What comes first… A revolution or a war? Right now more Americans are taking to the streets in numbers not seen since they tried to do away with the original Coca-Cola. And with the same reasons, the Cola-Baggers in the Day wanted to turn back the clocks to a simpler time. The message was simple: Don’t mess with our Coke.
In 1937 marijuana was politically shoved into a niche alongside heroin and other bad stuff, because of money. Behind the scenes, the same names were at work. Great American families like the Hearsts, the Mellons and the DuPonts needed cannabis to go away, so they could make money the old fashion way—by manipulating the markets.
â€‹Hemp had to go. Trees needed to be cut. Money needed to be centralized and not be given away to farmers or scientists that were finding new applications of hemp every day. Plastic needed to be manufactured thereby polluting our rivers and creeks.Â
Now, almost 100 years later, we’re still paying the price of this deceit.
There is a war on drugs. I know because they came for the guns last week.
The Feds said that medical marijuana patients in the sixteen states that allow for medi-jane users are not allowed to own guns, because Marijuana is a controlled substance. Oh baby is it controlled. Just not by us.
Then the same Feds, but different department went after one of our behemoth dispensaries, Oakland’s Harborside Health Center for tax evasion. Harborside has something like 83,000 patients.Â
â€‹Harborside pulled in $22 million last year. Successful? Job creator? No, apparently even though the state has passed laws allowing for Harborside to exist, in the eyes of D.C., they’re just another pot dealer masquerading as a business.
This mega-dispensary, while considered illegal by the folks 3,000 miles away, still pays taxes on what they sell. But unlike any other business, they’re not allowed business deductions (rent, payroll, health insurance, even worker’s comp!) The most they can write off is their yoga classes.
For the past months, the Feds are closing the drawers to bank registers that are in the “Industry.” Â Any bankers who wants to do business with those wacky state sanctioned pharmacies, is in for a long cold audit.Â
The war on drugs is on. I’m sorry; I mean the War on Marijuana is on. The Feds aren’t concerned with meth. Mendocino and Humboldt Counties ask for federal assistance for fighting meth and heroin and are told “no.”
Federal money is for the war against pot, so says a source of mine in the Mendocino Sheriff’s office.
When that crazy glazy mug-shot shooter put a bullet in the brain of Arizona State Rep. Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords, plus injuring 13 and killing six, the banana clip that housed the 31 bullets that was responsible for the extended rampage, came under scrutiny. Why such a big clip?
â€‹The NRA went into full-tilt PR. Two weeks later, the banana clip was safe. Not only that, other guns restrictions were lessen just to teach America not to fuck with our guns. The NRA, the nation’s watchdog for when some killer’s right are denied, haven’t said shit about marijuana and guns.Â
Wait that’s not true. A firearms specialist who pushes guns at Montana Outdoor Sports in Helena, said, “A lot of users of medical marijuana aren’t really shooting sports enthusiasts. I think we may see a sale or two lost, but I don’t see anything dramatic that’s going to affect us.”
The dude’s right. The medical marijuana patients and farmers I know who use guns, use them for protection, the way God and Remington intended.
Two weeks ago I was doing a story in Mendocino. On the coast, the Fort Bragg killer, Aaron Bassler was still loose and the Sheriff’s department had done a reverse 911 call, telling residents to stay inside and lock your doors.
â€‹Then a couple of days later, a bear was seen close to town hungry, ready to munch on the food left by growers, outside of the bear’s normal feeding grounds. Residents were told to be on the lookout for a big brown bear. And “use caution if you approach it.”
I never thought I would be crusading for gun rights but ... when do you need a gun more? Last year, three opportunists from out-of-town thought they could get rich could by ripping off what they thought was a vulnerable couple in Laytonville. The punks stormed into their home and shot the husband and a friend. The wife went to the bedroom, retrieved a nice size handgun and shot and killed two of the punks. I think that’s what the police call home evasion. Btw, the police let her off.Â
What are guns for? When bobcats and mountain lions come through windows searching for food isn’t a good enough reason? I know a guy who has had a bear in house, twice. Folks, where they grow the best marijuana in this country… is exactly that, the country. Where animals attack and frontier justice lives.
We’re OK with guns as protection. A perfect example would be if I was jogging and saw a coyote. What more reason to need to own a gun than to possible miss out on the opportunity to shoot a little Wiley while running?
Another fun fact, while farmers and ranchers who have reasons to have a medical marijuana card, are being denied the possibility of gun ownership. In Texas, you can walk into any gun shop and purchase a gun without a waiting period. See it is different in Texas. The same way it is different in California. Not all of the same rules apply everywhere.
|Santa Rosa Press Democrat|
|Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman has tried to find a balance instead of arresting everyone who is growing cannabis.|
â€‹I tell you the real reason. The War on Marijuana is on. Because…Because…Because… Because we’ve been working on these marijuana laws now for 15 years. We’re starting to get it right. The smoke is clearing and out of the ashes has risen a hero, Sheriff Tom Allman.
Sheriff Allman, along with many activists who has chanced coming forward, has tried to find a balance over this issue instead of arresting everyone who is growing dope. Especially when these farmers are under contract to grow for the dispensaries that the voters have okayed.Â
The problem for the Feds, it is working. More and more people are growing legally.
What this means is that the ‘guerrilla grows’ of the 70s and 80s are not being tolerated. When you can grow legally, you shouldn’t siphoned water from creeks and rivers. Dumping chemicals and leaving behind garbage and mountains of plastic bags are unacceptable. The kinks were being massaged out. There is a program in place now to legally grow marijuana. And the Feds hate it.
Seventeen million people smoked marijuana last year, according to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
What the federal government is doing now is just short of an embarrassment. The obvious prejudice against marijuana users is clear.
While Wall Street gets away with crimes against Humanity, not one person has been brought down by the biggest financial scandal to hit the states since the big depression. The only person I know of who has paid for her crime is Martha Stewart. And I’d argue that was political too. Â
We are so freaking out of touch that when something works like Harborside Dispensary or Sheriff Allman’s and Mendocino’s 9.31 program that allows for legal farming of cannabis is successful, the Feds are scurry around like waiters on the Titanic trying to steal silverware while the ship sinks.
It is embarrassing.Â
What is the endgame of the Feds? To put everyone in jail? To secure a place for Big Business and bookmark an economy until Big Pharma takes over the cannabis trade?
It isn’t money, dispensaries pay their taxes like everyone else, and even more so. Just like a fascist regime, the government has taken the guns away from the people who scare them the most. Not the Mexican cartels that were delivered, what, some 60,000 guns by the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) earlier this year.
â€‹No, that’s okay. Not the crazies who can buy a gun at Wal-Mart or the local ammo store without a waiting period, I dunno, maybe to see if they should actually be able to own a gun?
No, the problem with guns in America lies with the pot users. Because as soon as you think of gun violence, it is that dreaded patient that has filed paperwork, put their name on a list, and are ingesting a mood altering drugs that usually ends up with TV and the Simpson’s that’s the problem.
Here’s the real predicament with marijuana. I’m sorry if I’m repeating myself here, but the problem is it represents freedom.
And the government really doesn’t know what to do with citizens that feel really free.
What you have here in California is over 500,000 patients trying to the right thing. What you have in Mendocino is an attempt to correct an issue that otherwise would destroy lives and families.Â
But the government is trying to muck that up. They don’t like when a terrible law stinks and makes them look bad.Â
The federal government still has a choice to work with those trying to find a solution to the issue of medical marijuana. Otherwise freedom just another word for the government to lose…
|Photo:Â Jack Rikess|
|Toke of the Town correspondent Jack Rikess blogs from the Haight in San Francisco.|Jack Rikess, a former stand-up comic, writes a regular column most directly found atÂ jackrikess.com.
Jack delivers real-time coverage following the cannabis community, focusing on politics and culture.
His beat includes San Francisco, the Bay Area and Mendocino-Humboldt counties.
He has been quoted by the national media and is known for his unique view with thoughtful, insightful perspective.