Hawaii Pot Growers Refuse To Let Go Of Dreams As Lava Approaches

In Halekamahina Hill, two Hawaiian cannabis farmers are the last people remaining in town after the volcanic eruption of Kilauea. While everyone else evacuated as fissures scarred the earth as molten lava swallowed it, a grandfather and grandson refuse to leave their weed plants behind.

A grandfather and grandson duo of Hawaiian cannabis farmers are refusing to leave their cannabis harvest, despite a six-week battle with an unrelenting volcanic eruption according to a report by Reuters.

In less than two months, the volcanic eruption of Kilauea is responsible for destroying 600 homes and spreading across 5900 acres of land. Kilauea is among the oldest recognized volcanoes in history, with a notable reputation for erupting frequently.

Altman, a 66-year-old Hawaiian farmer, grows “Pakalōlō” (the Hawaiian word for cannabis) with the help of his grandson, Josh Doran. Altman is a licensed medicinal cannabis grower. Only medicinal cannabis is legal in the state of Hawaii.

Because of the area’s climate, Hawaiian cannabis is often renowned for its quality and potency. Hawaii is deemed by many to be amongst the best places to grow cannabis in the world, producing characteristically sweet strains like Maui Wowie and Kona Gold.

According to Reuters, Dale Altman and his grandson Josh Doran live on a 5-acre (2-hectare) plot atop a hill on Hawaii’s Big Island by the erupting Kilauea volcano, where they grow medical marijuana.

They are the last remaining residents on Halekamahina Hill, after two roiling streams of lava spouting from ground fissures and flowing into the sea, completely cut off the community.

Altman, 66, estimates they have $100,000 worth of marijuana in the field that they are harvesting.

“That’s why we didn’t leave. It’s taken a lot of work.”

Altman says he doesn’t want to evacuate, leaving behind his home and marijuana crop with no income and nowhere to live. And atop the hill, the house is safe from the lava flows and its attendant fires.

“We’re not stupid. We thought this out,” Altman says.

I came by boat to this now desolated piece of paradise that drew retirees like Altman and adventurers like his grandson to come live under the shadow of one of the world’s most active volcanoes.

Since the beginning of the eruption, 22 fissures that have opened up, one of which has led them to be sectioned off from their community according to Reuters. In Halekamahina Hill, the population has dropped down to a single digit number. Altman and Doran are the last two people remaining.