Category Archives: Humor

Did You Celebrate Earth Day?

Celebrate Earth-Day

Did you celebrate Earth Day last Friday? Me neither, and I don’t blame you a bit for letting it slip by. Earth Day has quickly become our most depressing holiday. A lot of people find Christmas depressing, especially if they spend it alone. Memorial Day is a real bummer, if you lost friends or loved ones in a war, but compared to Earth Day, these quaint celebrations seem naively joyous.

memorial day sad

Even if you think of Christmas as the mythical origin of the Christian tradition of clerical sex abuse, and Memorial Day as a glorification of technological warfare, which I do, the blackness of Earth Day overshadows them all. Earth Day is more like Good Friday, except that there’s no Easter to follow it up. For people who believe in science and technology, democracy and civilization, Earth Day is a day to observe the crucifixion of their savior, in real time. Nobody wants to see that.

Crucifixion-9841-2203

Earth Day didn’t start out as a depressing holiday. When we first established Earth Day, we thought that a day to celebrate the environment would help us re-prioritize our values and change our culture to meet the challenges of the looming crisis. Those were hope-filled times. We were all really high on LSD, and we thought we could do anything if we just celebrated it enough.

hippy on lsd woodstock

Forty years later, we can’t say “We didn’t know.” Today, the truth stares us in the face. We know we’re killing the planet. We know that we’re destabilizing the future, and we know that it’s killing us, but we don’t know how to stop. Forty years ago we had some ideas about how we could apply the brakes, and turn things around, perhaps even before it was too late. Today, we’re out of ideas. Nothing we’ve tried works. We’ve won a few battles, but we’re still losing the war, and losing it faster than ever. A recent survey estimates that we’ve lost half of the Earth’s biodiversity since the first Earth Day.

threats to biodiversity

 

Not only have we failed to stop the environmental destruction, we’ve failed to slow its acceleration. We have failed, as a culture, to meet our most pressing existential threat. Knowing is not enough. Understanding does not help, and the more we know, the more we realize that it’s worse that we feared, and harder to change than we ever imagined. Against the hard truth of the environmental crisis, the myths of our culture unravel like a cheap sweater.

sweater unravels stars

Today, we can look back on the whole history of civilization since the agricultural revolution, and project forward our global environmental impacts. From this perspective, we can see, pretty clearly, I’m afraid, that the costs of civilization far outweigh the benefits. What’s worse, the benefits of civilization lie mostly in the past, while the costs of civilization loom large over our future. After centuries of secular skeptical scientific inquiry and bold technological innovation, the only thing we know for sure is that everything we know about how to live on planet Earth is wrong.

everything you know is wrong

How do you turn that into a holiday? …that doesn’t make you want to kill yourself? Some people still do the Earth Day festivals, but, you know, any excuse for a party. So go ahead, enjoy the music,

earth-day-on-the-national-mall

eat the organic veggie hippie food,

watermellon

shop for fair-trade, creatively recycled handicrafts…

recycled handicraft

…and try not to think about it too much, because, believe me, you don’t want to know.

'Do not look within. Trust me, you don't want to know what's in there.'

We don’t need another depressing holiday to remind us of how we’ve failed as a culture. We need to pick a day to take back our lives from the economic machine that consumes us all, and the environment around us. We need a global Day Off, just to remember what life is all about, and if people like having a Day Off, just to enjoy life, maybe we can stretch it to a week.

take a week off tree


An Open Letter to Willie Nelson

Dear Willie,

willie nelson norml

I write to you today on behalf of marijuana smokers across the US, of which I am one, and on behalf of my community here in Humboldt County, California. I write to you because I read recently that you intend to market, or at least license your name to, a brand of cannabis products. I’m glad to hear it. I wish you enormous success on your new endeavor, and look forward to trying your weed.

WilliesReserve-

I know that you’ve been working for legalization since at least the Carter administration.

willie nelson jimmy carter

I’ve been working for it for a long time too.

me

Now that it looks like we have finally done it, here in California, the people who profited so much from marijuana prohibition, politicians and black market drug dealers, are working together to keep marijuana expensive through excessive regulation and taxation.

babylon bucks

This policy of high taxes and anti-competitive regulation insures that the black market for cannabis remains strong because cannabis in the legal market stills costs more than it does on the street. The black market for cannabis is destroying my community, not to mention some of the last great forests in the lower 48. We have grown pot for a long time here in Humboldt County. However, the recent dramatic expansion in cannabis cultivation here, has had serious impacts on spotted owl habitat, endangered Coho salmon and the Pacific fisher, not to mention the quality of life for the people who live here.

endangered in Humboldt County

The black market economy has had a corrosive effect on my community. The black market for marijuana has the effect of devaluing all other forms of work. Kids here expect to grow up to become drug dealers, like their parents, and they start young. This creates special challenges for our public school systems. Violent crimes, like home invasion robbery, murder, and violent assault have become commonplace in our small rural community, and we have some of the highest suicide and drug overdose rates in the state. Despite the supposed “economic benefit”of the black market marijuana industry, it produces a very deep kind of poverty in this community.

get the fuck out

Sure, there’s more money around town, thanks to the black market, but that money mostly goes into the pockets of the very worst people, and the promise of black market money brings more of these greedy bottom-feeders to Humboldt County every day, where they chop down trees, poison wildlife and convert local housing into grow operations in order to coldly exploit marijuana prohibition in the rest of the country. Believe me, the money that the War on Drugs has brought to Humboldt County has done more harm than good, and the harm the black market marijuana industry does to this community is expanding at an astronomical rate.

pot farms destroys forest

 

Humboldt County became a popular place to grow marijuana because of its remoteness, and because of the cover the forest provided. Today, drug dealers from all over the country come here to grow weed, but thanks to our work to legalize cannabis, they no longer need to hide under the forest canopy. They know that here, the county government loves their money, the Sheriff will ignore them, and that we have the infrastructure to supply them with all of the soil, fertilizer and grow supplies they need. However, the land here is steep, heavily forested and very poorly suited to agriculture. Marijuana farmers use incredibly wasteful production methods, and our remote location makes everything here more expensive. There’s no reason you couldn’t grow pot that was every bit as good as we grow here, for a hell of a lot less money, somewhere else.

cannabis-farm

That’s why I’m writing to you today, Willie. We have turned the tide in the War on Drugs, and we have forced the politicians to change the laws, but politicians and drug dealers remain as greedy as ever. We can’t let them continue to rip-off pot smokers. Pot smokers deserve deserve a break after all of these years, and it’s time for the legal business community to serve cannabis consumers with safe, reliable cannabis products at prices that put black market dealers out-of-business.

drug-prohibition

Pot is not difficult to grow. I’ll bet you could grow a hell of a lot of it in Texas, and I’ll bet you could grow it cheaper there, than we can here, even if you have to haul your water all the way from Louisiana. This nation needs weed, Willie, and Americans need reliable cannabis that they can afford. Thus far, the licensed legal growers in Washington, Colorado and Oregon have not begun to quench this nations’ thirst for cannabis. As cannabis becomes more reliable and accepted, the demand will likely rise as well. Also, as the price of cannabis falls, the demand will increase as people devise imaginative new ways to use cannabis. What that means, Mr. Nelson, is that this nation needs an enormous amount of weed, and we are counting on you and your company to produce it for us.

willie_nelson_better america

I know that you might feel tempted to smoke another joint and think about this for a while, but my community needs relief today. We need to stop this disease now, before it wipes out the last wild salmon, before it drives the spotted owl to extinction and before the last Pacific fisher dies of rodenticide poison. What’s more, we need to drive this insatiable greed out of our midst before we lose any more of our community to the War on Drugs.

no drug causes the fundamental ills of society

You have the opportunity to make a LOT of money for you and your investors, create jobs for American workers, and make marijuana affordable for the people who need it most. At the same time, you would save our environment, my community, and put violent drug cartels and greedy criminal gangs out of business. We should have done this back when Carter was president, but we absolutely need this ASAP, PDQ and NOW!

asap pdq now

It shouldn’t cost as much to sit on the front porch and smoke a doobie while you strum your old guitar, as it does to go out to a bar and have a couple of beers. American workers should not have to work an extra day each week, just to pay for the pot it takes for them to enjoy a joint at the end of a long day at work. Americans need the stress relief that cannabis provides, and they don’t need the extra stress of ridiculously high, prohibition-era prices, when they can barely keep a roof over their head and food on their plate as it is.

american workers struggle

When we started fighting for the legalization of marijuana, it wasn’t because we wanted drug dealers to be able to legitimize their illegal profits. We worked to legalize marijuana because we love marijuana and we don’t think that anyone should go to jail for it. The American people deserve marijuana, and after all that marijuana smokers have been through because of prohibition, we deserve safe, reliable, high-quality marijuana at a price we can afford. I hope you can make that happen, Willie, before it’s too late for my community.

Make-it-happen-

Sincerely, John Hardin

jh at bfr crop

 


Balancing “The Economy” with “The Environment”

environment economy balance

Everyone seems to be looking for the right balance between “the Economy” and “the Environment,” as though they could find some sweet spot there. As if lawmakers could craft a policy that spurs economic growth, prevents habitat loss, and promotes biodiversity, all at the same time. Even our local environmental groups want to get in on this balancing act. They preface their appeals for tighter environmental regulation of the marijuana industry with the admission that they recognize the importance of the marijuana industry to our local economy, and ask for a “balanced approach.” In truth, they aren’t asking the Supes to balance the needs of “the environment” with the needs of “the economy.” Instead, they’re asking the Supes to balance the demands of growers, for less regulation, with the demands of the environmentalists who support their organization, for regulations to protect endangered species, preserve forest ecosystems and limit pollution and other impacts.

environmentalists

We should remember that when we talk about “the Economy” vs “The Environment,” we’re not talking about two parts of a whole. “The Economy” and “The Environment” are two opposing ways of seeing the world. Scientists, educated people, and people who watch The Discovery Channel recognize that the natural world functions as its own economy.

discovery channel

In nature, every creature takes what it needs of what it can find in the world around it, and in death, every creature returns those nutrients to the system that gave it life. That’s how the natural economy works, but that’s not what we mean by “economic activity.” The world’s natural economy has nothing to do with “the Economy” at all. All of that natural economy stuff happens in “the Environment.”

environment natural economy

For most humans “the Economy” is also an environment. When a businessman talks about “the business environment,” he’s not talking about the forest; he’s talking about “the Economy.” If you live in the city, very little of what you see, belongs to the natural world, and almost everything you see is for sale. Even in the suburbs, people largely inhabit “the Economy.” Most people have to spend money to visit “the Environment” in person, but most just look at it on TV, which they also pay for.

planet Earth

So, “the Environment” is really the ultimate economy, and “The Economy” is the environment most people live in. It’s very confusing. Even though we civilized people inhabit “the Economy,” more than “the Environment” we still, ultimately, rely on the natural economy, for our survival. That’s why people care so much about “the Environment” Get it?

we get it

We find this hard to understand because it’s still culturally alien to us. The idea that any part of the natural world should remain unbent by the hand of man, is a very new one, in our culture. Civilization was founded on the principle that the natural world belongs to us, as human beings, to use as we see fit. Religion tells us that God thinks we humans are special, and that he gave us dominion over his creation. Science tells us that we are much smarter than the rest of creation, and that we, and only we, have the capacity to understand how the universe works. Therefore, it makes sense that we would, with our new, secular, scientific, understanding of how the universe works, radically transform the surface of the Earth for our own purposes.

tar sands before after

Of course, the harmony, justice and equality we see in cities all over the world provides clear objective evidence of our superior wisdom, and using the very best science, we can demonstrate from our 10,000 year history, as masters of our own destiny, that we have crafted a culture suited for the ages, as sustainable, resilient and regenerative as nature herself, only better. If your sarcasm meter hasn’t gone off, it needs new batteries.

sarcasm meter

At least religion had the nerve warn us of the current apocalypse. Science remains in denial, choosing rather to search for the Higgs Boson, gravitational waves, or other such angels that dance on heads of pins, even as it reports that civilization has triggered a cataclysmic, era-ending global extinction event, and forecasts dire consequences from, human-caused, global warming.

global warming landscape

Whichever of our cultural myths you prefer, they all tell us that the Earth is putty in our hands, to be shaped as we see fit. Unfortunately, the truth of our time tells use that our culture was wrong. For ten-thousand years, our culture taught us to despise nature and to deny our natural instincts. In exchange, it promised us enlightenment, salvation, and wisdom. Today, we see what our culture has really delivered: extinction, pollution, endless technological warfare, poverty, crime, addiction, and global environmental devastation, just for starts. For hundreds of generations, we bet our lives on the myths of this culture. Just look around. Anyone with eyes can see that it’s time to cut our losses and face reality.

Cutting Your Losses with a Cleaver and Cutting Board.

 

We inherited a bankrupt culture. Our myths lie and our gods have forsaken us. Our culture, civilization, has been at war with nature for about 10,000 years. Now that we have defeated nature so completely, we realize that we have wrecked our lifeboat. We scramble for survival on an increasingly inhospitable planet, enslaved by the ultra-violent, all-consuming culture we inherited from our parents, and fuel with our lives. The truth stares us in the face, but we have no Plan B.

back to the drawing board

When we talk about “the Economy,” we’re talking about, our culture, civilization, that machine that turns our lives into toil, and the natural world into waste, based on those lies that promised us wisdom, salvation, enlightenment and leisure time, but delivered extinction, waste, poverty, and addiction. “The Economy” is itself, an addiction. We’ve become dependent on it, and we know it’s killing us, but we can scarcely imagine what our lives would be like without it. When we talk about balancing the “the Environment” and “the Economy,” it’s like balancing the needs of the man, to be cured of his alcoholism, with the needs of the alcohol, to be drunk by him.

drink takes you

It doesn’t make sense to talk about the “health” of “the Economy” because “the Economy” is a disease. The only question that remains is: Is this disease fatal to humanity, or can we defeat it, before it defeats us. “The Environment” is the only thing that can sustain us. We cannot afford to lose another inch of it. These are new ideas in this culture, but their truth becomes more apparent every day.

truth the new hate speech

That’s why we need environmental protection far more stringent than anything we’ve seen before, and that’s why we should not tolerate new development that encroaches on the Earth’s little remaining natural habitat or impacts delicate forest ecosystems. I’ve heard a lot of local dope yuppies say. “Hey, look at the damage the logging industry did. Look at how much water those vineyards use. What’s wrong with my little three-acre conversion? Why are we pot farmers being singled-out for all of this regulation?”

singled out

It’s not your industry being singled-out. It’s our whole generation being stuck with the mess left by five-hundred generations of people who chose arrogance over respect, and mistook ego for intelligence. It’s about facing facts, and coming to terms with the truth, or it’s about denial, and suicide, but it’s not about your industry being singled-out. That’s just you being paranoid and egocentric, and those are just bad habits of ours, culturally.

stop codling of bad cultural habits

 


Let’s Dump “Housing First” and Declare a Housing Crisis

housing is a human right

Everyone knows we have a housing crisis in Humboldt County. Landlords love it, and couldn’t care less. Now that the marijuana industry has taken over much of the residential housing in Humboldt County, landlords can, and do, charge a lot of money for anything with a roof. Most of the rental housing is already sub-standard, especially here in SoHum, because most landlords know that it is easier to find new tenants than fix problems that tenants complain about.

cartoon what do you mean you can't bear to call the landlord?

For tenants, it’s a nightmare. Many people pay half, or more, of their monthly income in rent, just to have a roof over their head. The high rent prices in Humboldt County eat working people alive. Business people complain about how hard it is to find good help around here, but it’s damn near impossible for working people to find a place to live, and greedy landlords use that shortage to drain the workforce. Local landlords wreck the workforce because, by the time you’ve been fucked over by a few Humboldt County slumlords, you’ve learned how to live in the woods without water, electricity, heat, a roof over your head, or money in your pocket, for extended periods of time. Once you’ve gotten used to that, why do you need a job, or a home?

save us from slumlord

The housing crisis is real, working people feel it a lot, and it hurts, to landlords, it just feels like a big sloppy, wet, BJ. Business people complain about not finding good help, but they complain even more about people who prefer not to work, or pay rent, hanging around in public shopping districts. We have a whole complex of social problems, which cause an enormous amount of suffering for the people of Humboldt County, all triggered by an acute shortage of affordable housing. That’s what we mean by the words “housing crisis,” and a “housing crisis” is what we have here in Humboldt County.

we want decent housing

For some reason, the Board of Supervisors seem reluctant to declare it. They know that we have all of these problems, and they know that the shortage of affordable housing causes all of these problems. They’ve talked about it a lot, but so far, all they’ve done is hire the consulting firm: Focus Strategies. Focus Strategies have been selling them on the “Housing First” concept. These consultants have advised the county against declaring a housing crisis, and against spending any money on solving the housing crisis, except through their “Housing First” program.

focus strategies

I know that “Housing First” sounds like a great idea, or slogan, or something. I can imagine it on a bumper-sticker, but what does it mean? “Housing First” got a lot of attention as the strategy that Utah used to find housing for all of their homeless people. Utah is a funny place, and most of what made “Housing First” successful in Utah, does not translate well to Humboldt County.

wont work here

In Utah, it’s hard to overestimate the influence of the Mormon Church. Mormons have a strong tradition of compassion, and for helping the poor. Very few places, other than Utah, have such well funded, and well intended churches, and few churches do as much to help people in need, directly, as the Church of Latter Day Saints. Mormons, however, do not tolerate drugs or alcohol. Because of this, unrepentant drug addicts consistently fell through the cracks in Utah, and ended up on the streets, while others got the help they needed from the church.

mormon-temple

This is the crux of the “Housing First” strategy. Under Utah’s “Housing First” plan, the government hired caseworkers to put homeless drug addicts into subsidized housing, so that at least, they would have a room to abuse drugs in, and other people wouldn’t have to see them abuse drugs in public. “Housing First” created a taxpayer subsidized program to put homeless drug addicts into apartments, that did not require people to quit drugs as a condition of receiving help. Once Utah did that, their homeless population disappeared, but only because everyone else got help from the church.

lds love everyone

I kid you not! That is the whole crux of the “Housing First” biscuit. “Housing First” means “Subsidized Housing for Drug Addicts.” It means that landlords will get reliable monthly checks from taxpayers, for letting drug addicts crash in a hovel on their property. “Housing First” gives landlords the option of taking a guaranteed monthly check from the government, rather than renting to working people who might have their hours cut, get laid-off, or have other financial difficulties before their lease expires.

people need homes

“Housing First” does not create any new housing. “Housing First” does nothing to relieve the housing crisis. In fact, “Housing First” will exacerbate the housing crisis by putting subsidized drug addicts, with caseworkers, in direct competition with working families for the, already scarce, available housing.

Low Income Renters Affordable Units

In Utah, thanks to the Church of Latter Day Saints, they have a compassionate community of organized people who want to help. The challenge, for them, was to get around the church’s objection to helping unrepentant alcoholics and drug addicts. That’s not our problem here. Here in Humboldt County, thanks to the black-market marijuana industry, we’re all unrepentant alcoholics and drug addicts, and we don’t give a fuck about each other. The challenge for us is greedy, well organized, land-owners, who control our local government and consistently use that power to suck ever more blood out of over-taxed and over-burdened, working people.

being-poor-3

In Utah, “Housing First” helped a compassionate community overcome its prejudice against drug addicts, which allowed their well-established, common sense approach to homelessness, to succeed more completely. Here in Humboldt County, “Housing First” helps greedy landlords exploit a drug addicted community more effectively, by smothering compassion and common sense beneath a big fluffy pillow labeled “Housing First,” and then creates an expensive bureaucracy that drains county coffers, drives rent prices through the roof, and makes life harder for poor and working families in Humboldt County.

doonesbury gentrification

Don’t ever forget that the people who control our Board of Supervisors, are the very same developers and land-owners who created this housing crisis to begin with. They make their living by screwing over poor and working people, and all they want is more for themselves. If the Board of Supervisors implements “Housing First” in Humboldt County as they plan, the only way you will ever find an affordable place to live is if you quit your job, stop bathing, and make a chronic nuisance of yourself in a public shopping district. “Housing First” is a cynical scam designed to put the taxpayer’s money in landlord’s pockets and sweep the chronically ugly off of the streets, while it drives rent prices up, makes it harder for working people to find a place to live, and insures that more of the people who live and work in Humboldt county, suffer hardship and poverty.

gentrification cat

It’s time to dump “Housing First” and declare a “Housing Crisis.” The Supes should stop wasting the taxpayer’s money on consultants from out of town, and instead, do everything they can to empower local organizations like AHHA, with compassionate, common sense solutions to Humboldt County’s housing crisis. We need housing solutions that work for our community, because, thankfully, Humboldt County is not dominated by do-gooder Mormon teetotalers , and the solution that worked in Utah will never work here.

mormon shot glass

We need a homegrown, grassroots solution to our housing crisis, not some fatally-flawed, cookie-cutter clone. We need more than just housing; we need to find a better way to live. We have a proud tradition of alternative, owner-built housing here in Humboldt County. We should continue, and expand on that tradition of innovation, by making space for people to build human-scale homes for themselves. Everyone needs a place to live, and everyone needs a place to live that they can afford. If developers won’t provide that for the people who live here, then let the people who live here, do it for themselves.

Everyone Needs a Home


A Sad Story of Cruelty and Abuse

sad story

Kevin Hoover, Editor of the Mad River Union, shared a sad story on KHSU this past Thursday. He told us about a homeless Arcatan, who’s name escapes me, who has had a series of dogs, all named “Mr. Nobody.” Horrified observers spotted this person leading a very unhappy Mr. Nobody around the Arcata Plaza. According to Mr. Hoovers account, Mr. Nobody had been outfitted with a large, heavy pack, and the rather small dog struggled visibly, and eventually collapsed under the weight of it.

over-burdened-donkey

Police arrested the man, who has a history of animal abuse in Humboldt County. Apparently none of his dogs have fared much better than his most recent Mr. Nobody. This time, many hope, the man will be forbidden from ever having a dog again. Sad story, right?

hands cuffed

Of course everyone sympathizes with the poor overburdened dog. “How could anyone abuse a poor defenseless animal like that?” you might ask. Some might even suggest that the man be subjected to the same kind of cruelty that he inflicted on the poor dog. They would publicly parade him around the plaza carrying an impossibly heavy load, until he collapses under the weight of it, all the while enduring the jeers of disgusted townspeople. Personally, I suspect the man has already been punished enough.

punished_him_enough

I certainly don’t condone the man’s behavior. No one should ever treat an animal like that, but I’ve seen how we treat homeless people here in Humboldt County, and it’s sickening. How many times has this guy been asked to “move along,” reminding him that he’s not welcome anywhere. How many times have people called him a “bum,” a “scumbag,” a “plazoid” or worse? How many times have the cops harassed him, woken him up, or forcibly evicted him from his camp? How many times has he been cuffed, booked, and locked in a jail cell? If it’s never happened to you, I can assure you that it is a thoroughly humiliating, degrading, and wrenching experience. How many times has he heard himself and his community talked about as objects, in the third person, to be removed, or disposed of, or as a blight to be excised and cauterized?

After yet another police shooting of an unarmed black man, this one in the Skid Row section of Los Angeles, the big issue remains unaddressed: excessive use of overwhelming force in order to subdue, or kill, suspects.

That’s just the abuse that we heap on all homeless people, institutionally, just for trying to survive. We know that all of those things have happened to him, but we can also assume that he learned abusive behavior early, at the hands of a parent, step-parent, older sibling, neighborhood bully or in an institution. Abuse is probably all he knows, and clearly, he knows it well. In one sense, I kind of admire the visual poetry of the image he created. As a work of art, it was brilliant.

brilliant work

I mean, how did he make that pack heavy enough that passersby couldn’t help but notice the dog’s distress, but not so heavy that the dog couldn’t make it to the Plaza without collapsing before being seen. And the dog’s name, Mr. Nobody, how perfect, civilized dehumanization, simple, direct, elegant, that doesn’t happen by accident.

Dehumanization

 

I can only imagine the scene. This guy, pulling on a leash, attached by the neck to the beleaguered, wobbly, overburdened Mr. Nobody. I see him coaxing the animal along, just to see how far he can go. Then, when the poor pooped pooch finally collapses from exhaustion on the sidewalk, he scolds it, calls it lazy, commands it to get up and move along, and physically drags it along the sidewalk by the neck. What a poignant metaphor for our whole economy.

metaphor conceptual

There’s a lot of Mr. and Ms. Nobody out there, aren’t there? How ironic that we condemn the perpetrator of the metaphor, while we struggle beneath the weight of our own workload, with dogged obedience, only to join in the scolding, berating, and persecution of our peers who have already buckled under the weight of their burden. It’s a terrible thing to witness, so terrible, in fact, that even staging a poetic metaphor of it will likely disgust passersby and get you arrested for animal cruelty. Yet we live with the reality of it day after day.

egg on your face

That’s why I love cats. A cat would never put up with that shit.

dog v cat


Call it Marijuana

call it marijuana

It seems our local dope yuppies have tired of the word “marijuana.” They would prefer us to call their product by the more civilized, Latin name, cannabis. They tell us that marijuana is a derogatory term with racist overtones. They want us to think of them as respectable business-people offering a respectable, up-scale luxury product. More importantly, they want us to forget that the only reason anyone would ever think of cannabis as an upscale luxury, is because the US Government spent billions of the taxpayer’s dollars to arrest and incarcerate millions of American citizens in the War on Drugs, to make this common weed, astronomically expensive.

priceofweed.1

When Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom came to SoHum last Spring, to launch his plan to keep marijuana expensive, by employing the maximum number of law enforcement officers imaginable to regulate it, many growers complained about his use of the term “marijuana.” Newsom pointed out that all of the laws against it, call it “marijuana,” so it made sense to use the term “marijuana” in legislation designed to replace those laws. I thought it a ridiculous complaint, but grower after grower took issue with him about it.

complaint dept

What a laugh! The people who now proudly admit that they profited, for decades, from the institutional racism known as the War on Drugs, and today, pay lobbyists to concoct a legalization policy that continues to suck money out of urban, low-income communities, and funnel it into the pockets of cops and white, rural land-owners, want the rest of us to stop using the term “marijuana” because they find it culturally insensitive. They sounded like KKK Clansmen, lobbying for the repeal of the 19th Amendment, demanding that lawmakers refer to the people they hoped to openly own, as African Americans, rather than Negroes, because the term made their property sound more valuable.

Clansmen for tolerance

Prohibition allowed white rural land-owners to keep marijuana as their slave for decades, and racist Drug War policies brought a tremendous flow of money into Humboldt County, largely from poor, urban communities. Now that we have become economically dependent on it, society has finally risen up to demand an end to the injustice of the War on Drugs. The end of slavery brought economic upheaval to the South. Many fought and died in defense of the indefensible, but who would argue today that we should reinstate slavery for its economic benefit?

Rebel Pride

Today’s dope yuppies are just like those old southern plantation owners. They don’t care how cruel, violent and wrong prohibition is. All they care about is their money, their property, and their way of life. They’ll fight to protect all three, even if they wouldn’t lift a finger to end prohibition and couldn’t care less about the rights of oppressed people or racial injustice. They’ll fight for their way of life, even if it destroys our community and stifles the kind of economic diversity that would ease our dependence on prohibition, and help us transition to a post-Drug War economy.

end the drug war.jpg

 

I sympathize with the people who would argue that cannabis deserves respect. I took Jack Herer’s advice on nomenclature to heart when, at the height of the War on Drugs, I co-founded Mass. Cann. The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition. I chose my words carefully when I went door to door, back in 1991, asking people to support a medical cannabis ordinance in Cambridge, MA. I like to play with words, but I take them very seriously.

play-with-words

Today, in the waning years of the War on Drugs, times have changed. It’s time to talk openly and honestly about our relationship with this plant. This plant is a big part of my life, and one word isn’t nearly enough to describe it. Just like the Eskimos, who have something like 50 words for snow, I need many words for weed.

eskimo igloo

I use the word “marijuana” because it’s the familiar name, the common name, and the name everybody knows. Cannabis could be a shirt, a ream of paper, a bottle of machine oil, a sack of pet food or a million other products, but everyone knows that “marijuana” gets you high.

lets-get-high

I like the word “marijuana” precisely because it conjures up the whole ugly history of prohibition. The word “marijuana” reminds us of what we’ve been through. I call it marijuana because I paid prohibition prices for it. I call it marijuana because I’ve been denied jobs because of it, and I call it marijuana because I’ve been to jail because of it.

drug war casualty rachel hoffman

 

Call it “marijuana” so the no one ever forgets that millions of American citizens had their lives turned upside-down, and their futures shattered by a cruel, violent and racist war waged against the American people by the US Government. Call it “marijuana” because it is the common name of a common plant, and there’s nothing upscale about it. Call it “marijuana” because it’s a lovely name for a beautiful plant, and the people who love her have called her that for generations.

pot sounds whack

Marijuana. It just sounds so good. I think I’ll have some right now.

lets go smoke some weed


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