Pubdate: Wed, 04 Mar 2009
Source: Arcata Eye (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Arcata Eye
Author: Kevin L. Hoover
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


It's as though eight years in, the 21st century has finally begun. Of
course we need sustainable energy. Of course we need an equitable tax
policy. Of course we need a logical model for health care. And
transportation, and the environment, and education, and agriculture,
and the economy. Of course.

All the pent-up obsolescence of the old ways is finally collapsing,
and the more changey things get, the more popular our new president

That change may include the demise of Reefer Madness as we know it,
and we know it all too well in Arcata.

When I interviewed deputy drug "czar" Scott Burns last year, I was
flabbergasted at the tragicomically superstitious state of his
beliefs. This beltway Bushie's retrograde rhetoric was infuriating,
since the ignorant and counterproductive federal pot policies have
been mainly served as price-support program for the illegal cannabis

The government's unimaginably stupid approach to this particular drug
may finally be ending, 50 years after it should have.

First, the U.S. attorney general has signaled an end to raids on
medical cannabis facilities, most of which are just marijuana stores.
But the proprietors' relief could be short-lived, because the
old-school paradigm that kept the profit in the faux-medical cannabis
establishment may be on its way out as well.

A serious move is afoot in the State Assembly to legalize cannabis,
and it might, just might finally  rescue us from the cockamamie
patchwork of legacy laws that's distorting and degrading our community.

If legalization comes to pass, it will be as much because the
government needs the tax revenue as any notion of logic or
fairness.They need the money, so now we see the prohibition beginning
to crumble.

It will be just excellent to see the entrenched gray-market medical
cannabis industry try to fight reform and keep the big bucks flowing.
Watch their whole sham schema - the fake clinics, the Dr. Feelgoods,
the for-profit 215 grows - evaporate once cannabis is legal.

Meanwhile, the first wave of grow house busts came down last week. And
now that APD is set up for it, there will be more. Those who, lured by
large, tax-free dollars, ruin residences, endanger Arcata
neighborhoods and gamble their and their families' futures on lax law
enforcement now have to worry about not whether, but when the cops
will come charging in.

The era of Arcata as grow house sanctuary is over, and last week's
raids are already changing the game. Homes which have had been
internally shuttered for years suddenly have open windows, with
non-halide light shining out. One has a new "FOR RENT" sign on it.
Maybe an actual family will move in and enroll their kids in one of
our depopulated elementary schools.

It's fairly safe to assume that the government will get legalization
wrong on some levels, but one thing we ought to insist on is that
those with medical need and others who want to grow on a sensible
scale (no whole-house conversions) for casual personal use are allowed
to do so, just as some people make delectable beer and wine at home.

Part of the romance of Arcata is its counterculture, which is
undeniably cannabis tinged. But the recent profit-driven saturation,
involving wholesale transformation of the town into a marijuana
monoculture, is anything but healthy for Arcata, its people and other
living things.

Everything from our greenhouse gas output to solid waste diversion
efforts to availability of housing has been heavily impacted, mostly
off the books and without public process.

Cannabis craziness has pitted neighbor against neighbor, corrupted
property managers, criminalized entrepreneuers, ruined and depleted
housing stock, invited organized crime into neighborhoods, threatened
public safety, wasted police resources, shattered lives and turned
many against legitimate medical and recreational use - among
innumerable other negative impacts.

End the madness. Save our neighborhoods. Legalize freedom. Legalize
marijuana. Of course.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin