Note: The following was submitted for publication. The author wishes to remain anonymous, out of concern for their own safety and that of their family. Portions have been redacted and certain personal details have been altered to protect the innocent—never mind the guilty, of whom you are about to read...
"Welcome to the 'New' Trinity County...Enter at your own risk."
So should read the signage placed along every major roadway coming into this once-beloved home to thousands of rural dwellers since Colonel Reading's celebrated discovery of gold along the banks of the Trinity River in the 1840's.
But now, replacing the gold fields as the hallmark of this county is a wholly different frontier—one that is evidenced by the proliferation of countless grow operations that have been the cause of such blights as seasonal vagrancy, recent spikes in criminal activity, devastating environmental damage, illegal water diversions and an inescapable pungent odor of freshly-grown cannabis around every street corner throughout the county right around the time of harvest season.
And that's not even the half of it. It's no wonder tourism is practically nonexistent now and property values here have plummeted, over and above the effects of the imploding housing market of the last few years, to name just a few of the extenuating problems. It's enough to make one long for a return to the good old days of Paraquat.
Yes, marijuana is what north state counties like Trinity—along with its Emerald Triangle sisters, Humboldt and Mendocino—are best known for. Not its majestic mountain landscapes, nor its mighty lakes and river—not even the quaint notion of being home to the last California county seat without a fixed stoplight. Now it's the pot climate here that's garnered the most attention. And what a sad development it is.
For those who don't know, the term "Emerald Triangle" is the nickname bestowed upon the three adjoining northern California counties with the most real estate devoted to, and heartiest output from, large scale, illegal pot grows, historically.
That's right. Nobody else in the U.S. of A cranks out the Mary Jane quite like we do. Such a proud heritage we have. Gives you goosebumps, doesn't it?
See, pot is to our region what diamonds are to Namibia, except for one key difference: Despite its reputation for putting in jeopardy the life and limb of millions of poor Africans over the years, the diamond industry actually has an honorable and esteemed legacy compared to one like ours—one whose claim to fame is nothing more than being responsible for destroying billions upon billions of human brain cells over time and causing widespread occurences of the munchies in stoners far and wide.
And yeah, just what we overfed Americans need: appetite stimulation.
Unfortunately, in terms of reportage by the news media about the growing problem, in all its many facets, the emphasis all along has been on the widespread pot gardens phenomenon and the periodic arrests of their caretakers—many of whom have been Mexican nationals who are sent here each season to harvest the crops—as well as on the futile, costly law enforcement campaigns that have centered on quashing their enterprise.
I say "unfortunately" because there's a whole other part of the pot culture—perhaps the most harmful aspect of all—that's being overlooked by the news reports.
And what might that be? Gee...I dunno. Maybe the actual frickin' pot culture itself?!...Hello?
While area journalists and TV news reporters have been busy covering the ever-metastasizing cannabis dispensaries in this state to a fair-thee-well, ignored in the process has been the core problem, the one that's been staring us in the face all along: rampant overuse of the drug itself, in a modern society that has increasingly allowed it, deemed it practically harmless, and even, on some levels, actively encouraged its use.
Or, to put it more "blunt"-ly: too damn many stoners! Somebody had to say it.
In addition, what we're now seeing is the uncomfortable reality about the many dangers of what was long thought-to-be, by some people, a (comparatively) innocuous substance, and how its new commonality in our society is evidencing some unexpectedly detrimental outcomes.
Simply put, it's all about the hypocrisy—as what's really at the heart of this. The personal users of the stuff, who for years have been, naturally, the most vocal proponents of legalization, are conveniently distancing themselves from the stigma created by the rapacious grow operations that are constantly sprouting up in the region—often being the most outspoken critics of the growers as the scourge on society that they are—while at the same time hypocritically patronizing local dealers with ties to these illegal harvests in order to score their own weed.
Well, news flash: You can't have it both ways, suckers. It looks like someone's chickens are finally coming home to roost.
It's true that our society at one time had a rather Puritanical and ill-informed way of viewing the herb—starting with the corny scare films of the 1930's, right up through the reactionary years of the Reagan Era.
We've definitely come a long way since then, in terms of our being somewhat better educated about marijuana's effect on the people who use it and its overall role in the world around us. But it's beginning to look like we may have overcorrected a bit, when it comes to how the drug is being presented today.
It started with the statewide passage of Proposition 215 back in the late '90s, and finally culminated with President Obama's declaration, in March, 2009, that The Feds would no longer prosecute small time marijuana violations. That one presidential directive was a huge gift to pot criminals everywhere, but especially for those in this state, as it opened the doors to forces that ultimately created the out-of-control conditions that have come to envisage the MJ establishment that we have going here today.
Largely as a result of these dual wrongheaded milestones, our society has effectively replaced the "Just Say No" approach to drugs with a "Just Do It" mentality of permissiveness. Like tattoos and smart phones, the new ubiquity of this particular "agent", to the fatigue of a growing number of citizens, including and most notably many former supporters of legalization, is undeniable.
And, thanks to these newly relaxed attitudes about pot, our culture has come to a place where the old libertarian maxim of "live and let live" now dominates.
That would be fine, except that along with the resulting malaise, throughout the course of events much misinformation about The Idiot's Weed has been disseminated, all of it coming from those who abuse the stuff almost daily.
In addressing the abusers, I'm not talking about the relative handful of medicinal users with demonstrable health issues and the accompanying pain levels that dictate their need for strong medication.
I am referring to all the self-deluded smokers, jokers and midnight tokers out there—the Party People, the "smoke-meisters", the so-called recreational users. (They know who they are.) Their own illusions used to justify their drug of choice over the years have, not surprisingly, come to be alloted the same weight in the public discourse on the subject as honest-to-goodness facts, thanks largely to their and their supporters' ongoing systematic campaign to commandeer the narrative about pot.
Some examples of their misguided, and largely manufactured, propaganda—designed not only to further the legalization cause, but as an attempt to legitimize their own lifestyle choices—include these timeworn bits of traditional pothead fiction, presented in italics, followed by the real facts about each:
"It comes from Mother Earth, which makes it pure/natural/organic. So it must be good for you."
Tobacco also comes from nature (and the number of potheads out there who are self-righteously anti-tobacco is really one of the greatest ironies, when you think about it). And so does cocaine. Neither of these substances is seen by health experts as "good for you" overall, despite each having demonstrable medicinal properties. Well, the same goes for marijuana. Just accept it.
"It's not harmful like tobacco because the cigarette companies have poisoned their product so much."
Studies have shown that pot smoke does every bit as much damage overall to the lungs and the human body as does smoking cigarettes. Why? Because the lungs are there to process oxygen, and nothing but oxygen. Therefore, all smoke is bad for the body, starting with, but not limited to, the respiratory system. Get it?
"Eating weed-laced baked goods instead of smoking pot eliminates any potential harm to the lungs."
Right. Which is not good news for the stomach lining and intestines, forced to process the harmful THC that's been proven equally detrimental to their functions over time.
"It relieves pain that conventional medications cannot. And it's been scientifically shown to have healing properties."
Lies. All lies. There are no reputable medical experts who will tell you that smoking pot can actually heal anyone of any malady. Period. And patients who experience such intense pain that drugs like Oxycontin can't handle are about a fraction of one percent of all pain sufferers. (It cracks me up the number of 22-year old "glaucoma patients" that have recently come out of the woodwork with their 215 scrips in hand. Liars!)
"My doctor prescribed it for me, therefore it's medically necessary to my health and well being."
Are you high?? Your doctor prescribed it because you PAID him/her for the prescription!
"The government is allowing it more and more, so it must be o.k. to use."
Think about it this way: The government wants you to be high, and as often as possible. That way, you're less likely to do dangerous things—like cast an informed vote, protest injustice or stop paying your taxes. Because, as the saying goes: On pot, nothing happens. So go on—have another toke, you determined rebel! You're so adorable.
"Unlike with hard drugs, people don't get addicted to marijuana."
Talk about magical thinking. The withdrawal symptoms of pot addicts might be less pronounced, compared to users of other Schedule I chemicals, but they're definitely present. The legion of vocal pot abusers who try to maintain a convenient separation between marijuana and all other illegal drugs should be dismissed as purveyors of wishful thinking. And as a special note to anyone who's been through rehab and has successfully overcome their dependence on one or more "hard drugs" but still embraces pot as the one substance remaining in their life, while using the "it's medicine" excuse to justify keeping it around: Y'all need to think seriously about re-upping for another 28 days. That N.A. oath that you swore to uphold—namely the part about remaining clean and sober—has done been broken. If you were to be completely honest with yourself you'd be on your way back to Horizons right now, or else be finished with the weed entirely. But then, being completely honest isn't exactly one of the drug addict's strong suits.
"The War On Drugs has failed. Legalization is the answer."
In fact, it has not "failed." Why? Because that "war" is still going on, like it or not. And those two statements are mutually exclusive anyway. Opposing legalization is not the same thing as supporting TWOD as we know it. It's true that prison reform is long-overdue in our country, but that issue runs deeper than the drug problem. And the whole anti-drugs movement could definitely use some "tweaking", no question. But to end it completely? Stupid and irresponsible. Any scenario where the full decriminalization of pot and/or other drugs were to become a reality is a dead zone for our society—totally uncharted territory. There's no telling what hell may be unleashed—in ways subtle and not so—by the sudden widespread availability of pot in legal form, after decades of being verboten. So why take chances? We simply don't know what solutions legalization will bring, if any, any more than we can know the full extent of the problems it will inevitably create. (But keep reading, as I touch on some of the latter shortly, all of which are appparent already!)
"Places like Amsterdam and Colorado have proven that legalization can work."
Hardly an honest comparison, in either case. The politics, culture and economy of the one city regarded as a worldwide pothead haven and hedonists' paradise for decades are nothing at all like those of any city, county or region in our country, right or wrong. So, unless you're ready to relocate to the chilly climes of northern Europe, you'll probably never get the chance to know what living in a true "Mecca-juana" is really like. (My guess: It's overrated). And as far as the Rocky Mountain State goes, the jury is still very much out. Experts agree that it's simply too soon to know all the ramifications of that state's recent decision to effectively legalize pot. Sure, proponents are hailing the new tax revenues, as expected. But others there are reporting some unforeseen complications already, like emergency room visits for drug overdoses in parts of their state increasing in large numbers and growing rates of drug abuse among teenagers. So what say we give the Colorado paragon a rest, o.k.? At least for another ten years or so. By then, maybe we'll know if that ticker tape parade, with Cheech and Chong as co-Grand Marshalls, will be in order. Or not.
"Alcohol kills (insert arbitrary figure here) people each year. Pot never killed anybody."
Specious argument. For one thing, we may never know conclusively how many people marijuana harms, and all the many ways it may be harming them, since comparative societal studies can't be done on a drug that's not completely legal and regulated, like alcohol and most mind-altering prescription drugs have been for years and years.
And for another, can we please stop the endless comparisons between booze and weed? They're both drugs, yes. But that's pretty much all that they have in common. It's really just apples and oranges, and pot people only look silly when they try to justify their reefer addiction by referencing Prohibition or citing the evils of alcohol—or, for that matter, junk food, and any of the other more socially-accepted bad habits/addictions we humans have come to embrace. Our moms were right all along: Two foolish wrongs really don't make a right.
A more accurate and honest comparison would be between drugs and guns in our society. But that's a discussion that no one among the hordes of abusers in America who've become dependent on either of these increasingly-popular vices is willing to have right now, unfortunately.
But unlike our nation's addiction to firearms, and like virtually all external mind-altering chemicals we ingest, legally or not, marijuana use destroys brain cells over time and changes the chemistry of the human brain irreversibly—even after only short-term use, and particularly during youthful phases of "experimentation", when the subject's nervous system is still in development.
These are scientifically proven facts that no legalization advocates have ever been able to refute. So they continue their desperate flailing in defense of their favorite herb by dancing around these and other inconvenient truths.
The brain-changing phenomena cited above are real, especially during the formative years, when kids' brain growth is at a critical stage, and at a time when young people are most likely to first try the stuff, making human minds and bodies susceptible to any number of problems—physical, psychological, physiological, etc.—throughout the user's life.
Here's an illustration for you: By the time you come to realize that the curse of grandma's chronic rheumatoid arthritis has been passed on to you, through genetic pre-disposition dating back generations within your family, the medical marijuana you'll no doubt be smoking, in an increasingly futile attempt to deal with crippling pain levels that will make hers look like child's play in comparison, having been exacerbated by your decision to smoke pot semi-regularly starting back in high school, thereby causing undue harm to your own nervous system and other bodily functions from that point on and setting the stage for this and who knows how many other health complications to dog you the rest of your life, will be an irony probably lost on you once you've reached her age, mainly because you'll be so out of it from your near-constant state of being high that no amount of reason or understanding will register in your fuzzy, chemically-battered and entirely unhealable brain...Please re-read that sentence.
Because drug use—pot included—is nothing more than self-inflicted brain damage, the impact of which does not go away after the user "comes down" from their high (or otherwise "gets their s**t together", as the saying goes), with the residual adverse effects on brain function often being subtle, marginal, gradual, but still measurable—and permanent—nonetheless.
As with seasoned prize fighters, who've learned this lesson the hard way, the brain never completely heals from any amount of abuse inflicted on it. That includes the damage that mind-altering drugs will do. Don't believe it? Just ask Dr. Drew Pinsky! Smart man, that Dr. Drew.
Is it any wonder that the recent over-prescribing of all the myriad "head meds" that so many of us Americans have become dependent on to get through our day only happened in earnest since the 1960's, along with the subsequent gradual introduction of marijuana into the mainstream of society? It's not a coincidence. Of course, there's no disputing that the advent of psychotropic drugs was the result of a better understanding by the medical community about how to treat psychological problems that have existed in humans for hundreds of years. But the heightened proliferation in recent times of these medications is due in large part to the fact that our brains have become demonstrably weaker over time—made so by the increase in recreational drug use that's even more common now than in past generations—and more vulnerable than ever before to the psychological stressors of life. Study after study of late has revealed a direct correlation between these paradigms by experts in the field of mental health. Interestingly, all of this also proves that marijuana is in fact a gateway drug after all, in a roundabout sort of way. Who knew? (Well, for starters, anyone with a modicum of common sense; that's who!)
It's funny to think that all the square-o authority figures who lectured us throughout our youth, with such hoary grown-up advice as "stay in school/respect authority/don't do drugs", were really not just a bunch of uptight and out-of-touch lame-o's, as we dismissed them at the time. Nor were they ogres out to control our lives, limit us in any way or deprive us of having fun. Turns out, they were actually on to something. It seems the oppressive overseers of our young lives were really looking out for us after all. Because they knew, from their own life experience, that the toll the aging process takes on our minds and bodies is bad enough, without us compounding those problems with alcohol, pot and other drugs. They were just trying to protect us, by arming us with some of the facts I've stated here.
Of course, there's no convincing the regular smokers of pot of any of these facts. Because, for them, along with the pleasurable high, the mild paranoia and the munchies, comes an overriding sense of delusion, especially about the user's self-image. It's inherent—just one of the more obvious symptoms of the brain damage. And it would be comical if it wasn't so pathetic.
Should you ever make the mistake of confronting a dyed-in-the-wool weed addict with any of these facts (which they will invariably dismiss as "propaganda"), you'll be swiftly labeled as "ignorant" (Definition: You have the temerity to disagree with them, these wisened scholars of alchemy and medicine), and advised by them to go and "do some research" (i.e. start reading all the pro-pot propaganda that they've been meticulously studying for years), so that you become properly "informed" (which means that you finally come to agree with their viewpoint unquestiongly), and to stop trying to "indoctrinate" them with your "disinformation"—Translation: "Quit harshing my buzz, leave me alone and let me get high as often as I wish."
These dopey dopers all need to put away their old back-issues of High Times and get their collective head out of their grass. One clue they'll never quite get is this little nugget: Research done inside a vacuum (or, in this case, a bong) yields only the information you're already predisposed to agree with. True fact!
I now view the most vocal cheerleaders for the legalization of any or all drugs—especially when they resort to their cache of false facts and empty rationalizations—as being on par with climate change deflectors, if not Holocaust deniers.
Because, as with the Nation of Islam, Scientology, the white supremacist movement in the United States, or any number of other organizations in America whose claimed raison d'etre is ostensibly positive, the cult that this particular group of adherents has signed up for, as a way of getting easy access to their party drug of choice, means going along with the same robotic repetitions of self-induced brainwashing involved in any pseudo-religious, but ultimately destructive, dogma, while hoping that anyone who has the misfortune of being subject to their unholy sermons about Pot Liberation In America might be dumb enough to believe it too.
These particular cult members—the Holy Joint-Rollers, I call them—are acting on faith even more than on practical knowledge when they spout their rehearsed, coached and scripted boilerplate monologues about societal betterment through the widespread availability of the "life-saving miracle drug" that is marijuana. What tripe. No clear-thinking person would fall for it.
Something else I've often wondered: Why is it that only MJ users seem to be in tune with all the many supposed benefits of hemp production? Would somebody please explain this one to me? If hemp is such a sensible and practical solution to (insert any number of life problems here), as well as being a potentially-profitable, job-creating mechanism, wouldn't all the wealthy business leaders and industrious capitalists out there have caught on by now, thus proceeding to get the laws changed to facilitate their ventures to exploit the crap out of it for the sake of profit long ago, as they've done since time immemorial with virtually every other natural resource you can name?
Answer: Hemp already had its day in the sun—like around 1742! And as a practical consumer product, it was pretty damn underwhelming, even in its day, which would explain hemp's short life span with all things that aren't rope and its unspectacular showing in the long history of earth-shattering discoveries, hence its near-extinct status everywhere but on the fringes of American culture today.
For the same reason that legal documents are no longer written on parchment paper, hemp has shown itself to be an outmoded, and largely irrelevant, means of producing virtually all the products that stoners have been touting over the years—from all that itchy, ugly-ass clothing they're churning out in somebody's basement somewhere, to wood products that are way too soft and structurally unsound to serve any real usable purpose. And don't even get me started on that horrid piss water known as hemp beer.
Far from being the MacGuffin in some age old conspiracy perpetrated by our government to suppress the benefits of this supposedly miraculous plant fiber-cum-wonder drug—as the plethora of ever-proliferating, 420 alarmist fantasies would have you believe—hemp is, in reality, nothing more than one big Panama Red-herring.
This is just another egregious example of pothead bull***t. Their desperate piggybacking on the hemp movement as a means of furthering the legalization cause has brought into question the integrity of the pro-pot people more than any other tactic. But again, there's no telling them that.
To me, it's really the intellectual dishonesty from within the pothead rank and file that consistently sinks them. They seem to be incapable of saying, "Look, I just like getting stoned. That's all it is." But no. These "royal 'high'nesses" and their few remaining apologists insist on continuing the lies used to justify their shameful dependencies. This fact alone should illustrate better than any other just how far the credibility of the pro-cannabis community has fallen. And deservedly so.
I would certainly have a great deal more respect for these people, even in their vain attempts to try to intellectualize their habits, if they could somehow bring themselves to tell the truth about their motives, and to stop falling back on the subterfuge. And yet, why people have this unquenchable need to try and dress up their worst behaviors as being something more than they actually are—effectively putting a cerebral frosting on a brain-dead cake—is, to me, one of the great mysteries of life. Just admit it, stoners: It's all about the party, nothing more. Go on. Say it.
Another thing I find hilarious is how so many hardcore cannabis fans are so well-versed in the art and science of small-scale pot grows, including all the highly-detailed technical knowhow that goes along with the sativa cultivation process from beginning to end. Because if the slacker stereotype pertaining to the pot lover has any resonance—and it does—we all understand that dedicated stoners are generally not particularly talented in any one area of life—Jacks (and Jills) of all trades, masters of none, as the old saying goes.
The exception to this rule seems to be how so many potheads-slash-self-styled-herbalists are practically endowed with Ph.D's in Botany when it comes to working their personal harvests. These self-taught Doctors of Marijuanology can tell you everything there is to know about the exact science of greenhouse operations—right down to the life cycle of the female bud—but next to nothing about much of anything else. They're so adorable.
THE POLITICS OF THE LEAF
Being a lifelong Californian myself, and a longtime resident of "The Northern Third", I for one have grown sick-to-bleeping death of this whole crappy mess, quite frankly. And no, I'm not talking about the shoddy performance of our state and county political NON-leadership of late, on this and way too many other issues.
For once we citizens have a whole new maelstrom of nonsense to contend with here, in this erstwhile Shangri-La, a region long renowned for its serenity and natural beauty, qualities which have noticeably diminished in recent years. And it's all thanks to the ever-(d)evolving pot climate in the north state, and beyond.
Full disclosure: As a left-leaning Democrat (though not always proud to admit it), I've supported most of the progressive candidates and liberal positions on political issues too numerous to mention, and still do. And all the arguments in favor of legalization—or decriminalization, at the very least—of drugs, I've been on board with for most of my adult life.
That is, until now. Talk about burn out! At this point, I may as well be a Fox News pundit as far as the whole drugs thing is concerned. After all, why get all worked up over the War On Drugs when there's a War On Christmas going on?
All joking aside, another thing I've come to resent is how so many of my fellow self-professed liberals desperately try to link the pro-legalization movement—and in particular, medical marijuana advocacy—with progressive politics, thereby attempting to marginalize people like me as hard-hearted conservatives while painting themselves as compassionate advocates for the sick and dying in society.
Horse s**t! Potheads, like all drug addicts, care mainly about one thing: how long before they can get high again. There's nothing progressive about wanton drug abuse. Libertarian, perhaps. But the lion's share of the northern California lefties I've met are libertarian only as far as their personal pot stash goes; most don't really give a crap about any of YOUR personal liberties, unless you happen to be their supplier, or one of their bud's who's passing them the joint right now. The drug addict's pitiful pursuit of The High is just one of the more deplorable aspects of addiction. And no one with a conscience should be politicizing it.
Here's a clue: When your personal outlook on politics hinges even partly on your own chemical dependencies, and your political vision has become so clouded by the smoky haze of denial in which you find yourself living, that you'll use any sociological justification as an excuse to get high, then there's only one word for people like you: poseurs...Wait, here's another word: assholes.
It's bad enough that we in society have been forced to deal with the exponentially growing numbers of crazies walking amongst us, in all their many forms. Then, here you have this equally demented segment consisting of untold numbers of misguided individuals who are consciously bringing about their own brand of self-inflicted craziness, via recreational drug use/abuse, while disingenuously branding it as medicine, recreation or quality of life issues. Disgraceful!
I am so very finished with the chemically-enhanced people and all their BS. Will all the high, drunk, stoned, wired, wasted, loaded, impaired, inebriated, intoxicated and otherwise out-of-it members of society please kindly go away? Far away. And don't forget the (high) horse you rode in on. To hell with the entire lot of you!
That includes all the man-bunned Shaggy-from-Scooby Doo slackers and their rasta-haired waif girlfriends—the kind who populate the aisles of every Trader Joe's you've ever shopped at—the Woodstock-era geezers, the weird-bearded old dudes and the fright-wigged hags who bring their pot brownies to each and every Farmers Market, and pretty much the entire population of Eugene, Oregon. Yes, all these Burning Mans and Tribal Stompers and Rainbow Peoples need to be gone, like, yesterday, man!
Why the hate? Because in recent years I've seen that on this one issue the conservatives might have actually gotten it right—though probably for reasons other than the ones they've been using all along to argue their point. Simply stated, opposition to drug legalization isn't just for old people anymore. And not just because many of the old people are also high these days. (Quick joke: What do you call someone over 35 who still smokes pot? Stonehenge!)
Because it's not an issue of morality after all, as we've been told by the right for decades. It's really about, well, almost everything else. From crime to the environment. From education to the economy. The recent, what amounts to, wholesale semi-decriminalization of this drug, marijuana, that we've witnessed in this part of the country at least, and its growing acceptance in society as a whole, has proven to be detrimental in all these areas, and others as well.
In fact, all the many ways this evil cluster-screw of a drugs problem has manifested itself may not be fully understood for years to come. But there's no doubt that we've seen ample evidence of its hellishly rapacious legacy already, even this relatively early in the game.
How, you might ask? Sorry, there's not enough column inches to go into it here. But I would invite everyone to research this issue online—both sides of the debate, I mean, and not just the propaganda-laden web pages you happen to agree with. (One of the better-informed and more balanced websites I've found is Smart Approaches to Marijuana: www.learnaboutsam.org)
Weighing all points, any objective study will reveal, by a preponderance of the evidence, just how harmful that pot, the arguably least harmful of all illegal drugs, really is, and that any positive outcomes that might be evidenced from the "legitimizing" of any drugs via legalization would be outweighed by the crap storm to follow.
And it has taken this, the New Pot Zeitgeist, if you will, that's happening mainly in the western United States, to bear this out.
Case in point: Does anybody really believe that this bizarre new phenomenon we're witnessing now, where growing hordes of nomadic, ostensibly homeless meth addicts—commonly referred to as "tweakers"—are seen roaming the streets of every medium-to-large-sized town in northern California at all hours of the day and night—camping out, harassing locals, committing crimes, panhandling, among other things—has nothing at all to do with the 420 climate we have here now?
These ain't peace-loving hippies, people! What they are, many of them, are seasonal "trimmers", itinerant vagrants who work the pot fields every fall, and have nowhere to go outside of harvest time.
Thus serving as one Acapulco Gold-en example, among dozens, to show how this empty-headed revolution has already failed us as a society, with no sign of letting up.
All the while, the perpetrators of this fraud are actively moving toward a further unshackling of the legal constraints on them by seeking changes to laws that were put in place to protect us from them.
In so doing, all these rampaging "crop-ortunists" of the north state have redefined homelessness as we know it and single-handedly changed the face of poverty—an age old social problem once dominated by the traditional hobo character, an iconic symbol that helped define America's lower classes starting in the Great Depression—through the introduction and replication of this new breed of meth zombie occupying our streets today.
And, keep in mind that one thing the roving field laborers/crank addicts that this backwards system created all have in common is that they all got high on pot long before they got into the harder stuff, you have to know.
No, not that weed automatically leads to hard drugs. Of course not. But statistics have shown—and common sense will tell you—that even if marijuana is not a gateway drug for young people, it definitely becomes, over time, a potential stepping stone drug for the users who smoke it regularly.
Don't believe it? Then ask the experts, like those who've developed an addiction to harder drugs themselves since they first got high on pot in their teens. They're not too hard to find; trust me.
It's pretty well true, the old stereotype, that druggies tend to have a certain look about them, hard as they may try to hide it. Funny thing is, not all potheads look like Willie Nelson or Snoop Dogg. But that doesn't mean they can't be spotted in a crowd, despite their best efforts to blend in.
In the mold of prominent closet tokers like Carl Sagan or Mike Wallace, there are actually more than a few buttoned-down intellectual types out there—remnants from the college crowd, for example—who indulge in the green stuff on a regular basis, but who don't really fit the stoner suit. They claim it helps them "focus", or something...Uh huh. (Insert rude masturbatory hand gesture here)
Just the other day, the spouse and I had some tax business done, and the tax preparer, a seemingly astute and professional fellow, was, quite clearly, high as a flippin' kite, and doing his level best to play it down! Yet despite his clean-cut exterior, you could still see it—all the telltale signs of a head shop regular, right down to his watery little rabbit eyes. All the while, he really thought he was getting away with something; you could tell.
Many stone heads young and old wear their outward cannabis-fueled slovenliness with a certain amount of pride, even a sense of defiance. You gotta admire their moxie, childish as that type of attitude may be, and especially creepy in older tokers.
But clowns like this guy, who in fact shower and put on clean clothes every day, then actually go out and work respectable jobs for a living—the "functioning weedsters" if you will, of our society—honestly believe they're pulling one over on the squares of the world. As if we of the non-inhaling tribes can't spot their tells a mile away. They're so adorable.
Which is a whole other phenomenon in and of itself: Now, more than ever, people are actually going to work high! And in ever-increasing numbers. These Walking Deadheads of the labor force are serving you your food, working on your car, checking your purchases at Wal-Mart (verrry slowly!)—even doing your taxes.
And, now that their old party drug has gotten, to some extent, the official blessing of government, and is being viewed more and more as "medicine" by our permissive society, folks who once routinely popped aspirin are now lighting up for their minor pain relief, while at work nearly as often as they do in private.
I can't see how this is a good thing, quite frankly. The THC in pot is fast becoming the new caffeine. Employers may as well start saying goodbye to workplace productivity! Before long, the guy driving your bus will be doing so in an altered state of consciousness, if it isn't happening already.
I'm seeing them everywhere, these unapologetically stoned servants of the public good, in all their surly, green-fingered splendor. It's gotten to the point where the phrase, "You want fries with that?" has been replaced by, "Uh, I totally spaced on your order, dude. You said Big Mac, right?"
Yes, there are the standardized pee tests meant to "weed out" the druggies and preclude them from doing government work. But as many public employees know all too well, a little personal prepping and a quick trip to the local GNC can buy you a chemically-assisted way around those pesky little exams with relative ease.
So, who's to blame for all this? Well, I'm afraid the members of the Baby Boom generation will have to take their lumps here. The hippies of the 1960s may have had the right idea with their various humanitarian-themed campaigns: opposition to war, environmental causes, gender equality and scores of other movements designed to make ours a better society. Then, they had to go and throw drugs into the mix.
Why on earth would anyone filled with bright ideas for a utopian society of the future proceed to completely nullify all that inspiration by knowingly inflicting brain damage upon themselves by way of drug experimentation? And then go on to promote it as a mind-expanding path to enlightenment, or something. Foolish.
And sad. Considering that pot freedom was the one cause, not withstanding all of their generation's good ideas and well-meant societal goals, that's gained the most momentum over the decades.
Oh, they turned on and tuned in, all right. Now if only they'd fess up. Admit that the pro-drugs revolution failed long ago, Cry-baby Boomers, and take responsibility for its repercussions once and for all.
And thanks a lot, Timothy Leary. Such a legacy that man has left us. I can only hope that instead of blasting that insane SOB's remains into space, as he requested, someone got wise and buried them where they rightly belong: deep inside some diseased landfill near the outer slums of Bangladesh.
Today, with politicians from all branches of government—federal, state, and in particular, our own county supervisors—regularly dropping the ball on the issue of regulating the out-of-control pot grows that are happening far and wide throughout the north state, stalwart citizens everywhere are uniting to take on the evildoers in a more direct fashion—targeting not just the flood of upstart cannabis farmers that have been moving into the region like Okies flocking to the Gold Rush, but the "homegrowns" as well: longtime residents whose old, once-hidden personal grows have been expanded and brought out into the open in this newer, safer (for them...or so they think!) environment of Anything Goes.
The latter group has been among the most vocal of the "Canna-bastards" who regularly populate our Board of Supervisors' meetings to shout down anyone who dares complain about the odious effects of their operations. Area natives whose families have been here for generations are routinely told to "move, then" if they don't like the sickening stench of the shitweed that permeates their once-fresh smelling mountain air, or that their private water supplies are being diverted by the enterprising criminals, or when serious erosion on their land is discovered coming from the illegal dumping of grow chemicals, de-valuing properties and polluting ground water. The Green Revolution is at hand, lifelong citizens are being reminded constantly by the ballsy bad guys. So just deal with it, seems to be the dictate.
"Deal with this, scumbags", is the answer many victimized residents are banding together to deliver to the criminals responsible for the destruction. "They (the growers) think this is the Wild West all over again", one neighbor recently explained to me. "They come here with this sense of entitlement, like they own the place. They think that because a couple of laws were passed by some of our s**t-for-brains politicians, that these half-assed farmers now have license to run roughshod here, and trample on our rights as citizens. Northern California ain't what it used to be, mainly because of all the pot people. They act like Prop 215 is their 2nd Amendment: a fundamental right to do whatever the hell they please, with no consequences." Ironically, the neighbor and his wife, longtime gun control advocates both, are now firearms owners for the first time in their lives. "We can't take a hike in the woods near our home without fear of being confronted by these trash, or attacked by their dogs. All around our property, we take a gun with us everywhere we walk now. It's sickening."
While our esteemed public servants in county government, who effectively sat on their hands for years on the subject, are only now acting—oftentimes by kowtowing to the bully pot farmers, no less—a number of fed up ordinary Joes and Janes have taken matters into their own hands, as a means of effecting some kind of solution. If their regular phone calls to public agencies set up to put pressure on such lawbreakers don't do the trick, reports of vigilante justice have been noted.
A few such pissed off locals have engaged in clandestine acts of sabotage against some of the more rapacious grow operations in and around their neighborhoods by way of (redacted) and other targeted actions. Small, mysterious-in-origin crop fires have also been sighted among the known grow areas. And that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the vast array of anti-cannabis methods that are being employed by citizens everywhere. There's also the daily crop surveillance by camera drones, the chemical poisoning of pot plants (frequently involving nothing more than a panoply of home-brewed herbicides made up of vinegar, rock salt and any number of household solvents, all repurposed to suit the cause), the systematic interruption of water supply lines, repeated acts of (redacted) against the individual farmers themselves, the introduction of "male" plants to the crop areas, and so on. These are just a few of the subversive tactics that have come to light. One local Robin Hood even went so far as to (redacted) until the punks finally gave up and moved to another location.
Such seemingly random acts of Frontier Justice, designed to undermine the spread of these unbridled cultivation projects—while technically illegal in their own right, oftentimes—have either gone unreported, for obvious reasons, or have been largely met with a blind eye by area law enforcement personnel whose agencies have been saddled by budget constraints and understaffing issues that limit their ability to adequately police the forests, but who also share their fellow residents' frustrations over crime rates in the area nearing an all time high, which they also see as one of the many residual effects of this newly-revitalized industry of pot production now rampant in various parts of northern California. In the process, these ever-vigilant, intrepid citizens have succeeded in providing the obnoxious growers a taste of their own medicine; no pun intended. "More power to them", in the words of my neighbor. "It's time to take our county back."
As yet another statewide proposition aimed at legalizing pot has, as of this writing, made it onto the November ballot, some people in this state are now predicting that the full decriminalization of marijuana, and possibly other drugs as well, will be a reality within the next two years, perhaps sooner.
Words to the wise: Should such a scenario ever begin to develop, and an even broader climate of libertine pot freedom were to appear on the horizon, conscientious homeowners in this part of the country would be well advised to get their properties on the market A.S.A.P., and then to start seeking out some LESS greener pastures, if you will.
Because if you think the heightened crime rate in your neighborhood is staggering, and the whole peaceful-serenity-of-country-living thing you envisioned when you moved here has pretty well vanished, and the overall quality of life in the area is very much on the endangered list, you'd be right. But then just wait till the criminals are given a brand new incentive to burglarize your doublewide, rob you at gunpoint, steal your car and max out your credit cards.
Oh, you weren't fooled into thinking the newly-legal drugs would be any cheaper than they are now, were you? More plentiful, sure. But do you really think our government is about to forgo all that profit, in the form of future sales tax, by lowering the pre-existing price per gram that users have become acclimated to by now? Well, think again.
And all the freshly-ordained and newly-emboldened junkies that are bound to come out of the woodwork, incentivized by the government's full stamp of approval on these chemicals, will need a way to fund their burgeoning, ever-expensive addictions.
So be ready, citizens and property owners everywhere, to, in the words of J. Montgomery Burns, "Release the hounds."
And by the way, anyone who believes that marijuana production will somehow become this organic, artisinal network of backyard growers and community co-ops under the new system will have a rude awakening when they see how quickly Big Pot moves in and takes over the industry, with an absolute maximum of governmental regulations on all entities who are NOT major corporations, you can be sure—thereby eliminating any of that pesky, "mom and pop" competition, the kind that only gets in the way of the rampaging corporate interests in their crusade for industry dominance. Just ask any of the small-scale, "family farm" tobacco producers back east how they've fared going up against Phillip Morris. All the champions of pot freedom around these parts could learn a lot from history. Don't worry; they won't.
The answer? My proposal is we strongly consider the re-criminalization of marijuana NOW! That's right. It's time to start reinforcing existing drug laws pertaining to pot—even create new ones, as necessary—and to effectively UN-legalize this crap. Yes, including the medicinal variety.
I can just hear the deflectors now: "What? How can you condemn terminally ill patients to a lifetime of pain?"
Think back. The painiacs of the world got by pretty well without their pot scrips back in the day, with only very rare exception. It wasn't that long ago that we've somehow forgotten this. And most of those chronic sufferers who qualified as extreme medical cases could always get, from their primary care physician, the pot that comes in pill form, along with a plethora of coma-inducing sleep aids, muscle relaxers and other pain meds that have long been a staple of households everywhere, thanks to our friends at Big Pharma.
Fact is, the reefer prescriptions really aren't all that necessary, as it turns out, for most of those who now possess them. 'Tis a bitter pill, I know, ganja fans. But just give it a moment to kick in.
Rather, could it be that we were all somehow duped by a legion of recreational pot smokers who cynically rode the coattails of the terminally ill—those few American citizens who genuinely, and desperately, needed pain relief they were only getting marginally from conventional pharmaceuticals—so that they, the shameless potheads, might finally realize their lifelong dream of cheaper and more plentiful supplies of their favorite party drug to feed their own selfish dependencies?
Well, it seems the short answer is 'yes.' Which is not cool. And definitely NOT adorable.
Look, it's not too late. We've only gotten about midway along the whole misguided legalization track. Now is the time to start turning back. Before we really come to regret it.
Picture this: The state courts could act to freeze Prop 215, citing public health concerns, as one example, until a new ballot measure could be introduced, allowing voters to reconsider their erroneous, misinformed decision from 1996; our fatigued-but-now-wiser electorate have become decidedly less in favor of it by now, you can be sure.
And, the president could be deluged with petitions from the public to start enforcing federal law vis-a-vis marijuana once again. No prison sentences—just crackdowns, confiscations, fines—all the old school niggling harrassments by The Man to make pot peddling a pain in the ass once again, especially for all the newbie criminals that have sprung up in recent times, many of whom have been laughingly claiming dispensary status to justify their activities.
That single action would cause all these obnoxious, night-blinding, pit bull-guarded, pot-stinking eyesore backyard grows that are polluting many of our north state neighborhoods and driving down property values to dry up overnight. Think about it.
It's really that simple. And it'll be good. You'll see...Well, we can dream, can't we?
Come on. You think the whole bull***t pot culture here sucks now? Just wait till Brown & Williamson starts buying up the thousands of acres of green fields in Trinity County that have NOT been charred by wildfires, and turns this place into the next government-sanctioned, Malaysian-style slave labor camp/pot production system for a nation of weed heads too high to care anymore.
Then, the government will inevitably tax the stink out of the product while corporations like RJR start injecting as many or more addiction-causing toxins into their new pot joints as their regular cigarettes already have. If anyone thinks the weed ain't addictive now, just wait.
Because, at the end of the day, what it all means is the whole full-of-s**t pot freedom movement, led by the insufferably self-absorbed stoners in this region, will, in actual fact, be nothing more than a huge gift handed over to the government and Corporate America yet again.
Is that really what you want? Then keep it up, geniuses.
As for me, I plan to continue the fight to promote and defend the drugs freedom revolution that's taking place in America—which is, let me be clear, not the freedom for people to do drugs, but the freedom FROM drugs in society. It's a worthwhile goal. And I'm definitely in this for the long haul.
See, realistic or not, much like debt freedom, drugs freedom is nothing more than ridding yourself of something that's really, really bad. And that's always a good thing. Got it?
Or maybe I'm just living in a haze to think we can still do something about it.
Well, at least I'm not alone with the whole 'living in a haze' thing.
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