Thursday, April 8, 2010

Clipped from the L.A. Times 4-7-10

My Daughter called me from Los Angeles and told me that Humboldt county is all over in the paper down there.

Humboldt County afraid of being uprooted from pot perch
As legalization of marijuana grows as a possibility
, the Northern California enclave where weed culture thrives ponders its future. Would its pot economy wither or does greater opportunity await?

April 07, 2010|By Sam Quinones
Reporting from Garberville, Calif. — In this region renowned for potent marijuana buds, many in Humboldt County long accepted that legalizing the weed was the right thing to do.

Now some folks aren't so sure.
A statewide initiative in November would allow cities to regulate pot possession and cultivation. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) has proposed a broader legalization. Neither is certain to pass.

Yet as medical marijuana has spread and city and state budgets are being slashed, legalized marijuana is becoming more possible than ever. That has some people here thinking twice.

Wholesale prices have dropped in the last five years -- from $4,000 a pound to below $3,000 for the best cannabis -- as medical-marijuana dispensaries have attracted a slew of new growers statewide, Humboldt growers say.

Recently, "Keep Pot Illegal" bumper stickers have been seen on cars around the county. In chat rooms and on blogs, anonymous writers predict that tobacco companies will crush small farmers and take marijuana production to the Central Valley.

With legalization, if residents don't act, "we're going to be ruined," said Anna Hamilton, a radio host on KMUD-FM (91.1) in southern Humboldt County.
Photo of Anna Hamilton from Kym Kemps Blog.

In March, Hamilton organized a community meeting in Garberville addressing the question "What's After Pot?" It attracted more than 150 people, including a county supervisor, economic development consultants and business owners.

All this was unimaginable to the hippies and student radicals who came here in the 1960s and '70s, escaping a conventional world they abhorred. As marijuana's price steadily rose, it funded their escape. In time, mom-and-pop growers became experts.

The plant thrived in the tolerant climate -- cultural and geographic -- of far Northern California. Small plots got bigger. An Emerald Triangle of premium marijuana growers formed in Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino counties until, virtually alone, they supported the economies.

Following Hamilton's lead, a meeting will be held in Ukiah, Mendocino's county seat, on April 24 to discuss "The Future of Cannabis in Northern California." Speakers include the director of the Ukiah Chamber of Commerce.

For years the plant was only a small part of the Humboldt economy, as logging and fishing provided most of the jobs.


Anonymous said...

I sure would hate to see the No. Cal. economy ruined by legalized pot. Maybe the growers could switch to opium poppies.

Ernie Branscomb said...

We can't switch to opium, We have already commited all of the U.S. troops to protecting Afganistan's poppies.

I once made the statement that "I was here before marijuana came, and I'll be here long after it's gone".

Little did I realize that it would become 80% of Southern Humboldts ecconomy. Nor did I expect it to last this long. The cops never really did anything to get rid of it. Marijuana was job insurance for them, they had little desire to get rid of it, so instead, we have been playing "Cops and robbbers" for the past 40 years.

Some say that we are all guilty. We won't need so many jails anymore, and we won't need so many cops either. I think that we are about to see what it is like to make an honest living.

spyrock said...

Hemp use dates back to the Stone Age, with hemp fibre imprints found in pottery shards in China and Taiwan[44] over 7,000 years old. They were also later used to make clothes, shoes, ropes, and an early form of paper.[44] Contrary to the traditional view that Cai Lun invented paper in around 105 AD, specimens of hemp paper were found in the Great Wall of China dating back 200 years earlier.[citation needed]

The classical Greek historian Herodotus (ca. 480 BC) reported that the inhabitants of Scythia would often inhale the vapours of hemp smoke, both as ritual and for their own pleasurable recreation (Hist. 4:73-75).

In late medieval Germany and Italy, hemp was employed in cooked dishes, as filling in pies and tortes, or boiled in a soup.[45]

Hemp in later Europe was mainly cultivated for its fibers, and was used for ropes on many ships, including those of Christopher Columbus. The use of hemp as a cloth was centered largely in the countryside, with higher quality textiles being available in the towns.

The Spaniards brought hemp to the Western Hemisphere and cultivated it in Chile starting about 1545.[46] However, in May 1607, "hempe" was among the crops Gabriel Archer observed being cultivated by the natives at the main Powhatan village, where Richmond, Virginia is now situated;[47] and in 1613, Samuell Argall reported wild hemp "better than that in England" growing along the shores of the upper Potomac. As early as 1619, the first Virginia House of Burgesses passed an Act requiring all planters in Virginia to sow "both English and Indian" hemp on their plantations.[48] The Puritans are first known to have cultivated hemp in New England in 1645.[46]
U.S. 'Marihuana' production permit. In the USA, hemp cultivation is legally prohibited, but during World War II farmers were encouraged to grow hemp for cordage, to replace Manila hemp previously obtained from Japanese-controlled areas. The US government produced a film explaining the uses of hemp called Hemp for Victory.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both cultivated hemp on their farms. Benjamin Franklin started the first American paper mill, which made paper exclusively from hemp, and the Declaration of Independence was drafted on paper made from hemp fibers.[49]

Hemp was used extensively by the United States during WWII. Uniforms, canvas, and rope were among the main textiles created from the hemp plant at this time. Much of the hemp used was cultivated in Kentucky and the Midwest.

Historically, hemp production had made up a significant portion of antebellum Kentucky's economy. Before the American Civil War, many slaves worked on plantations producing hemp.[50]

The decision of the United States Congress to pass the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act was based in part on testimony derived from articles in newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst, who, some authors[who?] stress, had significant financial interests in the forest industry, which manufactured his newsprint.[citation needed]

From 1880 to 1933 the hemp grown in the United States had declined from 15,000 to 1,200 acres (4.9 km2), and that the price of line hemp had dropped from $12.50 per pound in 1914 to $9.00 per pound in 1933.[30][31] In 1935, however, hemp would make a significant rebound.[31] Hearst began a campaign against hemp, and published stories in his newspapers associating hemp with marijuana[32] and attacking marijuana usage.[33]
so mr wiki pedia says that the lumber owners were the ones who made pot illegal in 1935 so they could make big money making paper out of 3000 year old redwood trees instead of a weed that grows wild virtually everywhere in the world since the stone age.
of course many people live in their own parallel world and will probably continue to live in that world despite any evidence to the contrary. so i don't expect any increase in public sanity that would result in repealing the anti hemp laws. so go ahead an put in that order for your new hybrid chevy tahoe.

Anonymous said...

I see that there is going to be an opening for a seat on the Supreme Court. I nominate Ann Coulter.


spyrock said...

i nominate bill murray. look what he did for golf. took something boring and made it fun and interesting. that's exactly what justice in this country needs, a sense of humor.
its really ironic how the hearst family made pot illegal so they could rake in the lumber profits and build hearst castle as a memorial to it. then along comes patty she joins the sla and the next thing you know every fair weatherman and his brother is growing hemp up in the humbo and the lumbo goes down the eel river out to sea never to be seen again. who'd a thunk up this strange turn of events. bill murray?

Ben said...

Ernie... We must thank Anna for a remarkable merchandizing campaign. She has firmly re- established the Humboldt Brand in a city which seems to have close to 1,000 dispensaries. Heaven only knows how many in the County. Public relations firms get huge fees for a campaign as front page as this. I suggest "Grown in Humboldt" twist ties for the turkey bags headed south.

spyrock said...

Marijuana smokers, assassin's of society The two most reponsible for creating the atmosphere of panic regarding marijuana back then was a dude named Harry J. Anslinger, and the father of "yellow journalism," William Randolf Hearst. However, rather than go into detail about these 2 scandalous individuals, here are a couple of links you can check out, Anslinger, Hearst.

Harry Aslinger seized an opportunity in 1930 when the U.S. Treasury Department created the Bureau of Narcotics. It was there that Anslinger worked his mischief. He single-handedly created the atmosphere of violence, and racism associated with marijuana, and to this day his tendrils snake through the laws controlling this drug as well as what many in society think about it. Though marijuana was not federally illegal at the time, Anslinger, (gunslinger?), set about making it so spewing out malicious misinformation..The recreational use of marijuana is more accepted today than when Dirty Harry was ricocheting around the country spitting his particular brand of venomous rant, but there is still a resistance by the federal government, society, and states to keep this drug under the law's thumb.

Marijuana add warning of its affects of murder, insanity and
death. Watch out for that friendly stranger too, he or she might
offer you a bag of chips and a Snicker's bar to go along with
the munchies.

Check out some of Harry Anslinger's work from below.

“…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”

“Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”

“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

“Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing”

“You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”

“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”

“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”
Anslinger obviously had his problems, most of which were probably born from a whole lot of misinformation, personal beliefs, and possibly getting his pockets lined. And that is being overly kind to this dude.

William Randolf Hearst was a financial viper only interested in his bottom line, even though you could argue that he helped a lot of people just by employing them. But that does not mitigate his brand of journalism, in this case, at the expense of the minorities, and others who were affected by it.

Here are excerpts from Hearst's newspapers around the country at the time of the assault on marijuana culled from

This one is from the San Francisco Examiner:

“Marihuana makes fiends of boys in thirty days — Hashish goads users to bloodlust.”

These are from other newspapers Hearst owned:

“Users of marijuana become STIMULATED as they inhale the drug and are LIKELY TO DO ANYTHING. Most crimes of violence in this section, especially in country districts are laid to users of that drug.”

“Was it marijuana, the new Mexican drug, that nerved the murderous arm of Clara Phillips when she hammered out her victim’s life in Los Angeles?… THREE-FOURTHS OF THE CRIMES of violence in this country today are committed by DOPE SLAVES — that is a matter of cold record.”

Spreading manure around America is basically what Anslinger, and Hearst did. As it soaked into the masses minds, it worked like fertilizer to sway public opinion, and legislation on marijuana laws. Partly, as a result, we have prisons all over the US filled with many people who should not be in there. These 2 throwbacks are responsible for the billion's of dollars being spent on enforcement of draconian marijuana laws, as well as the costs associated with keeping these drug offenders locked up.

Anonymous said...

Spyrock, I have been hearing the same thing about the evils of Wild Turkey. I sure wish you would stick up for the ones of us that like our hooch. You do a good job for the maryjuwanna folks and have me convinced.
Thank you,

spyrock said...

personally, i don't have a vendetta about this issue. i don't grow pot and even though i made my living off of processed lumber products from your area for most of my life and i have a lot of family up there who made their living off lumber, i consider myself allied with the cattle ranchers, people who hunted and basically lived off the land.
after uncle howard got burnt up in his mobile home aunt joy wound with what was left of 12,000 acres the simmerleys owned up at spyrock. she sold the ranch and got her caddilac and her big house but her son george died. the last time i saw her she was telling me how much i looked like and reminded her of her son. my mom and her brother were furious that she sold the land. not just because of that but because she sold it to a lumber company that took out all the trees. so the beautiful place where my mom grew up, isn't there anymore. most of the trees are gone. most of the animals they loved to hunt are gone. and what makes it worse is that i can't get within 5 miles of the place because its got locked gates to protect all the marijuana grown back there.
but knowing the law of nature saying that what one resists, persists, i really don't care one way or the other which of you wins that debate because i lose either way. at some point you have to let go of the past and move on. i moved on a long time ago. this truth is coming from the cemetery at covelo that i visited back in 2005, this truth is coming from my cattle ranching ancestors perspective and the land they lived on.

spyrock said...

oregon would have loved my uncle delbert. actually papa delbert used to drink mainly 7 and 7. aside from having his own rodeo every friday night under the lights back in the 50's at his ranch, he was a working cowboy his entire life and lived into his late 80's. of course, i learned all my cuss words at an early age watching he and his friends play poker on saturday nights. he used to buy me oly when i was seven years old on the way up to stinson beach back in the days when drinking and driving was still legal. and when i got old enough. i didn't like 7up being a pepsi drinker so it was usually wild turkey and pepsi for me. the only thing was i usually started going into a past life up at covelo back in the day and i would scare the crap out of people, so i had to hang up the wild turkey for scotch, the kind my british ancestors drank. so i understand your problem with wild turkey. and i understand why you have to keep moving back up to "covelo".

Eric V. Kirk said...

I'm rooting for these guys.

It'd never be a panacea, but it could be a piece of Sohum's future.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Eric's link to California Oak


Ernie Branscomb said...

To be fair, I should include our own local hardwood industry. Whitethorn Construction.


Eric V. Kirk said...

I posted the Santa Cruz business because they are attempting to broaden the market beyond local consumption. Imagine if there was a national demand for tan oak. Whitethorn would obviously be positioned nicely. It's not an easy sell though. I like the term "character grade" rather than "c grade."

Unk John said...

In 1992, my wife and I were driving through Hungary on our way to my father's ancestral home. At one point, my wife said, "John, they're growing marijuana back there!" I laughed and kept going. She reminded me that she really knows plants (She is an excellent gardener). We turned around and went back. What I saw was many, many acres of hemp.

When we returned home, I happened to be in Bellingham one day and looked in the window of the "Hemp Emporium". There, I saw a sign that spoke of wallets made from fine Hungarian hemp.

Now, it may seem naive of me but what is to stop the growers from changing the market to something legal? It isn't just wallets, of course. Spyrock has already mentioned how paper could have and should have been made from it. Just think of the advertising opportunities. They could easily convince writers to use only paper made from hemp. If they get writer's block, they can just roll a paper and smoke it.

I understand that the growers don't want to hear anything like this, because they are convinced that they will never make as much money as they do now. They may be right about that. However, I think they had better start thinking about it, because the confluence of vortices in the universe may cause their world to change and pull the rug right out from under them.