Some people will tell you that the people of Southern Humboldt are too stupid to do anything but rape the environment, deal drugs, or both. I’m not one of those people. Despite our inglorious legacy, we have a lot to be proud of in our past, and we have a lot of potential for the future, but we have a lot of work to do right now to get there.
Change is coming. It’s happening as we speak. As the War on Drugs comes to an end, the cannabis industry will undoubtedly go through dramatic upheaval. We should expect difficulties and challenges we’ve never faced before, and we should expect that these challenges will be made more challenging because of what the War on Drugs has done to us as a community.
The War on Drugs has done terrible things to this community, and, like soldiers returning from war, we won’t know how profoundly the War on Drugs has affected us, until it is really over. Some of us may find successful careers in the post-war cannabis industry, but we’re all still bleeding from wounds we got from thirty years of the War on Drugs, and a lot of people around here simply cannot imagine any other way to live.
Humboldt County may or may not own the future of the cannabis industry, but we do own the War on Drugs. No one can take that away from us. What Lexington and Concord are to the American Revolution; what Gettysburg is to the American Civil War, Humboldt County is to the War on Drugs.
The War on Drugs lasted for more than 30 years, and you would be hard pressed to find a community anywhere in the US on whom the War on Drugs has had a more dramatic and lasting effect. No one likes to dwell on anything so terrible as war, but people die in them, people suffer through them, and they define people’s lives. We shouldn’t just try to brush it under the rug.
The War on Drugs has affected us all. We need to understand what happened to us in the War on Drugs more than anyone else. We need to understand how the War on Drugs impacted this community, and how it effected the whole country. We need that understanding this to heal ourselves. If we can find that healing for our own community, we can offer it to the millions of survivors carrying trauma from the War on Drugs.
Seriously. A Drug War Museum. It should have a plaque or something with the name of every American who died in the War on Drugs. Make it a place where Drug War Vets can be honored for the time they served… in jail. Tell the story of what happened to this community, honestly, but make it a compelling narrative, and don’t skimp on the details. Honor the herb, and honor the people who risked their lives in a war zone to keep America high during the War on Drugs. I’m not kidding. That is our claim to fame, as a community, and it’s our wisdom to share.
Take tourists on day-hikes that simulate the treks guerrilla growers had to make deep into the woods to tend their hidden patches. Have exhibits showing some of the sneaky tricks people used to hide their plants. Make each tourist carry a sack of chicken manure in their backpack for the whole hike, and hide some speakers in the woods that intermittently play the sounds of helicopters, to simulate an impending CAMP raid, for added realism . Show people what it was like here.
A trip to Southern Humboldt could become a therapeutic part of healing the traumas inflicted by the War on Drugs. When people come here, we should remind them that there’s nothing wrong with consuming cannabis, but that the War on Drugs is a crime against humanity that has taken a toll on all of us. We should show the War on Drugs for what it is: a dark chapter in American History that must never be forgotten because it must never be repeated.
Garberville should become the place where people come to heal the wounds of the War on Drugs, but we can also make Garberville a place to explore the healing powers of cannabis as medicine. We have a strong community of healers here who already have a lot of experience with cannabis as medicine. I imagine that we’ve barely scratched the surface of cannabis’ many therapeutic uses, and that the potential for new products, therapies and treatments involving cannabis is huge. Look, cannabis feels good. Feeling good is good for you. Therefore cannabis is good for you. If you ask me, that’s all the recommendation anyone needs to enjoy cannabis. Now that cannabis is going to be legal, and cheap, let’s see how many imaginative new ways we can find to use it.
Cannabis is not wine. It is not a decadent luxury for the well-to-do. Cannabis is medicine. Cannabis is tonic. Cannabis is good for you. That’s why everyone needs cannabis. We can’t possibly grow enough cannabis here for everyone, and we shouldn’t even try, but we can dream up new ways to use it, and we can use it to heal ourselves, our economy, and our community from the traumas inflicted by the War on Drugs.