Tag Archives: cannabis

The Cannabis Casino

weed casino

Last week I wrote about how our failure to address the housing crisis will ultimately force the emerging legal cannabis industry to move elsewhere in search of a reliable workforce, and about why smart growers are getting out of the business now, while the getting is good. One commenter at LoCO, who has since deleted his comment, said he was getting out of the marijuana business, and lamented that after 20 years in the cannabis industry, he had little to show for his efforts. Another commenter expressed shock and wonder that someone could work in the black market marijuana industry for so long without making more money. This commenter obviously had no experience in the marijuana industry.

 

The truth is, most people who try to make a career of growing marijuana, fare poorly. Growing pot is more like gambling in a casino than working a job. Legal businesses rely heavily on a stable legal system that supports their activity. From criminal penalties for shoplifting to a court system that upholds and enforces contracts, legal businesses only remain reliably profitable, because the threat of government enforcement keeps everyone honest. The black market marijuana industry enjoys no such support, and is made, largely, of people who specialize in evading law enforcement. No one plays by the rules, treachery, deceit and thievery are common, and violence is trump.

trump points up

Some people hit the jackpot in casinos, but most end up losing money, or at best, breaking even. The same is true of the marijuana industry. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the same marijuana industry that brings so much money into Humboldt County, also produces unbearable poverty for far too many of the people who work in that industry. There are no stable, good paying jobs in the marijuana industry. Instead, people gamble with their lives.

marijuana gamble

Here’s something that happens every day, all day, all over the country. It happened recently to a couple of young friends of mine. They got invited to come out here to work on a pot farm, and to trim the weed at harvest time. They both put in a lot of hard work in the hot sun all Summer, weeks and weeks of 16 hour workdays spent trimming weed, and many cold November nights sleeping in soggy dome tents in the rain. By the end of last year, they had saved a good chunk of money, but they knew they could make even more, if they used the money they earned here, to buy marijuana at Humboldt County prices, take it home with them, and sell it at the prevailing price there.

selling weed why the fuck

Unfortunately, they got pulled-over by a cop in a state with less progressive marijuana laws. The cop arrested them, confiscated their weed, and took their money. They spent a week in jail, had to have their parents bail them out, and hired a lawyer. Not only did they lose a year of their lives and everything they earned, they still have to pay hefty fines, legal fees, and spend a year or more on probation, at least.

chain gang

For a while last winter, in their scissor delirium, they thought they were doing pretty well. They went out to dinner once or twice at the Benbow Inn, bought some expensive scotch at the Redway liquor store, and donated money to KMUD. Now they’re broke, in debt, and have a criminal record. This year they’re back to try again, but they are worse off than when they started.

worse off

Something like that story has happened to almost a million people every year, for almost 50 years now, including about 800,000 last year alone. Just because the marijuana industry brings a lot of money here, that doesn’t mean that most of the people in this industry do well at it. Some do, but a whole lot more have the perception that they are doing well, for a short period of time, just like gamblers in a casino, and that feeling makes gambling, and the marijuana industry, addictive.

high steaks gambling

CAMP raids ruined a lot of people’s lives, for decades, even if they never got arrested. If you managed to put together a good year or two, and used the money to put a down-payment on a piece of property, build a house and put in a grow, you probably thought you were doing pretty well. Then, just as your plants approached maturity, helicopters showed up and CAMP smashed your whole operation. As a result of the raid, you lost a whole year’s income. Because you didn’t have the income, you missed your land payment, so you lost your land, the big down-payment you made, all of the annual balloon payments you made before they busted you, and the house you just built. This has happened to hundreds of people here in Humboldt County. Some people have sold the same piece of land, four or five times, to four or five different ambitious young growers, and gotten higher prices each time they sold it because of improvements made by each successive alleged “new owner” before foreclosure.

marijuana helicopter

Cops aren’t the only hazard in this business. Mold, woodrats, mites, deer, elk, gophers and ripoffs can all ruin a crop almost as fast as CAMP. Then there’s fire. Lots of people lose their crop in wildland fires. If the plants themselves don’t burn, they might die because no one could get into the evacuation zone to water them.

fire victim

One friend of mine was doing pretty well. He had acquired land and was building a house. At harvest time, he used the unfinished house as a drying shed for his crop. While drying, some of the weed fell onto a portable propane heater which started a fire that consumed the crop and burned the house to the ground. It devastated him.

destroyed house

 

Nobody has insurance in this business, and setbacks like this can take years to recover from, if they don’t crush your spirit completely. Some people never recover from setbacks like these. Instead, they fall into alcoholism and/or hard-drug addiction, which become setbacks themselves, which lead to more setbacks. After a few such setbacks, most people are pretty well screwed.

you know youre screwed

Damn near everyone in Humboldt, it seems, is on probation, parole, or has a felony conviction in their past, and our drug addiction rates are through the roof. Far from making us more prosperous as a community, the marijuana industry has become a trap that produces gross income inequity, devastates the natural environment, and unleashes an epidemic of economic refugees while it makes us feel ever more dependent upon it.

weed and money trap

Yes, the black market marijuana industry accounts for a lot of the money that comes into Humboldt County but it also accounts for a lot of the homelessness, poverty and drug addiction we find here too. Like a casino, the War on Drugs makes a few lucky people rich, while it swindles the rest of us with games of chance where the odds are stacked against us, and like a casino, it doesn’t really produce anything, except poverty, social problems, and money. Would you care to place a bet on the future of Humboldt County?

last bets


“Grow Big or Go Homeless”

grow big only options

The other day, I saw a guy wearing a T-shirt from one of our local grow shops. Nothing unusual about that. On any given day, half the guys you see in Garberville will be wearing an advertisement for one of our local grow shops. I didn’t see which shop sponsored the shirt, because I didn’t see the front of the shirt, but the message I saw on the back left me dumbfounded. “Grow Big or Go Homeless” the black shirt loudly proclaimed in bold white letters.

remember the homeless

Whoever came up with that slogan knows how to sell grow supplies. “Grow Big or Go Homeless” taps into growers’ fear. Everyone fears running out of money, especially growers. Growers tend to have pretty thin resumes, and the longer they grow, the less employable they become, so this slogan taps into the sense of desperation driving the current expansion in the marijuana industry.

easier to fool

People don’t think well when they’re frightened. Some people don’t think well at anytime. A lot of growers use money to insulate themselves from their own idiocy. They don’t like to think too much, but they know that having a lot of money makes life easier. The more money they make, the more silly ways they find to spend it, and soon, their lives become a death-spiral of greed and consumption that destroys natural habitat here in Humboldt County, wastes resources around the world, and contributes to global warming, while they poison themselves with their own stupidity. Just having to think frightens them, and thinking about money and the future frightens them even more.

stupid people exist because

A few growers have been paying attention, and preparing for the inevitable, others are getting out while the getting is good. As the marijuana industry becomes more professional and competitive, most Humboldt growers feel trapped. They know that they’ll never make it in the legal market, and they only have a few years left of the black market. So, like any compulsive gambler, they bet it all on this year’s crop, and made it a big one. If they can do it again next year, they’ll find a way to grow even more.

grow even more

People bought a shitload of soil and garden supplies this year, at least twice as much as last year, and then trucked all of that stuff back to a rash of seeping scars on our hillsides, where they worked like dogs in the hot sun, breathing dust and exhaust fumes all day, just so that they can double-down on last year. Why? You can only grow so much weed, and the more weed you grow, the harder you work, and the less you make per pound. You don’t have to worry about getting caught. You’ve been caught. They’re draining the pond around you, so becoming a bigger fish won’t help. We need to evolve if we want to survive in this changing environment, and turning our backs on the world and burying ourselves in weed won’t help us one bit.

buried in weed

Pretty soon, everyone will have plenty of weed, and growing it will be just another shitty low-paying job. Like the rest of our shitty low-paying jobs, nobody around here will work them unless they can find an affordable place to live. In turn, even the marijuana industry will be forced to move elsewhere because they won’t be able to assemble the reliable workforce they need, here. We’re not preparing for the future, we’re digging a pit, and the deeper we dig, the longer it will take us to climb out of it.

stuck in a pit

Business owners already complain about how hard it is to find reliable help, and they complain about all of the homeless people hanging around town too, but instead of creating affordable housing that would make money, inspire people to take those shitty jobs and give them money to patronize local businesses, they’d rather grow more weed, and pay higher taxes, so that they can pay cops to chase poor people away from their phony downtown businesses. It’s ridiculous, and it’s cruel, and it’s just one facet of the ridiculous, and cruel, War on Drugs, but there it was, distilled down to a slogan you could put on a T-shirt, “Grow Big, or Go Homeless.” Have we lost our minds?

lost my mind van gogh

Marijuana used to mellow people out, but today it has got them acting crazy. I realize that the answer to every problem we’ve faced in the past has been, “grow more marijuana,” but the future demands something else from us this time, and the sooner we realize it, the better. It speaks to the failure of our government, that it waged a War on Drugs against it’s own people, and it speaks to the bankruptcy of our economic system that we rely so heavily on the violence, corruption and human suffering wrought by the War on Drugs, but ultimately, how we handle this situation, here, together, as a community, will determine our fate. We have got to do better than “Grow Big or Go Homeless,” if we want to build any kind of a future here in Southern Humboldt.

it doesnt get better


A Meeting About “the Greenrush”

green-rush movie

I attended the “Greenrush” meeting Beginnings in Briceland. It turned out to be a great opportunity to see your neighbors, meet some government officials, and watch four hours of your life evaporate away. The Civil Liberties Monitoring Project hosted the meeting to air complaints about the expansion of mega-grow pot plantations in Southern Humboldt, and because those folks up in Bridgeville got to have a meeting about it, so we had to have one too.

i-want-one-too

Of course, the mega-grow plantation owners didn’t come to the meeting. They didn’t send a manager, or even a spokesperson. They were too busy growing pot, and making money, to care. Instead, it was all the people who have been complaining about them, including yours truly, as well as 2nd District Supervisor Estelle Fennell, Undersheriff Honsal from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department, Adona White of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, Jane Arnold from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Senior Planner from the Humboldt County Planning Dept, Steve Lazar.

briceland greenrush meeting

It’s still weird to hear pot growers demanding stricter enforcement and more surveillance, but that’s what I heard. People were outraged that the Sheriff wasn’t busting these giant grows we can all see on Google Earth, when they used to look at every ridge in the county, every year, with a magnifying glass and a fine-toothed comb, pulling-up every single pot plant they saw. Undersheriff Honsel told us that since the Feds stopped picking up the tab, the Sheriff doesn’t do much marijuana eradication anymore.

marijuana eradication

Instead, Honsel referred us to the people sitting at the table beside him, Adona White from NCRWQCB, Jane Arnold from Fish and Wildlife, and Steve Lazar from the Planning Dept, and told us that they would lead the enforcement of the new regulations. All of the people from the various state and county agencies kept telling us, “We’d love to bust these bad guys, but we need you to file complaints against them first. Then we’ll send them a letter.”

county land use ordinance

“Oh great, a letter.” we all thought. Our neighbors carry machine guns and run international organized crime syndicates, and you are going to send them a letter. We know how mobsters work. Mobsters bribe public officials, but they kill informants. All of our state and county agencies would love to start negotiating with these new “clients,” if they haven’t already, and they’re happy to do it over our dead bodies. They can’t wait to try out these new shakedowns, I mean “regulations,” and they love to let the public do their legwork.

bribes

In order to make sense of this whole legalization process, you need to understand what politicians mean when they talk about “a well-regulated industry.” They don’t mean “regulated in such a way as to protect the environment, provide workers with a safe workplace, and insure regional economic stability.” When a government official talks about “a well regulated industry” he or she means that all of the bribes and payoffs that used to get paid under the table, have now been institutionalized as above-board fees and penalties.

rules and regulations marked on rubber stamp

 

As the spectre of legalization threatened to expose the corruption at the core of our local economy, the Board of Supervisors worked furiously fast to codify new licensing and fee structures to keep the economic ball rolling. Because Humboldt County acted so quickly to adopt these new regulations, big growers everywhere now know that they can grow big here, and if the county comes after them, they’ll send a letter, instead of 60 trigger-happy cops.

trigger happy cops

These new regulations have made Humboldt County look appetizing to a whole new category of speculators, gamblers, and weasels working both sides of the law. They pay ridiculous prices for real estate and then totally blow it up with clear-cuts, massive water-sucking light-dep operations, loud generators, bright lights and too much truck traffic. That’s what we mean by “Greenrush.”

big grow

The forest has become an unregulated industrial zone as operators race to suck the last gulps from the teat of prohibition while they position themselves to come out on top in the legal market. The stakes are high. No pun intended. The competition for domination of the emerging legal cannabis market is fierce, and Humboldt County has become the battlefield.

battlefield

That’s why it looks like a war zone around here. Our hillsides are cratered by pot plants instead of bomb blasts, massive convoys of dump trucks, cement mixers and earth-moving equipment crisscross our watersheds while desperate refugees survive in make-shift camps. The War on Drugs has given us all PTSD, and now that the government has finally conceded defeat, growers have gone on the offensive, and they’re fighting each other for market-share. This last battle in the War on Drugs may be the most deadly yet for Humboldt County.

dead bodies battlefield

At the meeting, they told us that they can only work with the growers who want to come into compliance. At the moment, about 2% of cannabis growers are actively working towards compliance, which means that about 98% of the marijuana growers in Humboldt County continue to supply a robust nationwide black market that doesn’t take names, ask for licenses or collect taxes. Undersheriff Honsell told us that most Humboldt County growers grow for the black market because: “That’s where the money is.” Duh!

willie sutter quote

Essentially, they told us that as long as the black market for marijuana remains profitable, we should expect the unregulated destruction in the forest to continue, and accelerate. In the meantime, the Board of Supervisors has proposed a new excise tax on every licensed pound of legally compliant medical cannabis, just to make sure that those cut-and-run greenrushers get a little more time to plunder the forest, while licensed legal growers pick up the tab.

pick up the tab1

They told us to be patient. In five years or so, this will all be over. By then, everyone will be in compliance and there won’t be any more black market. That’s what they told us. They didn’t bother to tell us that all of the salmon would be dead in five years, along with the local cottage cannabis industry, poof, gone, extinct forever. They didn’t tell us that real estate agents are getting fat as ticks off of this ruse, right now, by inviting every drug dealer in the country to come here to ruin the community, saw down the forest and suck the rivers dry. “Please be patient,” they said. “In five years, it will all be over.”

it will all be over soon

Yeah, that’s what we’re afraid of.

horror john carpenter


A Proposed Cease-Fire

cease-fire 

While I’ve greatly enjoyed venting my spleen at SoHum’s Bourgeois, I realize that you don’t all fit so neatly into my broad, and broadly negative, characterizations. I know a lot of you personally, and I know that you like to think of yourselves as basically decent people. Hell, I like to think of you as basically decent people. Why else would I waste my time communicating with you, but I also happen to know that the poor in SoHum are basically decent people, as well, as are nearly all of the of seasonal workers who descend on Southern Humboldt every year to harvest and trim your marijuana.

I didn’t start the class war in Southern Humboldt. I just answered it. I got really sick of seeing the way the middle-class treat the poor and homeless around here, and I got sick of the propaganda campaign in the local media. If the poor and homeless of SoHum were black, you’d call it overt, institutional and brutally violent, racism, but it just happens to be aimed at mostly white people. It’s just as ugly as racism, and just as hateful, but it’s something different. It’s a caste system, a community segregated by class.

caste system

Which strikes me as absolutely ridiculous, because nobody around here has any class. We can’t convince doctors to move here. Why? Not because of the climate, not because we don’t have plenty of natural scenic beauty, not because of traffic, noise or air pollution. Doctors don’t want to live here because no one around here has any class. This is the most low-brow community I’ve ever lived in, and this really ugly, scapegoating attitude towards the poor is just one example of our general vulgarity.

vulgarity periodic table

I understand your frustration. This town doesn’t look the way you would like it to look. You spend a lot of money to have a storefront on Redwood Drive and you want people to see your window display, not five hippies smoking a joint, but getting mad and calling the cops will not solve the problem. The people who hang-out in town live here, work here, and pay taxes here. They have a right to dress as they see fit and carry whatever they like. They can also walk their dog, smoke their cigarette and/or stand on the sidewalk talking to their friends, for as long as they like. None of these things constitute a crime. Now we all pay a special sales tax, Measure Z, so that local merchants can use law enforcement officers as bouncers and treat our public spaces like their own private club, and they’ve passed new laws to criminalize poverty. What an ugly waste of waste and money! It’s time to face reality.

face_reality

Reality isn’t pretty. The illegal marijuana industry isn’t nearly as benign as we’d like to believe. It creates tremendous economic disparity, and we see it on the streets of Garberville. This industry ruins many times more people than succeed at it. For decades, and still today, cops arrest nearly a million people a year for marijuana. They confiscate and destroy millions of pounds of marijuana every year, and every year thousands of people have their lives turned upside-down, lose their assets, spend time in jail, and/or have their good names besmirched with felony convictions, just to keep the price of marijuana high enough to make the dope yuppie lifestyle possible.

HCCC b

For every winner in this game, there are a lot of losers. You’ve got to figure that a lot of people end up on the street because of the marijuana industry, and you ought to accept that a lot of those people are here. It’s sad, but for a lot of people around here, marijuana is the only life they know. They’re like coal miners in West Virginia. This is all they know, so they come back to it again and again, never acquiring education, never paying into social security and never getting out of Humboldt. That’s one problem, but it’s not much better for honest working people.

coal miner and son

Most jobs in town offer $9-12 an hour. You will never find a place to live in Southern Humboldt that you can afford at that wage, and who can blame people for not working their lives away, just to pay the rent on a room to sleep in. It isn’t a matter of choice. A lot of people have no good options. They are all doing the best that they can, and they all deserve a little dignity and respect.

sleeping in public

 

In addition to our year-round population, we get a massive influx of seasonal workers every Fall who need low-budget accommodations. We’re going to have hippies. They will bring guitars and drums and dogs and sell stuff on the sidewalk. They will take drugs, smoke weed and drink. This is reality. The vast majority of the people who buy marijuana, sell marijuana and make marijuana are poor. These are your customers, your distributors and your manufacturers. Without them, there would be no marijuana industry, and all of that money you’ve come to depend on, comes from them.

Trimmigrant

We need to make space for people who are not middle-class, and we need services for people who are not middle-class. I do, genuinely, find the middle-class disgusting, revolting, obnoxious and belligerent. I don’t like seeing them on the streets, and I find them intimidating. I can’t stand the way they smell and I despise the air of entitlement they carry, but If I saw one meaningful action, something I, as a member of this community, could take some civic pride in, just one meaningful action that would make life a little easier for the people who are struggling, economically, and dealing with difficult situations, in Southern Humboldt, I could put aside those petty differences, at least for a while, and talk about some of the very positive things going on here in Southern Humboldt. 10 Bonus Points if it happens before the trimmigrants get here.

homeless in garberville


You Can Count On Me

count on me keep calm

People sometimes criticize me for my over-the-top opinions and no-holds-barred writing style. They think I should moderate my views and be more sensitive to people’s feelings. Fuck that! In reality, these people just wish I would shut the fuck up and leave them alone with their illusions, but they want to say it in a way that sounds like constructive criticism.

constructive criticism

If Carl Hiaasen offered a few words of advice about my writing, I’d be all ears, but when I get writing advice here in SoHum, it usually comes from people who can barely read. I don’t listen to them any more than I would take target shooting advice from an unarmed blind man. If you can’t see the target, and you’ve never handled a gun, you won’t be much help, so relax. I know what I’m doing, and I shoot straight.

shoot straight kid

You’re lucky to have me, frankly. Thirty years of silence, secrecy and sycophantic schemers has given this community a very distorted image of itself. The injustice of marijuana prohibition turned community values on their head. What began as a new green awakening, degenerated into the same old greed and dishonesty. We celebrate marijuana, but our addiction to the War on Drugs shapes us, and it shows.

it shows

 

Greed is uglier than alcoholism. It’s even uglier than meth addiction, and that heartless, senseless, relentless thirst for more takes a toll. Like alcohol and meth, greed hardens people while it kills them from the inside. I see what that disease does to people. I see what that disease has done to this community.

alcoholism disease

While cannabis may have healing qualities that make the user more sensitive to subtle emotional cues, the War on Drugs produces hard, rotten people. Every community has a few, quite a few, I’m sorry to say, just like every community has it’s share of alcoholics, tweakers and greed-heads. Unfortunately, the opportunities created here by the War on Drugs tend to attract them, so we have more than our fair share. We also have more than our fair share of money, which, like gravity, inexorably draws greedy scum towards it.

money like gravity

The War on Drugs made bad people rich while it drove honest people out of town, just like it does in any drug ghetto, and just like in any drug ghetto, we have enormous social problems as a result. We try to put a nice face on it. We try to look like a normal, prosperous, small town, but the truth shows. It angers the rich ugly, hard, rotten people around here, that they can’t just sweep the poor, ugly, hard, rotten people out of sight, but that’s who we are, and that’s what the War on Drugs has done to us. So long as the War on Drugs continues, we shall remain, as a community, unnaturally rich, unnaturally poor, and rotten to the core.

rotten to the core skull

Greedy bankers and real-estate blood-suckers measure the marijuana industry in dollars, because that’s all greedy people see, but the more money the marijuana industry brings to Humboldt County, the more poverty it produces. The black market marijuana industry produces poverty all over this country, but here in SoHum, it produces some of the most expensive poverty money can buy.

poverty an expensive luxury

Greedy people, like drug addicts, become so focused on their addiction that they often fail to notice how poor they really are. The people who drive those spotlessly clean late-model trucks, often live in total squalor, expensive squalor, but squalor nonetheless. Lots of children grow up in dysfunctional homes, without books, living on junk food, and we have some of the highest suicide and drug addiction rates in the state. For all the money that the War on Drugs brings in, we sure don’t seem to live very well as a result.

Money-Wont-make-you-happy zig ziglar

It takes more than money to make a community function. It takes culture, and hard, rotten people produce a hard, rotten culture. It’s a hard, rotten culture that blames the poor for their poverty, and rewards drug dealers for their greed, and this hard, rotten culture belies our deepest poverty: our penurious shortage of intelligence, imagination and moral courage. I know you don’t want to hear it, folks, but that’s the truth. You won’t get that from many people around here, but you can count on me.

you can Count-On-Me


Deputy Jason Daniels, Brought to You by Estelle Fennell

daniels sargent

This past week, the trial of former Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Daniels began. Daniels stands accused of raping two Southern Humboldt women, on two separate occasions, months apart, while in uniform and on duty. You’d think a crime like this: an on-duty cop, in a small rural community, using his badge, his gun, and his nightstick, to sexually assault innocent local women, repeatedly, for his own sexual gratification, would shock the community. You’d think we’d be horrified.

horrified

Really, how would you feel, if you knew that this kind of “public servant” was “protecting” your wife, daughter, sister and mother? How would you feel knowing that your tax dollars paid his salary, pension and benefits package? Are you cool with that?

you cool man

Now ask yourself this: How many women, having been raped by an on-duty cop, an authority figure representing the government, would have the courage to report the crime? Of them, how many would be willing to endure the additional trauma and humiliation of having her body inspected for evidence, answering endless questions about all aspects of her private life, and then testifying again and again, and again, only to face a rigorous cross-examination by a skilled adversarial attorney? One in ten? One in a hundred? How many local women did this guy really rape, before he was finally relieved of duty? Was he a “bad apple” or “just one of the boys?”

just one of the boys

Again, why are people around here not outraged about this, and demanding answers to these questions.  If some county official had inadvertently stepped onto someone’s private property without a search warrant, you can be sure that we’d read about it in the papers and hear about it on the radio for weeks, but somehow this story got overlooked. The sad truth about Southern Humboldt is that the vast majority of people around here are too wrapped-up in their own crimes to worry, or care, about anyone else.

wrapped up in Crime Scene Tape

People overlook a lot of serious police abuse down here in Southern Humboldt, so long as the cops abuse the right people. In fact, the community strongly encourages cops to abuse people around here. Garberville merchants constantly call the Sheriff’s Department because they don’t like the looks of people, or because people stand together in a group talking on the sidewalk, but mainly because they don’t want to see poor people hanging around town. If you read the SoHum Sheriff’s log, usually half of the calls from Garberville revolve around “unwanted persons” and reference no crime whatsoever.

unwanted persons

In fact, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department has been given a mandate, and special funding to abuse poor people in Southern Humboldt, whether they have committed a crime or not. That mandate came from 2nd District Supervisor Estelle Fennell herself. I remember it well. Supervisor Fennell and Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey both came to SoHum to address public outrage over the fact that it took eight hours for the Sheriff to respond to a burglary at a Redway headshop. Even though the cops nabbed a Fortuna kid with the stolen bongs, people lined up at this public meeting to complain about homeless people being poor in public.

bong thief

Sheriff Downey explained that people have rights, and that he can’t just arrest people without probable cause. In response, Supervisor Fennell told Sheriff Downey, in front of a crowd of people at the Redway Elementary School, that she wanted to see more Sheriff patrols in Southern Humboldt, and she told Sheriff Mike Downey to “Go ahead and arrest people. Nobody is going to complain.” Then she launched her campaign for Measure Z, a regressive sales tax that unfairly burdens the poor, to pay the costs of bringing more Deputies to Southern Humboldt, including Deputy Jason Daniels.

new deputies

Deputy Jason Daniels on the far right, behind Sheriff Mike Downey

Since then, we’ve seen an explosion in police violence against the homeless here in SoHum. Deputies have had a field-day, beating, tazing, pepper-spraying and apparently raping poor and homeless people ever since, and just as Supervisor Fennell predicted, no one complained. In fact, local people have gotten in on the action. A local vigilante group called “The Town Patrol” now harass, threaten and terrorize homeless people with impunity, and help Sheriff’s Deputies target their victims.

Dead bodies turn-up around here about once a month, but no one complains. No one complains that the Sheriff barely investigates these murders. No one complains that the murderers remain at large, and no one around here would complain if Deputy Jason Daniels raped a thousand women in Southern Humboldt, so long as they were all poor and homeless. That’s the kind of people we are down here.

SoHum is dominated by greedy, heartless, drug dealers who work in concert with corrupt cops all over this country to destroy communities and spread poverty. They call it the “War on Drugs,” but it’s always waged against the poor. Here in SoHum we see it clearly, starkly and ironically, where we now have hundreds of millionaire drug kingpins, running illegal operations so massive they can be seen from space, but the cops spend most of their time harassing and abusing poor people who have committed no crime, and have nowhere to go.

It’s sickening and it’s shameful, but that’s the truth about Southern Humboldt. The trial of former Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Daniels continues, but the real monster remains at large, and it just reelected Estelle Fennell as 2nd District Supervisor.

estelle fennell quote


Seed ’em for Freedom

seedy bud

The other day, I found myself stuck behind two, empty, 25 yd dump trucks, returning to Redway, waiting for two more 25 yd dump trucks, full of soil, to clear the one-lane bottleneck in the middle of the redwood grove between Lower Redway and Ruby Valley on Briceland Rd. Between the four of them they completely engulfed that remarkable fragment of ancient forest in a thick cloud of diesel exhaust. Ah, the smell of a Spring day in the forests of Humboldt County.

on a clear day

I must have passed two dozen trucks, of various sizes, loaded with soil, or components thereof, in my sixteen mile trek into town. It reminded me of fire season, with soil trucks instead of firetrucks. You can literally watch our roads crumble beneath their weight. Meanwhile, the forests echo with the crass flatulence of chainsaws, bulldozers and ATVs all day, and the endless roar of generators, that fuel the UFO-like glow of brightly lit greenhouses, all night.

ufo like glow

This is crazy! I love marijuana as much as the next guy, but it’s not worth destroying the planet over, and it’s not worth destroying Humboldt County over, either. It’s just pot, for God’s sake. If it weren’t for prohibition, you could hardly give the stuff away. If our pot had seeds in it, weed would be sprouting up everywhere by now, and everyplace in the country would have its own variety, adapted to the local environment and local tastes.

cannabis sprouts

Pot doesn’t need special soil. I once found a fully mature sinsemilla plant growing in the expansion groove of a sidewalk in downtown Akron, OH. Thousands of people must have trampled on that plant over the course of the Summer. No one watered it, fertilized it, or mulched it. No one brewed tea for it, dusted it’s roots or sprayed it with neem oil, and no one strung lights over it, turned a fan on it or put a heater near it. It grew there, all on it’s own. Why? Because pot used to have seeds.

pot seeds hand heart

Weed should be as common as blackberries, and as full of seeds. No one should ever get shot over it, go to jail for it, or fork over a days wages just to enjoy a taste of it. By the same token, no one in their right mind would bulldoze a forest, trash a truckload of plastic film and sink a lot of money into soil and amendments, thinking they were going to get rich off of it, either. Our entire cannabis industry is built on the lunacy of prohibition. It was born crazy, and it’s only gotten crazier.

crazy twice

We shouldn’t build on prohibition. We should end prohibition. We shouldn’t white-wash the black market. We should end the injustice of it and let nature take its course. We can replace the trucks and the soil and the generators and the lights and the pollution and the growers and the dealers and the cops and the lawyers and the prison guards and the laws and the prisons and the money with the gentle motion of the breeze and a card on an album cover. Pot for the people, period. Anything less is a graceless scam that needlessly destroys habitat, generates pollution and creates poverty.

pollution and poverty

A lot of people around here have no appreciation for this place at all. They measure everything in dollars, so they know the price of everything, and the value of nothing. They know that the price of marijuana is high, all over the country, right now, and the risk of going to jail for growing a lot of it here in Humboldt County, is low, and that was all they needed to know about Humboldt County.

greenrush1

Salmon streams and old-growth forests don’t interest them one bit. Deer, bear, raccoon, skunks, gophers, rats and mice all fall under the category of: “pests,” and the rest of the community of life is just “roadkill,” dead stuff that got in the way. For them, regulations serve no purpose. To them, regulations are nothing more than bureaucratic “red tape” to be avoided, resisted, and opposed politically, rather than complied with, and because of them, regulations will not protect wildlife, preserve habitat or even insure our rural quality of life. Regulations won’t stop this madness. Regulation created this insanity in the first place, and new, more or better regulations will only make things worse. This is a concocted problem with a natural solution.

natural solution

If you love living in the forest, and you’re sick of the green-rush, grow some seedy pot this year. Let a patch of your favorite seed-stock go feral on your land. Seed ’em for Freedom! Seed ’em for Freedom, because it’s the only way we’ll ever really put prohibition behind us. Seed ’em for Freedom to put cannabis in the hands of the people who need it the most, and wrench it from those who would rather destroy the world first, and Seed ’em for Freedom because seeds are life, and life knows what it’s doing.

life knows surrender

 


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