Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Aside from demonstrating that no one at The New York Times really understands what legal marijuana might actually mean, something I’ve been pissing and moaning about for years has actually penetrated the mainstream media.

“A proposal to put the legalization of marijuana in California to a vote this November is causing some growers of the plant in the state to worry about a sharp drop in the value of their crop if the measure succeeds. As The Los Angeles Times explained in January, when supporters of the proposed Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 turned in more than enough signatures to get the measure on the ballot, the initiative “would make it legal for anyone 21 and older to possess an ounce of marijuana and grow plants in an area no larger than 25 square feet for personal use. It would also allow cities and counties to permit marijuana to be grown and sold, and to impose taxes on marijuana production and sales.”

Without a clue as what might be going on, the Times turns the story over to the Humbolt County Times-Sentinel. (A part of Northern California – according to NYT – known as the “Emerald Triangle” for the density of its marijuana crop.) The Times-Sentinel writer is far hipper.

“In what may be an unprecedented event, residents, local business people, officials and those involved in the marijuana industry are planning to meet Tuesday night and break a long-standing silence to talk about what supposedly is the backbone of Humboldt County's economy -- pot. More specifically, the meeting will focus on the potential economic effects of the legalization of marijuana. ”It's time to talk about the elephant in the room,” said organizer Anna Hamilton. A Shelter Cove resident, Hamilton said she is “intimately involved” with the marijuana industry and has seen the market get worse over time due to changing marijuana laws. ”I've lived here 20 years and every time there's been a discussion, an open discussion, about marijuana, it has emboldened people to grow more pot with less fear,” she said. “As it's become more widely grown, the prices dropped. The effect on our local economy is harsh.” With the legalization of marijuana a hot button topic in local and statewide government, Hamilton said now is the time to think about what can be done to protect residents when marijuana is legal. In addition to ballot measures aiming to legalize marijuana for recreational use, a bill for legalization is also being promoted as a way to save the state's ailing economy.” (Click here for more.)

The Times-Sentinel probably knows, but is unwilling to mention, that the major cash crop in Humboldt is not really dope. It’s the willingness to take a bust under the current drug laws. The biggest cost factor in the production of marijuana is risk. Once that risk is removed, prices can only plummet because pot would be nothing more, at best, than a cultivation-intensive, exotic agri-crop like kiwi fruit, long stemmed roses, or maybe tobacco. Fifty bucks an ounce would probably be generous. If dope is legal the growers are really going to have to streamline their trim. Legalization will be a time when desperado danger will have to be exchanged for smart thinking. I’m wondering, for instance, if every California resident has the right by law to 25 square feet of marijuana patch, could not some legal/business model be created for all those millions of potential marijuana patches be laid end to end to form a pot super-farm managed on a cooperative basis by former outlaw and wholly expert growers? I’d lease my pot rights in a NY minute. The most important problem for the growers of legal marijuana may well turn out to be how the fuck to keep Monsanto (and their hell-spawned genetic copyrights) out of the pot business.

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x_S said...

I think another issue being completely ignored is the population influx that will take place in the wake of legalization in the area. Think, 1960's haight acid rush in san francisco on a vastly larger scale... not just kids & hippies either, successful business men & women, average families fed up with the risk of persecution will show up from all over.

The level of people showing up will probably outweigh the available accommodations & cause a lot of problems. Like every time large numbers of people migrate to a specific region for almost any given reason... it will force new development for the influx population from low-income housing projects to suburbs & the uppermost of high-end residences. New zoning laws might cause long time residents to feel neglected, invaded & upset with the newcomers. Violent crime will likely spike upwards, not because of marijuana use, rather, the same desperation forced onto impoverished communities whenever there is a large population influx.

It will be a real mess & that impact will effect more communities than just those already growing.

Ernie said...

Wasn't that the excuse for turning away the Oakies at the stateline during the Dustbowl?

x_S said...

Not sure, might have been, I'm no historian.

I don't think it's an excuse or argument against legalization, just an issue that needs to be addressed, preferably before hand.

Diamond Jim said...

I would suspect that if California legalizes, neighbouring states Oregon and Nevada (and Washington) will swiftly follow suit, if only for the tax benefits and the impossibility of continued enforcement.

Anonymous said...

In oz, well 1 state South Australia we decriminalized growing up to 10 plants in the mid 80's.
Which as a fan made me not a criminal, well here I am now a criminal again.

The same left (not conservative)government decided we were feeding bikies & prostitutes and has now not only outlawed growing but made things like possessing lights & carbon filters gaol able offences.
So now when we get busted we get charges such as growing, distribution, procession of (x) proscribed devices eg: 4xlight, 1xfilter each charge can result in incarceration (eg carbon filter max 10 years) each thing can be charged individually.
So we have made great progress, from decriminalization to twenty years later every part of growing is criminal.
I work in an industry (municipal sewerage)were we use and recommend charcoal filter to reduce odours & technically we could be jailed.

Just as a end to this rant the reason people in SA stopped growing outdoor & begun hydro was that we were getting robbed, then when we grew indoors people smelt something & smashed doors down (many grew nothing) so that was another excuse for the gov to make more laws against growing eg:
You can not use self defense in court if you commit any of the offences above

so if someone smashes your door down then clubs you to the ground and you retaliate you are at fault because you have marijuana on the premise

De crim was good initially but now it has made 30 year growers/smokers like me at least 10X more likely to get locked up if caught, which will be really embarrassing as both my wife and I will loose our jobs (both now important community roles).

We were better of going to court 30 years ago.


Wat Zupdok said...

The only reason I can see for allowing Pot to be grown in one specific area like California is to allow (and encourage) some sort of disaster to be the result so that "the authorities" can announce that it was tried, it failed, and go back to throwing PotHeads in the slammer with increased public support.