Cali Crazy: A Texan’s take on the Golden State–part 7–Cali cannabis kookiness

cannabis

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 to the county. Hundreds, he says. This from a poser 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 farming. “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?

Sick spliff

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 evenmore 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.

Cali Crazy: A Texan’s take on the Golden State—part 5—Making us better citizens: one lightbulb and gun law at a time

citizens

I’ve noticed something about California lawmakers: They don’t trust us citizens to be good people on our own. So they create laws to help us become better people … with their help.

As a doofus Texan, do I need the enlightened folks in Sacramento to help me be a better person? Nope. When it comes to lightbulbs and handguns, I need a nanny state like I need a hole in the head.

Take the legislative push to help Californians use less energy, for instance. If you add floodlights to the outside of your home, by law they must have motion sensors that kick them on when the neighbor’s cat triggers them at 3 a.m.

Why can’t you just leave them turned off when you go to bed, you ask? Because this is much too commonsensical. You see most Californians can’t be trusted to turn off their floodlights before turning in.

The folks in Sacramento know this right well, which is why they created a law to help mitigate our thoughtlessness.

However, if you buy newer, more efficient LED floodlights, you don’t need a motion sensor built in. It’s kind of a carrot, you see—do the right thing, and buy an energy efficient LED floodlight, and it doesn’t matter that you’re still likely to leave your floodlight on. This way, thoughtlessly burning it all night uses much less energy.

I have LEDs because they use a fraction of the energy fluorescents and incandescents use. It’s smart and cheaper. Do I need a law to be wise and thrifty? Do you?

Guns Guns GUNS!

The handling of the “gun issue” in California is the mother of all efforts to make us citizens better people. And here’s an irony—once a part of the Old West where saloon disputes were solved with revolvers on main street, California has become an overprotective, hyper-legislative wuss of a state.

Texas is the rootinest tootinest shootinest hombre east and north of the Rio Grande. And for some reason, I take a heap of pride in this distinction. Mostly for this reason—through all its bluster, Texas runs on common sense.

Funny thing is that for years as a Texas resident, I didn’t give a hoot about owning a gun. But after moving to California and experiencing the angst and annoyance many Northern Californians felt during the Obama years, I now exercise my Second Amendment rights with grit and gusto.

You see when a silly pseudo-Old West state like California tries to force itself on me for my own protection, I’m likely to protect myself from it. It’s called Freedom, and it’s mighty scarce ’round here.

A matter of trust

It all boils down to this: California lawmakers, many of them hailing from the Northeast either directly or one or two generations removed, don’t trust their citizens—or anyone for that matter—to do the right thing. This goes for energy use and for self and/or property protection.

In the case of firearms, these Yankee know-it-alls think California citizens don’t need those dangerous, treacherous things. Do you know how many people guns kill people in California annually? A big, fat zero. Criminals kill people…with guns.

Not sure the folks in “Sac” as they call the Cali capitol ’round here understand something elementary about guns: They need a finger to trigger them. Otherwise, they’re just pieces of steel or alloy. And limiting their magazines to 10 rounds won’t do a thing.

You see, it’s not like bad people are gonna abide by the law and make sure their magazines are legal capacity. They don’t follow the rules in getting weapons; why would they give two shakes about a 10-round magazine limit?

Logical state: Criminals will always have and use guns.
Logical measure: Allow more good guys and girls to have guns.
Logical conclusion: Good can more effectively combat evil.

Update: Well, what do you know? This happened in Texas on Wednesday, May 3, 2017—just three days before this post: 

Police: ‘Good Samaritan’ kills active shooter in Texas sports bar

Good guy with gun stops bad guy with gun and saves others.
Yeehaw!

Trusting citizens

In the rare instance a background-checked and trained conceal carry licensed citizen can use his or her weapon to protect others and him or herself, the 10-round limit gives the criminal the advantage in a firefight.

Here’s an idea: Instead of forcing citizens to carry more magazines (which negates concealment, by the way), why not let conceal carry permit holders use magazines that hold as many rounds as the handgun can manage?

Level the playing field between good guy and bad guy, right? Common sense? Nope.

California lawmakers don’t consider this commonsensical; they think it’s dangerous. Why? The answer brings us back to an earlier point: If they don’t trust us to turn off floodlights, why would they trust us with guns?

The truth is they would like to forbid gun ownership in California … period. It’s that simple. They think citizens who want to own and use guns shouldn’t.

Their legislative message is this: Don’t be a right-wing, gun-crazy nutjob. That’s what Texans are for.

Cali Crazy: A Texan’s take on the Golden State—part 4—Speed humps, crosswalks and men at work

Californians

The way Californians see traffic and pedestrians is a funny thing. It’s like the way they look at guns and people—instead of teaching humans to handle cars and firearms with care and common sense, they discriminate against the very things that can’t learn a thing—vehicles.

Take this crosswalk conundrum, for instance. What makes more sense—requiring a driver to stop a 7,000-plus pound pickup truck for a lone pedestrian waiting at a crosswalk or for the pedestrian to wait ’til the coast is clear and cross without the danger of another driver in the far lane running ’em over?

It’s about momentum … and physics

Is it me, or don’t it seem like human nature to wanna keep the momentum going in a vehicle rather than stopping for someone who should have sense enough to cross when it’s safe? Humans can stop on a dime, but vehicles take a lot more coin to come to a halt.

By now, you where this is going … things are done a whole lot different in Texas.

It’s more like the Old West there than it is in the Old West here. Texans decide for themselves when to cross the road based on their trusty eyeballs. In California, people rely on laws that establish bipedal supremacy instead of using their noggins.

Californians

Speed humps? Follow me, Californians.

Then there are these silly California “speed humps.” Speed humps? Those are what you see at a dog park. Where I come from, speed humps are called speed BUMPS. But either way, they’re just as annoying. These pesky little mounds of asphalt not only slow you down, they really exercise your pedal patience.

In Texas, you might find a couple of ’em in a strip mall parking lot. But in some parts of California, they’re placed every 30 feet or so. I dunno—maybe the powers that be think the more you annoy drivers, the safer they drive.

And then you got the “Follow Me” escort trucks that state lawmakers think are necessary to “Pilot” people safely past men (and women) at work on roads, bridges and, in the Sierra Nevada, piles of fallen rock. Here’s a Texas tip—use a few traffic cones and put the guys or girls holding STOP signs to work to make things go faster.

Californians
I can see this road work system making sense on two-lane roads, but they seem to employ it for just about any road. And most times, there are four or five workers loitering around watching two people do the work, anyways. They must be unionized.

Too much of a good thing

Public safety is paramount around here. It takes precedence over—like so many other things in California—good sense and personal responsibility. Maybe this stuff is another way the smart folks in Sacramento protect us from ourselves.

Where I come from, people protect themselves by making smart pedestrian and traffic decisions. It’s like how we teach our kids: “Wait ’til there are no cars comin’, Tommy, then cross the road.” The only laws we need are the laws of physics—big, heavy machines take a lot longer to stop than itty-bitty people.

So, let ’em blow by, and go when it’s clear.