Inspired by weed industry, Longmont novelist Marc Krulewitch’s ‘Boulder County’ dives into crime, love and cannabis

Conflict and cannabis merge in the latest release

Longmont-based writer Marc Krulewitch, author of ‘Boulder County: Crime, Love, and Cannabis, West of the 100th Meridian,” in Versailles, France. (Leslie Irvine/ Courtesy photo)
Longmont-based writer Marc Krulewitch, author of ‘Boulder County: Crime, Love, and Cannabis, West of the 100th Meridian,” in Versailles, France. (Leslie Irvine/ Courtesy photo)

From Showtime’s series “Weeds,” that centers around a widowed mom in her quest to keep a roof over her head by dealing ganja in the affluent California suburbs, to HBO’s more recent show “High Maintenance,” that follows a bike-riding pot salesman through New York City, stories that center on the production and sale of marijuana usually garner high ratings.

The cover of “Boulder County: Crime, Love, and Cannabis, West of the 100th Meridian” by Longmont-based author Marc Krulewitch. (Marc Krulewitch/ Courtesy photo)

Longmont-based author Marc Krulewitch’s latest release, “Boulder County: Crime, Love, and Cannabis, West of the 100th Meridian,” tells the tale of Buddy Fisher — an ex-felon cannabis grower, who can’t secure proper legal permits due to his prior arrests. On his family’s Front Range farm, he cultivates sought-after super potent hybrids. Maintaining a low profile becomes more difficult when his budding business catches the attention of an agribusiness giant who wants a piece of the plant.

We caught up with the novelist to find out about the inspiration behind his 2019 release and who he would want to play the book’s protagonist should a film adaptation arise.

Times-Call: Just from reading the synopsis, “Boulder County” sounds like quite an intriguing read. What inspired your latest novel and how many years in the making was the book?

Marc Krulewitch: My previous four books were set in Chicago and fell under the crime/mystery genre. I decided I wanted to write the same kind of story using Boulder County as the setting. For inspiration, I began looking through my collection of Elmore Leonard novels and came across “The Moonshine War,” a Prohibition-era tale pitting government agents against distillers of bootleg whiskey. I thought, “Hmmm. What if I created a story about a legendary outlaw pot farmer whose life is turned upside down by the unexpected consequences of marijuana legalization?” From inception to final draft took about two years.

TC: What was your experience like when writing the character Buddy Fisher and capturing this region of Colorado compared to creating characters in an urban setting like Chicago?

MK: I’ve lived in Boulder County since 1992, which has allowed the social critic in me to watch Boulder County’s identity crisis unfold in real time as the county grappled with issues like crazy population growth, changing demographics and gentrification. I think the character of Buddy Fisher had been percolating inside of me for many years, just waiting for the right storyline to present itself. So, when I decided a bootleg weed farmer was going to be the hero of my story, Buddy was overjoyed to take the roll and wasted no time telling me who he was. Characters will do that. They tell the writer who they are, as long as the writer is willing to listen.

TC: I imagine this book will be an entertaining read for most anyone, but specifically folks who have lived in Boulder County. Will readers get an inside look at the landmarks synonymous with the Front Range?

MK: I do use some landmarks familiar to anyone who has lived in Boulder County, but I made a conscious effort not to overstate it. That is, I used a little bit of nostalgia and threw in some references related to CU that one might compare to “inside jokes,” while trying to avoid playing up the eye-rolling clichés long associated with the city of Boulder itself. The inevitability of “change” is an important motif in the story, certainly not unique to Boulder. The Boulder County of my book represents a microcosm of the change taking place throughout the country, particularly in the west.

TC: “Boulder County” seems to have great potential for a film adaptation. If your novel gets turned into a silver-screen feature, who would you want cast as felon farmer Buddy Fisher?

MK: I absolutely agree. “Boulder County” would make a great film. And Joaquin Phoenix would be perfect for the role of Buddy Fisher.

TC: Lastly, I have to ask. Did you partake in any cannabis while crafting this tale? For research purposes, surely.

MK: Any references to the effects of cannabis use are purely anecdotal, derived from vague memories of events that may or may not have taken place.