My tobacco plants remain small, but I’ve got plenty of them. Far too many for my own use. But I may have found new homes for the excess population. I got talking to a few smokers outside a pub, and they expressed considerable interest in growing their own. So I’m going to pot some up for them. All totally free of charge. I hate to see things go to waste.

As I put it to them, my plan is to add my own tobacco to stuff I buy, so I’ll be smoking a mixture of my own tobacco and Golden Virginia or Cutters Choice or Old Holborn. Then the bastards can put up the tax as much as they like, because I’ll be buying a lot less. And with luck there’ll be smuggled tobacco and foreign-bought tobacco as well.

Growing your own is really much like learning to cook instead of buying food in a restaurant or takeaway. You probably make a bit of a mess of it the first time, but after a while the pizzas and the bread and the cakes start coming out almost as good as the ones in the shops. Same with tobacco. After a while you’ll figure out how to cure it and flavour it. And with lots of people all learning at the same time, there should be plenty of advice to be found.

And then people will come round with gifts of homegrown tobacco. And the gifts will be answered with gifts in return. And with that little trading systems will come into existence, and people with large gardens will set aside an area for tobacco cultivation. Who’s to stop it? It could become a thriving cottage industry. And, unlike cannabis, the plants aren’t illegal. And even if they were to become illegal, well, that hasn’t stopped cannabis being grown in all sorts of places. Drug dealers will start probably start to include homegrown tobacco in their product range. You’ll be able to buy in blended with opium or cannabis. That should be fun.

If homegrown tobacco becomes a large scale cottage industry, then the government will be the main loser, as sales of industrially manufactured tobacco fall, and with them government tax revenues. And the hospitality industries will continue to suffer as people stay home to drink their ( possibly home-brewed) beer and smoke homegrown tobacco and speak home truth to one another. And rather than smoking prevalence falling, it’ll stay the same as it was, or rise. Because, in the absence of penal taxes, it will be a lot cheaper. And furthermore, all sorts of different things will start being smoked. I think it was Rose who mentioned smoking corn silk. There are quite a few herbs that can be smoked as well. Lauren Colby mentioned that he’d once smoked “cigars” that were more or less all paper, and they were a perfectly satisfying smoke. He reckoned that it wasn’t nicotine that people were after: it was smoke. And I think he was right.

So there’ll be people landing up in hospital after smoking oily rags, or shredded cellophane, or whatever.

So the net effect of the War on Tobacco will be a thriving black market, and a thriving homegrown tobacco industry, and a tobacco ‘counterculture’ just like the 60s counterculture, and a collapse in government tax revenues, and a continuing collapse of the hospitality industry (particularly if alcohol and food are subjected to a similar regime), and just as many people smoking as before, and large numbers of admissions to hospitals.

Everyone will just stay home. Quite a lot of us do already.

The government can only really tax and regulate legitimate businesses. Once things move to the black market, they can neither tax them nor regulate them. So the real effect of interfering governments will be to drive legitimate businesses out of the market, leaving just the black market. The attempt to regulate results in deregulation. And the attempt to reduce the prevalence of smoking will result in an increase in its prevalence. And the attempt to ‘de-normalise’ it will re-normalise it.

There’ll be additional costs as well. For a start, I’m never going to vote for any of these bastards again. And I suspect that plenty of other people won’t either.

About Frank Davis

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9 Responses to Homegrown

  1. waltc says:

    Makes me think of what a great job they did of denormalizing marijuana, turning it into the aspirational Cool from the 60s on.

    And meanwhile New York is afraid that Madonna is doing the same for tobacco:


  2. waltc says:

    Sorry for the double post but I just found this dystopian fantasy and felt the urge to “share.”


    (I am going to have bad dreams about those teeth, too.)

    • Frank Davis says:

      kari norgaard

      She looks like she’s about 13, maybe 14.

      I much prefer Lana Del Rey. Or Madonna.

      What is it with these people?

      “Professor Norgaard considers that fuzzy-studies academics such as herself must stand shoulder to shoulder with the actual real climate scientists who know some maths in an effort to change society and individuals for their own good.”

      Why don’t they just go to hell?

  3. Rose says:

    I think it was Rose who mentioned smoking corn silk

    Sprouting in the propagator as we speak, Frank

    Sweetcorn ‘Northern Extra Sweet’ F1 Hybrid (Supersweet)

    “A reliable performer in British summers, Sweetcorn Northern Extra Sweet is especially suited to cooler northern districts.”

    But I think Harley is the man to get us better background information on the practice.

    Later in the month because this time I’m only interested in the flowers –

    Nicotiana sylvestris
    Tobacco Plant, Woodland Tobacco

    Hardy Annual
    “This imposing half hardy annual has stout spikes bearing a cascading head of fragrant 3½in long white blooms. It grows to a height of 90-120cm (36-48in) making it an excellent subject for the border. Occasionally a short lived perennial in a warm sheltered site.”

    “The National Garden Bureau has declared 2009 the year of Nicotiana. Nicotiana (ni-co-she-AA-nah) or flowering tobacco is a lovely heirloom flower gaining recognition among today’s gardeners. Their beauty is appealing and their fragrance is alluring.”

    “In Victorian times, Nicotiana sylvestris was planted along walkways and paths so that those strolling by could enjoy the sweet fragrance of the flowers.”

    Apart from enjoying the scent in my garden,I wondered if following the Hidatsa method, I could make scented cigarettes with the calyx.

    It’s particularly interesting because it’s already been banned by the over-zealous.

    “Yesterday the tax office spokeswoman confirmed the definition of banned tobacco had been expanded to include Nicotiana sylvestris, also known as night scented tobacco.”

  4. Jack Bash says:

    Grow on….you know it makes sense!

    We’ve been selling tobacco seeds on the Net for years and can confirm sales, since the budget, have shot up in the UK. Thanks for that George.

    We hate government tobacco so much that we’re giving away 1,000 free packets of Virginian Gold tobacco seeds, absolutely free of charge to the first 1,000 smokers who ask us. Details on our website (please ignore March deadline, as the offer is now on till we send out all 1,000).

    It’s time to put on the apron.

    The Tobacco Seed Company can be found at http://www.tobaccoseed.co.uk

  5. Rose says:

    How bizarre.

    The government is rolling out a new anti-smoking campaign, highlighting the “hidden dangers” of second-hand smoke to young children.

    Count Dracula Scene (BBC Mini-Series) (1977)

  6. Frank Davis says:

    A propos of nothing in particular, a little fragment from something about the author Roger Longrigg.

    To end on a sad note, worthy of Major Desmond Cook himself: his widow recalls that Longrigg used to smoke 60 Benson & Hedges a day. “Ciggies,” she says, “sharpened his brain. He stopped 15 years before he died and I’m afraid he never wrote a good book again.”

    A dreadful warning. Verbum sapienti.

  7. Pingback: Homegrown | Frank Davis – www.HomeGrownTobaccoTips.com

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