Editor’s Note: Welcome to one of our newest bi-weekly columns, High Folks: the cannabis-infused version of Humans of New York, in which we take an intimate look at people’s relationships with our most beloved plant. The connection between humans and cannabis is primal, dynamic, and profound. But it’s something that’s increasingly overlooked in the new age of weed. So in an effort to combat the superficiality of cannabis in the social media-age, High Times is proud to present to you a collection of work that highlights one of life’s most beautiful gifts: connection.
We’re always saying little prayers to ourselves, whispering to our shadows, and asking them to show us our truth. In 2015 while searching for identity and acceptance, Lindsey Renner, who’s the owner of Native Humboldt Farms, discovered that she was cultivating cannabis on the land that her Wailaki Tribe ancestors once inhabited.
“I didn’t know I was Native American until I was about 12. Before then, I honestly didn’t even see the color of my skin,” Renner told High Times. “All of a sudden, I was able to consciously zoom out. And when I did, I realized I was different! I was about five shades darker than the rest of my family.”
Adopted in 1982 by her mother’s new husband, Renner’s birth certificate with her biological father’s name on it was sealed. When her curiosity began to peak at age 12, she asked her mother about her biological father and his family, but her questions remained unanswered.
“It was clear she wasn’t supportive of me asking. She told me they were bad people because they ‘grew cannabis’, they didn’t want me, and I would be disappointed if I looked for them,” said Renner.
Renner became intrigued with cannabis after her mother negatively associated it with the part of herself she was longing to know. As a way to make money and buy marijuana, Renner began working at Sequoia Gas, a company owned by her maternal grandmother.
“I would literally spend my whole paycheck on cannabis. I remember the first quarter pound that I bought: Skunk 1,” said Renner. “It was insane. It was so incredibly potent and beautiful. I actually started selling it, and I would use the profits from selling it to buy cannabis to smoke. I worked this job to buy cannabis, so I could sell cannabis to buy more cannabis. I definitely loved it, and it was a huge part of my life for a few years.”
When she was 21, Renner finally decided to reach out to her paternal grandparents after getting over her fear of rejection. “I remember walking into my grandparent’s house for the first time. I had never seen even one picture of my dad. I walked into their hallway and stood in front of a large portrait of my father. It was like staring myself in the eyes. For the first time, I felt like I knew who I was. His skin was just like mine, and he was so beautiful,” Renner reflected.
After meeting her grandparents, Renner spent her early 20’s learning more about herself, which eventually prompted her to leave Humboldt County. But in 2008 at the age of 26, Renner moved back to Humboldt, met her husband and settled down in a very remote part of the county to live the outlaw lifestyle. During this time she started experimenting with micro-dosing and helping her husband grow weed.
After living in Blocksburg for about 3 years, she reached out to her biological father. While on the phone with him, he directed her to walk down behind her property and up a hill. She ended up coming upon a white picket fence surrounding a headstone. It was the gravesite of Ellen Hoaglen, her great-great-great grandmother’s daughter, who was the first person buried in Blocksburg after white incursion.
“At this point, I realized that the land we had cultivated on belonged to my Native American ancestors. Somehow my journey with cannabis had led me back to a place that was literally my family’s and really helped connect me to my Native American side,” said Renner.
That same year her families house in Blocksburg burned down in a total loss fire, yet they were able to save 2,500 of the clones they had grown. After moving to another part of Humboldt County, Renner went back to Blocksburg to begin cultivating on her family’s land with the saved clones.
“It was my first year kind of cultivating on my own, and it was definitely the year when my real connection with cannabis came,” Renner told High Times. “I had smoked [marijuana] and had all these interactions with it over the years, but it wasn’t until I was facilitating the growth that I really started to connect with it.”
“Every year that I cultivate, I end up teaching someone who’s had some sort of trauma in life, as a child or an adult,” Renner said. In 2015, she began working with a family friend, James Haddad. Before cultivating with “Linz”, as he calls her, his connection with cannabis was minimal and he was having a hard time understanding his own growth.
“Growing with [Renner] changed my whole demeanor because it mainly showed me how to grow as a person,” said Haddad. “When I grew [cannabis], it grew with me.”
Haddad holds the same ideology that Renner holds: cannabis reciprocates energy. Renner knows that Mother Ganja will always answer our prayers because cannabis bought her to her ancestors land and helped her connect with her lost heritage.
“Every bit of energy and love I put into [my plants], they give it right back to me. There were times in my life that I felt that I didn’t belong and I didn’t know who I was,” Renner shared. “I am Native American; I feel it in every ounce of my being and it means the world to me to be able to say I finally know who I am and where I belong.”