Seattle Weekly gave me a call last month with a cover story, and it was so intriguing and different from what I am used to, I couldn’t pass it up. The subject is Steve Sarich, and it is going to be very difficult to give good description of him without going on for several pages. Fifty-nine years old, former Penthouse photographer, used to date Anna Nicole Smith, currently dating a 20 year old aspiring model, medical marijuana grower and seller, and he is surrounded by an entourage of young “volunteers” in their 20′s and 30′s, including a personal cook who is really good! I photographed Steve at his new home in the foothills about 40 minutes outside of Seattle. He moved there after a home invasion at his previous residence, where he was sprayed by a shotgun blast just before he shot one of the intruders.
When I arrived at his home, I was greeted by a large pit bull and I honestly thought it was over. I may have thrown my hands high in the air and yelled something. Not really sure what holding my hands above my head would have accomplished had I been attacked. Then, I was mistaken for a “patient” and presented with some options. After quickly explaining I was the photographer and not a patient, I was introduced to Steve and got a tour of the compound. I know there are some new laws and marijuana is legal with a prescription, but apparently it is legal to grow and sell it now, too. Growing up with the understanding that marijuana is an illegal drug is a hard concept for me to shake. All through the day I found myself wondering, “Could I get arrested if this place gets raided right now?” Not to mention, guns make me a little uncomfortable.
“Marijuana’s never been on a path to greater acceptance than it is now. But to Steve Sarich, the change just isn’t coming fast enough. With his guns, brash manner, and retinue of followers who look too young and healthy to be in need of weed, Sarich is the enfant terrible of Washington’s medical marijuana movement.
Sarich doesn’t exactly shy away from confrontation. Where many activists believe that a quiet, non-profit model of providing pot to patients will keep them in the good graces of legislators and law enforcement, Sarich’s vertically-integrated enterprise has unabashedly mixed medical clinics with pot brownie sales, and scoffed at the legal limit on plants. And sent taunting emails to cops while he does it.” – Nina Shapiro, Seattle Weekly
The cover shot is a perfect example of his brash attitude and confidence. I asked him if he had a particular strain he wanted to hold and his eyes lit up. He had just created a new strain of pot and named it “Alloway 420″. Roy Alloway was a Bremerton drug cop who is notorious for his aggressive tactics. He retired shortly after this issue came out, but I’m sure his retirement had nothing to do with this story.
Pretty crazy stuff. If you want to read more, it’s long, but it is an interesting article about Steve and medical marijuana.