Yep, and don’t forget to mention that most of the weed available in Jerome, Clifton, and Globe was from Hispanic family members, Mexican relatives, and friends of friends and was surprisingly potent and not yet widespread in the rest of the USA. Read Jerry Kamstra’s book, Weed, for a detailed glimpse (with great photos) into this world.
I spent many a fine evening in Jerome from 1973 to 1979 smoking excellent herb from Oaxaca, Michoacan, Guerrero, and Culiacan in addition to the more exotic imports from Thailand and Colombia. I’ll delve into the importers’ scene later, however the Verde Valley homegrown arena centered upon the Spirit Room in Jerome. Unfortunately bragging and drunken expose engendered the massive busts of the 1970’s in Jerome, Centerville, and Sycamore Flats and brought continuous paranoia and scrutiny upon the Valley’s weed aficionados in the form of narc trainees as well as undercover snitches. The peaceful rule of hippies was threatened and advancing growers like ourselves had to be even more removed from the parties and social life that involved most of the alternate lifestyle folks. It got lonely, so we spent more time in the remote corners of the Mogollon Rim where we felt at peace. We were masters of our terrain and few, few ever ventured near.
It’s strange that so many large movers of herb, peyote, real mescaline, and even LSD had a common bond through myself and Gerardo, AKA, Colombo Johnnie. It was Kevin Baconism before the Six Degrees of Separation were yet imagined. The Verde Valley was Arizona’s equivalent of northern California’s “Emerald Triangle” at that time and even then, oddly enough, we had deep ties to northern California’s chemists, smugglers, and cultivators in Redway, Shelter Cove, and Briceland in addition to New York’s Colombian network.
The Rastas came in later.