The little ol’ California county I now call home is neck-deep in controversy concerning the wacky weed. And the way I see it, the hubbub is entirely self-inflicted—like what happens when a city slicker monkeys around with a gun and shoots his dumb self in the foot.
How we got here
Because California lawmakers saw fit to legalize recreational marijuana last November, counties have until January 1, 2018 to wrangle their own cannabis ordinances in order to regulate the stuff before the state steps in and regulates it for ’em. It’s all about local versus state control. And from what I’ve seen around here, California counties need all the control they can get.
Anyways, our local county government, made up of five “supervisors” began the ordinance crafting process in good time and in good order in September of 2016. Problem is that after soliciting applications for folks to be on their “Cannabis Working Group,” the supervisors settled for five people, four of whom are growers.
Poisoning the pot
And to top it off, our supervisors defend their lopsided group by pointing out that their application process was open to folks of all marijuana persuasions—yea or nay. They say that it’s not their fault that only potheads signed on. Now why do you suppose that happened?
Is it because normal everyday folks are kinda busy … I don’t know, working jobs, taking care of their youngsters and generally going about their lives? And that maybe, just maybe, those who love weed and claim it cures cancer and wanna sell it for big bucks were locked and loaded and ready to jump right in?
Hey, there, supervisors—let’s leave off the blame dodging and butt covering and take responsibility—Texas style. Y’all were elected to come up with ordinances for all issues your county will face. Don’t shift blame; do your dang jobs.
Deciding whether to allow cannabis cultivation, dope dispensaries and everything else unleashed on us by the knuckleheads in Sacramento in our county is your responsibility. If you wanna kick the work to a working group, that’s on you. But make sure you do it right by balancing the representation. And a working group with four marijuana growers and one wanting to grow, ain’t balanced.
Duped by dopers
In fact, it’s a bit like signing up a bunch of foxes to design a hen house. And the whole silly show has played out just about like you’d expect. The working group shot for the moon by writing virtually everything they could ever want into a pipe dream of a pot ordinance only to shoot themselves in the foot with their greed, arrogance … and incompetence.
And then they couldn’t see through the smoke to realize they woke up the bear ’til it was too late. The opposition formed, letters and emails flooded the supervisors’ mailboxes, and the local paper began printing opinion pieces from citizens who DO NOT want commercial cannabis cultivation in their county. Same goes for dope dispensaries.
And then there’s this wannabe rancher/farmer who keeps harping about all the jobs commercial cannabis is gonna bring into the county. Hundreds, he says. This from a rustler who’s got a reputation for cheating investors and lobbing lawsuits. At the cannabis meetings, he goes on and on about pot plants being nothing but agriculture. “It’s just agriculture,” he mutters when things look like they aren’t going his way.
Mister, marijuana ain’t tomatoes. And you know it.
Working group ain’t working
So here we are with less than three months to go and no ordinance. And the supervisors and their working group have been “working” on the silly thing for over a year now. And this while most other California counties have either passed theirs or passed moratoriums to give them more time.
So, now the next step is a “public hearing” where people—yea or nay—can tell the supervisors why we should or shouldn’t vote on a moratorium and why commercial cannabis should or shouldn’t be banned in our county. This is when the growers will again go on about how they want to come out of the shadows and get all legal and regulated. And that if the supervisors pass a moratorium or ban commercial growing, they’ll be “forced” to grow illegally in order to feed their families.
Hey, grower—no one forces anyone to break the law. You could always do something else to feed your family. You know, a career choice that doesn’t allow you to work the system and grow up to 99 “medical” marijuana plants because some shady doctor prescribed that many to a patient. How about getting a gig in which you need not be a “caregiver” who supplies sick folks with weed?
Now, lemme say right here and now—I’m not against genuinely sick people using pot to help them get through chemotherapy and deal with the ravages of other diseases and conditions. What I AM saying is that medical marijuana, granted by California way back in 1996 and refined legislatively since, has been and is being abused like it’s nobody’s business. And, caregiver—you know this good and well.
Now some of you growers may truly care about sick folks. And maybe your hearts are in the right place on this issue. But c’mon, now—prove it to me and to your county by obeying the law and being realistic and sensitive to your neighbors concerning this high-stakes issue.
Go ahead and keep growing your medical weed. But be sure to keep the stinky commercial grows outta this beautiful county. Folks here love the clean, non-diverted lakes, rivers and streams and the piney, fresh air.
They don’t want more crime, more joblessness, more environmental damage, more dead wildlife from poisons, guard dogs, ugly fences, private security and transient and seasonal weed workers. And they don’t want marijuana even more accessible to their youngsters with dope dispensaries on main street.
I gotta admit it—I love this nutty, crazy county. And I want it to stay the way it is—or maybe even get better. No commercial cannabis would go a long way to that end—says this California cowboy.