In the time that I’ve written for LoCO, the wholesale price of cannabis has dropped by way more than 50%. Much as I appreciate the price break, the collapse is painful to watch. People are not handling it well, but they don’t need me to remind them that prohibition is an ugly way to make a living or to make fun of them for their excesses. Besides, the free market and legalization will change things around here more than anything I could ever say in an editorial.
I know that this is a hard time for people, and that a lot of people around here will have to find something else to do with their lives. I know how challenging that can be, and I sympathize with my neighbors who are going through that right now. In fact, I’m right there with you. Legalization has cost me my job too.
Much of what I write, here at LoCO, revolves around the excesses and the mythology of the black market cannabis industry. Now that the industry has collapsed in the face of full legalization, the myths quickly fade into legends, as the excesses evaporate and disappear. I’m not here to write folklore about prohibition, although that’s not necessarily a bad idea, but that’s not why you read LoCO.
Legalization has been my issue since 1988, when I wrote the first of many letters to my elected officials about it, and my first Letter to the Editor about it appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal. In 1990 I got my first paid writing gig when the Lincoln Journal Star, in Lincoln NE invited me to write a guest editorial about the economic benefits of hemp as a cash crop for Nebraska’s farmers.
In Boston, I founded and edited Mass Grass, the official newsletter, and a central organizing tool, of Mass Cann, The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition, the lead organization in that state’s legalization movement. In a sense, I’ve had a career working for legalization. It didn’t pay much, but I met some great people, had amazing experiences and smoked a lot of terrific weed. I really loved the work because I believe in it deeply, and felt I had something to contribute.
Now that prohibition is over, at least here in Humboldt County, there’s not much point in advocating for legalization any more, at least not locally. Legalization is just a fact of life now, and for too many people around here, it’s a painful fact of life. You don’t need to hear me say “I told you so,” and I don’t kick people when they’re down. Watching this whole community hit the windshield in slow motion, as the industry slams into a brick wall just makes me cringe. I can’t write about this anymore, at least not for the people who live here. It’s completely unnecessary cruelty.
That doesn’t really leave me much to write about for LoCO. Most of the things I used to complain about have gotten a lot better since the market collapsed. I didn’t hear nearly so much traffic on my road this past year. I heard a lot less heavy equipment, chainsaws and generators this year too. I didn’t get run off the road by any of those 50 cubic yard soil loads this year, but I have seen more litter, especially more soil bags, along our roadways. The smugness is gone too. In its place, I hear a lot of pathetic self-pity that would be funny if it weren’t so sad, and it weren’t my neighbors.
I’m grateful for the relief from the noise, but I would rather clean up roadside trash than write about it, and I’m not ready to immerse myself into the cesspool that is Humboldt County politics enough to write a weekly opinion column about it, so it’s over. Hank isn’t interested in my critiques of media and the internet, and I’m not interested in beating a dead horse, so we’ll call it done. I’ll continue to publish my blog, but you will no longer see it at LoCO and it will no longer remain so Humboldt-centric. It might even get funny again. You never can tell.
I’ll miss the exposure, and I’ll miss the checks, but I’ll never miss prohibition or the War on Drugs. It’s high time for me to do something else with my life, anyway, and that’s probably true for most of us. I’m sure there’s better things ahead for all of us, but we’ll never get there, unless we let go of what’s holding us back. My blog remains one click away, and you can still hear me every Monday morning on KMUD. It’s been fun, LoCO, but bye for now.