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Reefer Madness Must End!!!

Kevin Hoover’s So-Called Thoughts: Cannabis craziness is ending

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 becomes.

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 industry.

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 going away too. 

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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