything out of the house. I panicked and in one of my many emergency move-outs I got everything that had to do with cannabis out of there. That’s what prompted us to move Jetty to NorCal where cities like Oakland are much cooler with extraction. I couldn’t get in and out of my house without looking up and down my street for a Crown Victoria. I had burner phones. Changed my number every week. I was scared and paranoid for a really long time.
Now. Shit, I’m worried about taxes. Worried about the man coming down and over-regulating us. Had a giant excise tax due yesterday and we were scrambling to get the funds together. Different stresses these days for sure.