Thursday, May 05, 2005

Hippy Horticulture

"After smoking, one walks the same paths of thought. Only now they are strewn with roses." -- Walter Benjamin, "Haschisch"

Today highwayscribery shines the light of reason on marijuana, something that will never go away, but forever be shadowed by a dark legal cloud born of feeble morality.

Though not headline, the quiet battle front for freedom (or not)is quite an active one.

Those communities in California whose wont it was to establish medical marijuana clubs have used the voter initiative passed back in the late nineties to their advantage and opened them.

Helped along by current state attorney general Bill Lockyer’s unwillingness to cooperate with Bush drug enforcement guys, the pot clubs have come a-ways, taking root in big city centers and the usual college hippy-town redoubts.

In San Francisco things naturally got a little crazy and when somebody opened a dispensary in the lobby of a hotel for welfare recipients, something had to be done.

And it had to be done by the loveable Mayor Gavin Newsom, who came up with the idea of getting these places on the books and subject to a minimal regimen of oversite.

Irony of ironies, the resulting paper trail is something the federal narcotics people (who hate the medical marijuana law) are quite excited about because, to date, there really is no way to trace the development and/or whereabouts of the mary jane stores.

There is already ample evidence of abuse in the medical marijuana system and that’s because normal people that aren’t sick want to smoke it, too. The government’s own figures would attest to that.

It’s just a matter of time before healthy tokers file for equal protection under the law.

The subtext of government's approach (at least in Cali) is that you can only do it where there's no fun involved.

Something called the Sentencing Project, which advocates alternatives to prison, just released a study on marijuana and Dan Eggen at the “Washington Post” wrote a piece on it.

Turns out the war on drugs has become, increasingly, a war on marijuana as arrests for crack cocaine and heroin have dropped considerably since the 1980s.

The Bush administration says the rise in marijuana busts can be traced to police focus on street-level crime and “growing concerns over the danger posed by modern, more potent versions of marijuana.”

In any case, Eggen reported, the study found that, “arrests for marijuana account for nearly all of the increase in drug arrests seen during the 1990s. The report also found that one in four people in state prisons for marijuana offenses can be classified as a ‘low-level offender’ and it estimated that $4 billion a year is spent on arresting and prosecuting marijuana crimes.”

Ryan King, co-author of the study is quoted as saying, “The question is, is this really where we want to be spending all our money?”

the scribe quotes himself as answering: “No.”

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy issued its own report day before yesterday claiming that smoking weed leads to serious mental health problems like schizophrenia and depression (and cabals with the devil, gargoyles, and bearded Muslims).

Kevin Murray, a policy analyst with the White House drug office even went hipster on Eggen: “This isn’t Cheech and Chong marijuana.”

Of course not, now that the hippies have been pushed out of cultivation by abusive federal agents.

Where they’ve wound up (the hippies) and what they’re doing instead is anyone’s guess. They can’t just go away and they are only just beginning to die off.

Given the health benefits associated with marijuana the best course of action would be to shoot them (if you wanna save Social Security).

The people who have replaced the hippy farmer are the fast-food chain folk of the hempworld; divorced from any spiritual or lifestyle values some find there, and out to make a quick efficient buck.

“Come on scribe! What the hell are you talking about with that new age-y spiritual gabble?”

Okay, (says the scribe) here’s an example: the old pot cultivators up in places like Humboldt County Northern Cali were tied to the land and followed philosophies focused on working with nature: the same class of communal folk who spike trees so that they can’t be buzz-sawed and are thus useless to loggers (not to mention dangerous).

The new pot farm is enclosed, juiced with chemicals, and a point-source for stream and river pollutio, given the waste generated by a more industrial approach to meeting demand, which as noted above, remains strong and constant.

Unlike their predecessors, these growers are armed and willing to use violence order to protect their investment; which is not inconsiderable, especially given the surcharge that comes with dodging law enforcement.

They’re indoor farms, are impossible to find, and no fed wants to sweat himself searching for them when an AK-47 is the door prize. Point is, these guys are not going to be moved quite so easily as the gentle hippy.

And for what did we persecute the hazy hopheads?

Published on the same day was a story in the “San Francisco Chronicle” by Benjamin Pimentel reporting results of a study from Hewlett-Packard (HP) that claims “excessive day-to-day use of technology – whether it’s sending e-mails or using mobile phones – can be more distracting and harmful to the IQ than smoking.”

Will the government be setting up a task for with an eye to eliminating the digital mills of today’s economy? (that's a rhetorical question)

The study was done for HP by the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London. Researchers there highlighted the abuse of “always-on technology” and have a name for the addiction to text-messaging and e-mails – condition info-mania.

It concluded that an average worker’s functioning IQ falls 10 points when distracted by ringing telephones and incoming e-mails...more than double the four-point drop seen following studies on the impact of smoking marijuana.”

Neo-conservatives have nimbly replaced the promise of economic equality in America with “equality of choice.”

They say they're of the same intrinsic value (which they're not), so let’s see some choice on this issue and save $35 billion a year spent declaring war on other Americans.

Finally, thanks to Antonio Mendoza for help in getting the blog page in order.

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