The court finds you guilty of herbicide
for the slaughter of a Cannabis indica plant
that was growing in your neighbor’s backyard
I hereby sentence you
to three months in the Greenhouse

 As the verdict was read,
the district attorney smiled
and then nodded to the deceased’s friends and relatives
as they sat quietly in their pots
in the front row of the gallery

 The defendant was then escorted out of the room
and taken to the Greenhouse,
also know as Oregon State Penitentiary 420

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Welcome to the Greenhouse,
said a guard
Hopefully during your stay here
you’ll learn to appreciate other forms of life
and to respect their right to live

 The prisoner was given a uniform made of hemp
and then shown to his cell

 His cellmate was smoking a joint when he moved in,
and he declined the offer
to smoke with him

 It’s good stuff, man,
Mendocino’s finest

 I don’t smoke

 They give us space cakes for dessert
after the afternoon meal
No need to smoke

 I don’t take drugs

 It’s not a drug, man,
it’s a plant,
and nature provides it for a reason,
like mushrooms

 I prefer alcohol

alcohol numbs your senses
and too much of it encourages you to act like an idiot
or become aggressive
Thousands of people die every year because of alcohol,
but almost no one has killed anyone
or died
as a result of smoking pot

 I just have a little wine with dinner

 I enjoy wine too
now and then
I have nothing against alcohol;
it has to right to be
My father makes a pretty good apricot liquor

 My uncle makes a nice Cabernet Sauvignon

 Homemade is hard to beat
What I object to is the government supporting something
that in general does more harm than good
and prohibiting something
that does more good than harm
I think the alcohol companies must have bribed the government
to get them to ban weed
so that they could sell more alcohol
I can’t think of any other reason
why they would act so stupidly,
in contradiction
of common sense

could be
The car companies bribed the government officials in LA
and asked them to dismantle the streetcar network
so that they could sell more cars

what a mistake that was
It’s ridiculous that one needs a car
to get around in that town

 What are the benefits of smoking weed?

 It mellows people out,
softens the edge that they project
and inspires creativity
And people who smoke weed
tend to flow better than those who don’t

 Some people flow pretty well
without taking anything

but why deny others
the chance to do something beneficial
that doesn’t harm anyone?
Have you ever tried it?

I’ve heard that it leads to heroin addiction

 Do you believe everything you hear?


 Don’t believe the propaganda
I don’t use heroin,
and I’ve been smoking grass for years
And if you use a vaporizer,
it won’t damage your lungs at all

 What are you in here for?

 For cutting down a large portion of the primeval forest
I was clear-cutting a redwood grove
when the green squad captured me
What about you?

 I killed my neighbor’s marijuana plant

 Dude, that’s not cool

 Neither is clear-cutting the primeval forest —
or any forest

 Right you are
Since I’ve been in the Greenhouse,
I’ve planted thirteen thousand trees —
more or less

 That’s a lot
Where have you planted them?

 They let me out on the weekends
I take saplings from the prison nursery
and plant them in the areas that I deforested

How long have you been here?

 Two years and thirty-seven days
Only three hundred and twenty-eight days to go
How long did they give you?

 Three months

 Three months will pass quickly
You can help out in the nursery if you like
It’s a lot better than sitting in here all day
Since you killed a marijuana plant,
they’ll probably ask you to take care of them

 You grow ganja here in the prison?

It’s legal now
We grow very nice weed,
and we sell it in the prison gift shop
and to the local hospice centers

 Hospice centers are cool

I’d much rather die in a hospice center
or at home
than in a hospital

 I think I’d like to die at home,
surrounded by a few friends playing gentle music
and then be buried in a field
and have a tree planted on top of me
No need for a coffin

 Good idea
Cemeteries take up a lot of space,
and we could use more trees

we could use a lot more trees
Sometimes I have the feeling
that there are more people than trees

 Me too
There are definitely way too many people on this planet
In 1900 there were only around a billion
and now there are more than seven billion

 It can’t continue like this;
it’s not sustainable
If people don’t stop having so many children,
the planet will create a disease
that will kill off most of us —
some kind of plague like they used to have in Europe

I suppose the planet knows how to take care of itself
It’s been very patient with us,
but we’ve really been pushing the limits of tolerance lately

 I recently read that the Japanese government is worried
about the decline in population in Japan
What idiots!
They should be happy
In countries where there are not many people,
the standard of living is much higher
Finland has a lot more trees than people,
and the Finns are doing pretty well
There’s plenty of space for everyone

If every country had a small population,
everyone could live pretty much wherever they wanted
without having to pay rent
or buy groceries
They could just eat whatever they found growing naturally
and plant a garden or a food forest if they felt like it

 The Japanese government
also wants to start using nuclear power again
Anyone who didn’t learn from Fukushima
must be super retarded

Unfortunately we’re still using nuclear power here
I guess our politicians aren’t any smarter
than the ones in Japan

 I’m not sure that any of them are very intelligent —
except for the president of Uruguay

Mujica is okay
He’s clearly serving the interests of the people,
not some big companies —
and he gives away ninety percent of his salary

he’s super cool

 Václav Havel was alright too

and they both served time in prison

 Maybe it’s necessary to do time
in order to be a good president


 Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso was pretty cool too

 Did he serve time?

 I don’t think so,
but he played the guitar pretty well


 And he kicked out the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund

 Good riddance
Those guys go around devastating third world countries

 Yeah, I remember when they destroyed Jamaica’s dairy industry
After the government agreed to accept funds from the IMF,
they were required to allow the import of powdered milk from the States,
and because it was cheaper than fresh milk,
everyone bought it
The dairy farmers could not compete and slaughtered their cows,
and then there was no fresh milk in Jamaica
The IMF and the World Bank operate under the pretense
that they are helping poor countries,
but in reality they are merely serving the interests
of businessmen from wealthy countries

 Which company is it
that keeps trying to convince mothers in Africa and Viet Nam
that infant formula is better for their children than breast milk?

And that’s why I don’t buy their products anymore
I don’t want to support a company
that does things like that

 Neither do I
I’ll stop buying their candy bars

 The problem is that most of the big companies
do really horrible things
It’s pretty hard to find a good one,
so I’ve begun to make my own junk food,
a healthier version

 What do you make?

 I really like Cheez-its,
especially the white cheddar ones

 Me too
They’re the best

 The original flavor is pretty good too

but white cheddar is divine

 I looked up how to make Cheez-its online
and I found a video
It’s super easy:
You just fry some cheese in a pan for a few minutes,
flip it over and fry it some more
Then you cut it into squares
Parmesan cheese works really well


 There’s the lunch bell
I’ll show you the way

 The two prisoners then made their way
to the dinning hall

 ♫ ♫ ♫

this soup is really good

tomato weed is my favorite here

 Tomato is a weed?

 No, man,
they put weed in the soup,
like the people in Lao,
to mellow us out

It’s pretty good
Now I understand why the Lao
are so gentle, calm and peaceful
Are we allowed to have another bowl?

We can have as much soup as we like

Maybe I’ll try one of those brownies too

 And so the two cellmates enjoyed their meal
and then returned to their cell

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 It’s two o’clock
Time for a walk
Want to come?


 And so the prisoners went out into the yard
and began to mingle with the others

 Some of the guys have a big P on the back of their shirts

 They’re from P Block
The P stands for pollution
Those guys polluted our air and water
with chemicals and fumes from their factories
When they arrive here, they have to drink and shower
with water from polluted rivers for a month,
so that they get an idea of the suffering they have caused other beings,
and if that doesn’t kill them,
they are given clean water,
and they have to stay here for a minimum of ten years
without the possibility of parole

 I’m glad they’re in here with us
I’d love for our rivers and air to be clean again
What about the ones with an A on their shirt?

 They’re architects who designed buildings that are so ugly
that people feel pain in their eyes
or go blind
when they look at them

 A Block must be pretty big

 It’s one of the biggest

 So it’s not just green-collar criminals that get sent here


 I’ve heard of people dying from depression
because they lived in an area full of ugly buildings

 Some have heart attacks
when they are confronted with exceptionally bad architecture

 How long are they in here for?

 One year for each ugly building they made,
and while they’re here
they learn how to make environmentally-friendly buildings,
how to make adobe bricks and thatched roofs,
how to collect and save rainwater,
how to draw a curved line

 Nice thick adobe walls are best
They keep a room cool in the summer
and warm in the winter
How about the guys with an F?

 Those are farmers who used chemicals
They have herbicides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers put in their food
the first month they are here,
and if they survive,
they are given organic food like the rest of us
It sounds cruel,
but many of them only put chemicals on the food they sold,
not on what they grew for themselves
They need to feel the effects of those chemicals
in order to generate compassion among them
for the people they feed
Then they are taught how to farm the traditional way,
without chemicals,
and they learn about companion planting,
using ducks to control pests
and things like that

It’s about time farmers stopped poisoning us
and the bees that pollinate their crops

the bees have really suffered
The chemical farmers have been ruthless

 Who are the guys with Vs,
and why are some of them wearing a ball and chain?

 They’re the violent ones
The ones with a ball and chain have refused to attend
the courses that were designed to turn them into peaceful people
The ball and chain makes it really difficult for them
to go around attacking other prisoners
We can easily avoid them

 What kind of courses do the ones without the ball and chain attend?

 They start with a ten-day Goenka vipassana meditation course,
and then they learn how to grow flowers
They prepare the beds,
plant the seeds,
water and weed,
trim the wilted blossoms
and make nice flower arrangements for the dinning hall
After that they learn how to conduct a Japanese tea ceremony
and finally they are given a pet to take care of

 Sounds like a good way to foster change
and not simply punish

Here at the Greenhouse
the inmates learn other ways of being

 I don’t see anyone with a D on his shirt

 All the people who were in here for non-violent drug offenses
were set free a few months ago
to make space for all of the green-collar criminals
who have recently been prosecuted

 Just then a call to drum could be heard
from somewhere not too far away,
followed by the prison’s drum ensemble
playing Balakuland

 It must be four twenty,
time to smoke a joint and make music
Almost everyone here
has learned how to play an instrument
Lessons are given in the morning,
small groups of musicians meet after lunch or after dinner
to play together,
and at four twenty the drummers let us know
that it’s time for the open jam

Those guys are pretty good

Sometimes they’re let out
so that they can play at parties and festivals
Do you play an instrument?


 Not yet
I’ll take you to the music room
You can choose whatever instrument you like


 And so the two friends made their way through the prison
as the other inmates
continued to play

 ♫ ♫ ♫