The breeder behind TGA Genetics and “The Weed Nerd” lost everything in the Sonoma fires — and now he’s trying to give everything back.
A week after California’s cannabis harvest ended in disaster for many, as fires swept through Sonoma and Mendocino counties, one of the first and most famous cultivators impacted by the fires is back on the wagon to help raise funds for his peers.
Last Monday, as word of 17 large fires roaring through the night reached the hazy morning sky, news surfaced on social media platforms that Subcool, a breeder with TGA Genetics, was one of the first confirmed to lose everything to the fast-moving flames.
We reached out to Subcool yesterday to get his take on relief efforts at ground zero in Sonoma County and the outpouring of support so far.
“We raised $15,000 on Friday and Saturday night,” he said. “What we’ve done is take a little bit of stuff from here and did an auction, then my show ‘The Weed Nerd’ has been raising money.”
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Subcool said that much of the charity he’s seen so far has come through his Weed Nerd social media channels. The funds will be given to Patrick King of The Soil King Garden Center in Cloverdale, just north of Santa Rosa. According to Subcool, the money is going through a direct action fund for those impacted, thereby avoiding the red tape of larger nonprofit efforts.
“What we do with the money is give it to Patrick, the Soil King, and he’s on the ground,” Subcool said. “What this allows us to do — instead of bothering with forms, the Red Cross and bureaucracy — is if you need a generator, you drive to the Soil King and say ‘Pat, I need a generator.’ Then you can go to Home Depot and you buy it.”
Subcool believes this approach makes it a grassroots effort, which he told Cannabis Now while he was driving to The Soil King to get a blood infusion for a medical condition. “So he’s providing me a bed and a place to get my medication because everything is burnt down, and then we’re going to continue on raising money for food, supplies and water to get to the growers,” he said.
Besides the direct action fund he’s set up, Subcool has also seen many people start GoFundMe campaigns on his behalf. “People are raising money for me all over the place,” said Subcool. “Any money given to me will be going to Pat, I won’t be taking any of the money. I’ll take a hat pin or a hoodie, things from the culture I can’t buy, but I will not take money when other people have such a need.”
Subcool also vented his frustrations with the way the cannabis community has been mistreated compared to other agricultural commodities in the wake of the flames, as he was not allowed to return to the property and see the damage first hand until today — while other farmers have already been able to access the area. “I’m going up tomorrow with my lawyer and a team of people,” said Subcool, while noting he was sick of authorities not even letting him look through the debris.
“Nobody really knows anything so we’re using the internet and Instagram as a platform,” said Subcool, while noting he’s been broadcasting live much of the time over the last week on his Instagram page @TheWeedNerd420.
So far, some of the GoFundMe pages supporting Subcool and others have remained unscathed but the same cannot be said for all crowdsourcing relief funds. On Monday evening, the California Growers Association announced the donations made to their wildfire relief fund had been reversed for being cannabis-related. They acted quickly overnight to set up a new fund here; we’ll have full coverage of the cannabis crowdsourcing takedown tomorrow.
TELL US, what will you do to benefit the people impacted by the NorCal fires?
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