On Disorganized Crime: Smuggler’s Daughter, host Rainbow Valentine chronicles her parents’ stories working as big-time pot smugglers from the late 1960s into the 1980s. For over two decades they distributed weed from California to New York, up until the War on Drugs made the business much more dangerous. But even before that, everyone involved was very tight-lipped; you could still go to prison for incredibly long stretches for distribution, even in the halcyon hippie days. On this episode, Rainbow talks to two women, associates of her dad’s (though they didn’t know it until recently), about what it was like being a woman – and, more importantly, a woman with children – in the industry. What did it cost? And was it worth the risk?
Peach Blossom, one of the "Mary Jane mamas" Rainbow interviews, laughs gleefully as she tells a story of outwitting the cops: She had a “big bag of bustable weed” under her foot, but when the cops asked to see what she was hiding, she pulled out a bag of her friend’s hair and shoved it at them. They were “so grossed out,” she chortles, “that he was just like, ‘Go away, you're disgusting,’ and left me alone!” Peach was part of a Bohemian hippie crew that worked odd blue collar jobs, grew pot in their backyard, and baked; she says she would make pot brownies “that would basically cripple people for weeks.” She got involved in high stakes smuggling in New York, but her partner was busted for LSD in 1970, so she moved to Boston and had two kids with another guy who decided to get into smuggling. They moved to California where they had acres of weed growing, and Peach had to learn how to use a gun just in case. “It’s clear to me I can’t raise babies on a pot ranch,” she tells Rainbow. “This is really not working. I can’t even have a babysitter. I can’t even have a friend.”
Rainbow reflects that, though they have high-risk, high-reward jobs, “smugglers like Peach Blossom and my dad are people trying to make a living, pay the mortgage, and occasionally have a date night without the kids” just like anyone else. But the industry made it too dangerous for connections. And sometimes the connections you did have just kept you trapped in the game. Rainbow’s father and Peach Blossom, as well as Candy Can, the other woman Rainbow interviews, all tried numerous times to quit the business. In Candy Can’s case, it was a problem of money. For years she was a single mom, and she tried legit jobs, but it was much easier to make ends meet with the giant cash rewards of smuggling. But the consequences of her work were “much more harrowing than Peach Blossom’s or my dad’s,” Rainbow warns us. Not everyone had a bag of hair to hide behind.
Listen to this episode of Disorganized Crime: Smuggler’s Daughter for more about Peach’s cameo in Alice’s Restaurant, Candy’s huge Florida enterprise smuggling “black whack” from Columbia, and much more.
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