The Stakes are High

September 12, 2018 / General
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The Stakes are High

Nobody wants to walk into the woods and find themselves on the nasty end of an assault rifle. It happens more often than you might think.

I follow stories around for a living. I can't help it. Once I see one, it's hard to rest until I get to the other end of it.

If you know anyone in the law enforcement community, you've experienced the casual way their stories drift around a conversation, like smoke from a campfire - even though your eyes sting, you don't want to walk away. In fact there's a strange comfort to hear them describe each situation as though it was last night's trip to the grocery store. I'm grateful there's someone out there that doesn't get freaked out by dangerous criminals and blatant disregard for what the rest of us value.

I think that's the point, after all. Altered State is, in part, focused on the horrible things that are being done to our public lands at the hands of environmental criminals. Sometimes that's a "DTO", (a drug trafficking organization). Only when a special agent says it, he may as well be saying "PTA".

"The DTO's," they might say, "will divert a salmon run into a pool and fill it with toxic rodenticides to flood irrigate the marijuana plants..." If you blur your hearing, they could be saying, "The PTA wants to buy new pencils for the second graders..." Same tone of voice.

"They'll protect their grows to the death, if necessary," one officer told me. That's what's at stake. All over California, our public lands (and a growing amount of private property) are being laid waste by pesticides and rodenticides. Whole streams turn anaerobic by fertilizer-induced algae blooms and where fish suffocate because of nitrates from laundry detergent, (they may be cartel, but there's nothing like a clean t-shirt on a campout). Dead zones or dirty undies; what's the tradeoff?

That's a little bit about why I'm chasing the environment/marijuana intersection. And you ain't heard nothin' yet. Getting to "the other end" of this particular story will take commitment, not just by me, but by anyone that wants this film to get made. I may be lensing the visuals, or begging to board a helicopter, but without the proper funding, social media likes, shares, and other support, this one will stay forever hidden. Start by visiting and signing up for updates.

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We hope to announce our Kickstarter campaign in coming weeks.