Category Archives: Marijuana

More Seeds For Transformation Planted This Week

The Trump Administration continues to plant more seeds for the coming era of transformation that we have written about in recent newsletters, Preparing for the Coming Age of Transformation and Ensuring Justice in the Coming Age of Transformation. It continues to put policies in place that go against national consensus on critical issues and is conducting a foreign policy that isolates the United States from the rest of the world.

With each of these actions, the spring that will create the boomerang of transformation gets compressed further. This week, we focus on three areas: allowing federal prosecution of marijuana offenses where states have made marijuana legal, allowing off shore oil exploration throughout US coastal areas, and escalating regime change efforts in Iran. Each of these actions creates the potential for a larger boomerang in favor of economic, racial and environmental justice and peace if we organize around them.

Is Going Backward on Marijuana Leading to a Sprint Forward?

The United States was beginning to put in place laws and policies for marijuana in the post-prohibition era. The unraveling of the war on marijuana began in 1996 with passage of Proposition 215 in California, which allows medical use of marijuana. Since then, states have been putting in place both medical marijuana laws and legal systems for adult use.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ reversal of federal marijuana enforcement policy and giving federal prosecutors a green light to prosecute people in states where marijuana is legal will slow or stop these developments and, at their worst, will fuel the wasteful and destructive war on marijuana.

Twenty-nine states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico have enacted laws that allow the medical use of marijuana. Marijuana is legal and regulated for adults in eight states, and adult possession and limited home cultivation are legal in the District of Columbia. Sessions’ action comes just three days after California implemented legal marijuana, while Maryland was implementing its medical marijuana law, when Ohio approved 12 large marijuana cultivation sites and Massachusetts is putting in place their legal marijuana system. On the same day as Sessions’ reversal, the Vermont House voted to make marijuana legal for adults. The bill is likely to pass the senate and be signed by the governor.

Sessions’ action is out-of-step with the US public where 64 percent now support legal marijuana, including a majority of Republicans. On medical marijuana, over 80 percent support legalizing it for medical use. This national consensus on marijuana law reform is likely to grow in response to Sessions’ actions.

The Cole Memo, issued by the Department of Justice during the Obama presidency, allowed these state laws to take effect. The federal government not prosecuting in legal states resulted in the development of a thriving marijuana industry that includes farmers and retailers, creating thousands of jobs. This $7 billion a year industry was expected to grow significantly with California’s law taking effect in 2018, along with other states; e.g., Massachusetts, Maryland, Ohio. The marijuana sector of the economy will grow to more than $20 billion in coming years if the federal government does not block the will of voters.

The reaction will be swift as this decision is bad politics and bad economics. The backlash began immediately in Congress. Likely 2020 Democratic presidential contenders rushed to beat one another in criticizing the Trump administration’s backward action on marijuana. Not a single legislator put out a statement in support of Sessions’ steps on marijuana law reform. He is already isolated on the issue.

Advocates for legal marijuana are beginning to recognize that Sessions’ retrograde marijuana policy is an opportunity for advancement of legalization on the federal level. Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority wrote:

The development generated immediate and intense pushback from federal and state officials, from both sides of the aisle. And it wasn’t just the usual suspects of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus chiming in. Democratic and Republican House and Senate members who almost never talk about marijuana, except when asked about it, proactively released statements pushing back against Sessions.

He points to Republican Rod Blum of Iowa, a state that has not reformed its laws, co-sponsoring a federal reform bill.

It will be up to the marijuana reform movement to educate and organize the public so that support for backward steps on marijuana becomes career-ending political poison. The movement needs to create an environment where legislators and those who run for office will be on the side of developing a sensible marijuana policy in the post-prohibition era.

The immediate impact of Sessions’ rescinding of the Cole Memo was to create confusion, as now it is up to each US Attorney to develop a policy on enforcing federal law in states where marijuana is legal. This may lead to prosecution of some high profile marijuana businesses to send a message to others in the industry that they are at risk. The announcement has already had a negative impact on investment in the marijuana industry and made banks more reluctant to work with these businesses.

Given the evidence that legal marijuana has solved problems, rather than created them, has been good for the economy and state budgets and is highly popular with super majorities of voters, the movement for sensible legal marijuana policies is well-positioned for positive changes in law in response to Sessions’ attempt to go backward to an all-out war on marijuana.

Off-shore Drilling Puts Oceans at Risk, Builds Movement to Protect the Environment

EcoWatch wrote:

In a move that would put every American coastal community at risk, Trump proposed Thursday to hand over vast reaches of waters currently protected from drilling—in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans—to the oil and gas industry.

Oceans are already at great risk and have been degraded. This new proposal threatens the oceans surrounding the United States further. Offshore oil drilling is risky, as experienced in the BP Gulf Oil disaster and the Exxon Valdez disaster, and is very expensive. It makes no sense to pursue these extreme extraction approaches, not only because of the risk to US coastal areas, fishing, marine breeding and more, but also because science tells us that we should not be investing in carbon infrastructure due to climate change.

This announcement follows an executive order by Trump and new rules from his administration repealing rules that were developed by a national commission after the BP oil leak. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster was the worst oil accident in U.S. history – eleven workers died, the oil rig sunk, and more than 4 million barrels of oil were released into the Gulf of Mexico. After months of investigation, the commission concluded systemic regulatory failures were the cause of the accident and developed rules to prevent similar disasters in the future. The Trump administration refuses to learn from those mistakes; and therefore, we are likely doomed to repeat them.

The Trump administration builds on this mistake by opening virtually all US ocean waters to off-shore drilling. The Interior Department will hold 47 lease sales in every region of the outer continental shelf but one between 2019 and 2024. This includes the Pacific Ocean, eastern Gulf of Mexico as well as more than 100 million acres in the Arctic and along much of the Eastern Seaboard. People have until August 17 to express their opinion to Interior officials.

Scientific American reports:

While the oil and gas industry cheered, analysts and even some industry representatives cautioned that the plan’s signal may not immediately boost offshore development.

Off-shore oil, which will involve billions of dollars in infrastructure, is likely to face multiple lawsuits from states and widespread public opposition. Shareholders, who have been pushing for oil and gas companies to disclose the damage they are doing to the climate, will also be a hurdle to exploration. This exploration could take 15 to 20 years to perform during a period when the impacts of climate change are increasing and investors will be concerned with the potential for stranded investments in expensive infrastructure and liability.

Opposition is widespread. Scientific American reports:

Opponents include the governors of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, California, Oregon and Washington; more than 150 coastal municipalities; and an alliance of more than 41,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families.

Opening up coastal drilling is deeply and universally unpopular in coastal areas, as previous accidents have devastated fisheries and tourism and left hundreds of miles of coastlines drenched in crude oil. Coastal communities are already dealing with increased storms, rising waters, comprised water quality and degraded fisheries.

Once again, the Trump administration is going against the views of super majorities of people in the United States who oppose off-shore drilling by 59 percent, with 65 percent supporting “keeping as much of our current supplies of oil, gas, and coal in the ground as possible to avoid making climate change worse” and 60 percent prefer investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources over “traditional” energy sources. The movement for climate justice, environmental protection and putting protection of the planet ahead of profits will see their support grow as this proposal moves forward.

US Loses Leadership in the World with Aggressive Regime Change Policy in Iran

The United States undermined its leadership in the world with its response to recent protests in Iran. While the protests were greatly exaggerated in the corporate media, they involved relatively small numbers of people and have been dwarfed by days of pro-government protests.

The United States made a foreign policy blunder in bringing the protests to the UN Security Council this week. The administration hoped to undermine Iran’s government and the renewal of the nuclear agreement, but their action had the reverse effect. Other countries reprimanded the United States for misusing its status as a permanent member of the Security Council by bringing these internal issues that had no impact on international peace and security to the Council. Members said that for the US’ action to be consistent, the Security Council should have also considered mass protests in the United States, such as have occurred after police killings and with the Occupy encampments.

Members of the Council saw the action as an attempt by the US to justify more sanctions on Iran and urged all parties, including the United States, to live up to the nuclear agreement, which is an important tool for world peace and stability of the Middle East. This support for the nuclear agreement shows that if President Trump takes actions in the coming weeks to continue US sanctions or undermine the agreement, the US will be isolated in the world and US leadership will be weakened.

The opposition to the actions by the United States in the Security Council was not only from countries like China, Russia and Iran, but also came from US allies, including the United Kingdom and France.

The US’ calls for regime change in Iran during the protests also resulted in Iran and other countries claiming that foreign governments were involved in creating and manipulating the protests for their regime change goals. Popular Resistance did a special report on Iran that included a review of US efforts at regime change that have been ongoing since the 1979 revolution in Iran. The United States has spent tens of millions of dollars annually to build opposition to the Iranian government through the Office of Iranian Affairs, the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, the Democracy Fund and the US Agency for International Development.

US’ Acts Against People and Planet Make the Era of Transformation More Likely

These are three examples from the last week of the United States continuing to work against the interests of people and protection of the planet. They are actions that are out-of-step with the views of people in the United States, views held by super-majorities of USians.

The foreign policy actions continue what has become a consistent decline in the influence of the United States on the world stage. The US is becoming increasingly isolated because of its military actions, efforts at regime change, use of economic power to bully other countries and withdrawal from agreements like the climate agreement. The US is losing power, a symptom of the coming end of US empire.

We urge people who seek economic, racial and environmental justice and peace to organize around these issues in order to make the boomerang against the years of big business-dominated government a strong one that ensures that many of the progressive, transformational policies we have all been working on for years become the reality.

Rural Petaluma Neighbors Challenge Cannabis Industrialization

Sonoma County, California — “No Pot on Purvine” read a catchy flyer appearing in a rural Petaluma neighborhood in Northern California, announcing an October 8 meeting. It almost got cancelled, because of the rampant wildfires, so some people did not make it. However, 30 concerned citizens attended.

“We live in rural West Petaluma, and are spearheading a campaign to keep our ag. and open space just that,” arrived an email to a group called Preserve Rural Sonoma County, which maintains a website and Facebook page. “We are up against a big money cannabis operation with sights on land purchased on our rural Purvine Road. It calls for acres of indoor and outdoor Cannabis cultivation and processing, which will impact our water, safety, security, traffic, etc.,” wrote Ayn Garvisch.

Garvisch hosted the meeting at her home across the street from the large grow. Three other articulate women joined her at the front of the crowd– Britt Jensen, Phoebe Lang, and Autuym Condit. Participants were asked to sign in and a large table displayed the site plan and communications with the county. The owner of this contested cannabis grow at 334 Purvine, who lives in San Francisco, showed up at the meeting with a few people. He was not invited and was not allowed to enter, since this was the first meeting of the group.

It was a family affair, with one person being 14-years old, and another mentioning that he began living in the neighborhood in the 1940s, as well as sweet dogs welcoming visitors with their playful energy. The issues at hand were serious, yet the laughter among friends and people meeting for the first time was contagious. One couple has already paid a substantial retainer to an attorney. So the group has both an activist and a legal approach.

Following are notes this reporter took:

“Water is a big issue, since we do not have much water in certain parts of this neighborhood. Some of us have shallow wells, which would be compromised.”

“The Water Quality permit will be key and could be hard to get. They will have to keep their run-off on site.”

“I don’t want the traffic, drugs, thieving, guard house tower, triple barbed wire, and 24-hour surveillance. This scene will look like a prison.”

“We should demand an EIR (Environmental Impact Report). The cultural resources of this area and the historical nature of a 150-years-old barn and chicken houses are also important,” said Autymn Condit.

“The advice we received from another local group, Petalumans for Responsible Planning, was that an EIR report would stall the project and catalog all environmental and cultural resources in the area. There are many cultural resources and history connected to Purvine Road that the County is unaware of.”

“We are guinea pigs for the County’s forthcoming cannabis policies. It has yet to be determined if their current restrictions on water use and water quality address the tangible effects of such an operation for years to come.

“Our property values would be likely to go down once this operation has been established, which may draw other pot growing operations.”

“We want to keep our neighborhood as beautiful countryside and for food agriculture, rather than have it industrialized.”

“This differs from the small operations that have been happening.”

“We have to prepare for a protracted struggle.”

“One of their applications says they will have 5 workers, whereas another says 15. Purvine is a narrow, windy road, so this would be a traffic nightmare, leading to increasing accidents, some potentially serious.”

“A current tenant at the site, a school teacher, is being evicted, thus taking an educator of children out of the community.”

“The owner lies. He says it is only a weekend home and organic farm. Then they tore down the historic chicken houses.”

“We’ve researched who the owners are, and they have lots of money.  I do not expect them to back down.”

“We have to be ready for a protracted struggle. We need to become a royal pain in their back.”

“A benefit of this is that we will get to know our neighbors better.”

This initial meeting accomplished many things, including the development of an email list of concerned citizens and creating a neighborly feeling among participants. Next steps include a neighborhood picnic and displaying lawn signs.

The group has started a letter-writing campaign to 2nd District Supervisor David Rabbit and others. One such letter includes the following:

I have many concerns about this industry’s impact on our area’s water quality, availability, safety and traffic. Furthermore, I believe that the proposed plan would contribute to increased theft, odor, and would have permanent effects on the cultural and natural landscape of the area.

More information on the challenged website: 334 Purvine Rd.

file parcel 022-230-018 the dropbox link follows:

Neighborhood website:

Just Say Yes to Conscious Awareness

Since its inception the war on drugs has psycho-actively altered the global perception of drugs and even the definition of what drugs are. The mental fog over American minds was induced via decades of freebasing anti-drug government propaganda, however people seem to be awakening from the haze of misinformation. Still, there remains plenty of misconceptions around fugitive substances like MDMA, marijuana, and psychedelics. Many of these drugs are showing immense psychological benefits in studies (when they are allowed) and throngs of people willing to cite the good these substances can do with almost none of the side effects of many drugs offered by Big Pharma.

Of course, the voices of millions won’t be heard on this matter because the government isn’t interested. They are only interested in more shame and punishment for people not obeying their profit motivated rules.

For anyone that’s been paying attention, the US government is not exactly on the side of the people it claims to represent. In fact, it would seem the US is preying on its people when it serves the whims of elites, and dare I suggest our beloved USA is not so much a government by the people, but rather the same classic rule by force empire that has dominated the western world for several millennia, and now the domination has spread to the entire planet via neoliberal doctrine, hence in part why most of the world has adopted our drug policies.

Or are we to still believe in the narrative that our government is a benevolent democratic force who has seen fit through its altruistic nature to protect us from these drugs and autocratically dictate which drugs are acceptable and which are harmful without so much as a conversation.

Did I say autocratic? That sounds negative, like it’s somehow sullying those proud stars and stripes. In honor of the doublespeak installed within our drug legislation let me rephrase that unpatriotic rhetoric with something more euphemistically reverent to this great nation of ours. Let’s say instead, in the name of safety, security, and tough love paternalism uncle Sam showed exceptional leadership to gently curve the behavior of the ignorant misled adult-children of the US and heroically save them from their own foolish inclinations.

Thanks Pa.

Just imagine what this world would look like now if America had not ramped up the drug war and thrown millions in jail to save their hedonist souls and thwart the moral decline caused by the temptations of these pernicious illicit substances. Ponder for a moment if Tricky Dick or the Ole Gipper had backed off the noble drug war front, why we’d probably be living in alternate Biff timeline replete with a proto-simian bigoted orange doofus for a president, a ponzi scheme economy, climate change superstorms, mass incarceration, faux democracy, ecological planetary destruction, and be at war with everything. Bullet dodged. Whew!

And we can only express the highest level of gratitude to those sages of greater truth and wisdom, aka our leaders, who put so much focus and energy, not to mention our tax dollars, into fighting a war on substances that could tragically alter our snow-white trauma free consciousness. Dangerous drugs like cannabis or psychedelics could trick us into thinking we’re calmer, more creative, making stronger connections with others, or even deepening our understanding of the nature of existence. Unfortunately we as infantile adults can never hope to fully understand the externalities of these drugs for ourselves or how all these ostensibly positive elements are truly evil. Our naive civilian impulses are cruelly deceiving us once again.

You know what it is? We probably aren’t working hard enough at our jobs so we started to use the “drugs” as a facile escape from the real productive profit seeking work we’ve been destined to fulfill as god-fearing patriots. Put down the joint and rev up the VCR with a Tony Robbins motivational tape, available for a $1.99 at a flea market near you, that’s all that is standing in the way of your future success. You’re on your way to millions and that’s just for what the thought alone is projecting into your future time wave reality field. Winner.

On a far less sarcastic note, to truthfully begin to address drugs and the government’s intentionally obtuse argumentation tactics then we have to gain an objective understanding of what it is we are talking about when we use the umbrella term “drug.” Everything we put into or do not put into our bodies or actions we take or don’t take will both physiologically and psychologically influence us and could be qualified as a drug if the net effects are to be considered as the definition of a drug, and in the most conventional terms a “drug” is nothing but a thing that has an effect to our mental or physical state.

One could try and separate the argument between the net effect of a chemical substance and other foods or activities that have the similar outcomes, but why? Everything has a reaction in the body and alters mood. Everything. Our skin and eyes are permeable, our thoughts can cause depression or joy, the food we eat has reward systems and addictive elements, it all has implications to our mood and health and acts as a drug does.

The proper default connotation for the word “drugs” should be one of neutrality, with an understanding that drugs can produce a spectrum of effects that are not innately beneficial or harmful. And if we are to ban some drugs because their effects are dangerous for the body or society at large then to be consistent we must consider all things that have the effects noted as deleterious. Going around banning everything in such a manner would make the current authoritarian hellhole all the worse. But to maintain the thread of reasoning, when prohibiting activities the net effects of what they produce must be the cause for banning them because if they had no effect you’d have no reason to restrict access.

So to play naive for a moment and act like the war on drugs isn’t just all about power and money, and we’ll assume for argument’s sake the government cares about our health. Under this assumption how can it possibly consolidate this notion when it doesn’t care much when there is lead or plastic microfibers in the water, but it cares we might use benign dosages of innocuous substances and feel good or enlightened.

And as their narrative goes, the government believes so many will want to feel good that we’ll addictively use these substances repeatedly to our ruin. Except it’s been shown that a high percentage of people who experiment with illicit drugs, in fact, don’t become instant addicts. And no one is breaking down our doors to get to our dangerous supply of toxic water we might be storing, feel free to drink that till you die. However, if you choose to smoke an innocuous plant which can cause good times to occur, that’s a crime worthy of years of incarceration. Government suppositions on drugs are nothing short of baseless and ludicrous, a web of infuriating hypocrisy laced with self serving cognitive dissonance.

Bad habits around anything can form and drugs are nothing special in that regard. As most already know drugs were not banned for our health, but rather the war on drugs was used as a control system, a tool for the powers that be to achieve political objectives. This fact is perfectly illustrated by a well known quote from John Ehrlichman, Nixon’s Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs:

The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar Left, and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black. But by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

Yet still the argumentation the establishment hides behind is some form of “Drugs are bad m’kay” rhetoric. But even the ideas around addiction itself have been exposed as lies and misrepresented through anti-drug campaigns with a rather sick desire to cast judgment on people. Propaganda created the visage of the drug user, a sad desperate creature with sunken eyes and lowly character willing to do anything for another hit. However, addiction isn’t so much about the chemical hooks of the substances themselves, but the desire to distract one’s self from the pain of a daily life unworthy of living. There isn’t a single plausible good reason to continue drug war insanity, yet it remains steadfastly weighted around the necks of the people.

The entire drug war is framed on the premise of being a net benefit to the people while government officials equivocate over the collateral damage that amounts to millions of lives destroyed from the implications of fighting the dumb fight. The most ironic thing is that many of the drugs which have negative effects on the quality of our consciousness are legal or relatively easily obtained with a prescription; e.g., anti-depressants, oxycontin.

If you want to feel numb and go through the motions in a dampened psychological state that will likely make you feel as if your emotions are encased in plastic wrap – then good news! You have lots of legal options to become a zombie, but if you want to feel alive, more connected, and hit the accelerator on understanding the cognitive dissonance rumbling through your mind – well, drugs that help you with that happen to be illegal in most states. It’s almost like they wanted to keep you dumb and numb on purpose.

America cannot be considered a free society with a straight face unless the choice of what we put into our own bodies and what we do with our consciousness is considered part of our innate free will as conscious beings on this planet. We are being robbed of the right to choose how to treat and care for our own mental and physical health over the nonsense government and corporate overreach promotes. The system they endorse seeks to use us for profit rather than help us, this is not symbiosis between government, business, and the people, this is top down parasitic behavior.

Drug schedules, like all immoral legislation, creates its own language and redefines words at a whim to find some ridiculous narrative to cower behind so they can continue to enforce policies that are arbitrary, deeply authoritarian, and paternalistic even in their euphemistic Orwellian dialect. Government officials are corporate fellating liars who are too afraid to have an honest open conversation mostly because they know they have no intellectual ground on which to stand. So they hide behind podiums at fabricated press conferences with false time restraints and if they are forced to briefly confront the issue they will lie directly, possibly not allow for rebuttal, and walk away with their socio-economic power like a child who doesn’t want others to play with their toys.

Sorry citizens, they’d totally sit down and have an in depth debate about these major issues we face, but you know, there is a fundraiser to get to, and a narcissists anonymous meeting they have to attend after. I’m quite sure they’ll issue a statement apologizing for their ever so busied schedules, and rest assured they’ll address these important and pressing issues at a later time, you know, when they can adequately study things out. Oh, and when they do “study it out”, they’ll have a little contrived court hearing or press conference where they will define the language, the scope of the arguments, what information is acceptable and what is not, what experts have merit and which do not, and provide strict ever so “necessary” time limits in debate.

Argumentation and logical constructs will be dismissed almost entirely in the decision making process, so if you thought reason might apply you thought wrong, at which point men who have scarcely read a book in their lives outside of their neoliberal echo-chamber will decide that the standing policies are truthful, responsible, and important for public health, perhaps even national security. The details won’t be discussed in an open dialogue, but they will wallow in equivocations until everyone shuts up in frustration while the banalities of evil in the status quo framework march right along in an endless cycle of pain.

The logic is unimportant to why elites are enacting these policies, as there is no logic pertaining to public good. Their actions only make sense when viewed with a lens of self promotion, profit seeking, venality, and exploitation. They opportunistically use their held leverage with the tools of capital, military, and the power of public offices to engineer a system of cronyism that works in a stilted hierarchy of power.

Drug enforcement gives local police reason to expand their budgets to fight a crime that isn’t one. They buy military style equipment and show up at your door with a small militia for the grave crime of growing a plant and smoking it.

This type of authoritarianism doesn’t work in a more true form of direct democracy, one that isn’t just democracy in name only, where representatives aren’t simply sold out elites who are put there because they are reliable useful idiots. It only takes a cursory objective glance at our society to understand that we do not live in a democracy at all. Not even close to one. The system is word-smithed into a democracy, but functionally more like a financial feudal system where the only options the public may choose from are bad and worse.

Becoming consciously aware of a new potential reality

So to briefly summarize the US government’s war on drugs – They, referring to the they that is the evil incarnation of destruction known as the US government, rebranded a definition of a thing called “drugs” which isn’t really a thing at all, but in doing so they could frame the drugs themselves and the users as a low class group of heathens. They then said these “drugs” were physically addictive in ways which was also a lie. They banned research on the “drugs” so as to make scientifically calling out the lies more difficult. They proceeded to carry out drug enforcement policies based on the lies in ways that were bigoted and cruel involving what amounts to kidnapping American people and placing them in cages for decades, known euphemistically as our rehabilitation system.

They let corporations create drugs that are worse for us than some of the banned substances and then sell these worse drugs back to us in a monopolistic system where they can charge whatever they want with no price regulations. They tore apart millions of families in this drug war while in the same insincere breath also tell us of family values and peaceful coexistence.

In search of these drugs police are legally empowered to break into homes and terrorize people, essentially let them do everything the 4th amendment of the constitution was supposed to protect against, and again, they let them do all this based on the lies they initially fabricated. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the flotsam that constitutes the drug war.

The fabrication of the drug war is a good example of the dangers of misplaced power given to governments and authoritarian control systems. The men in the Nixon administration were in no way qualified to assess what drugs should be banned on a medical level even if one could justify doing such a thing at all. They cited absurd reasoning for the laws and as far as I can tell with zero compassion or scientific backing, and now it seems it’s going to take something close to revolution to end this nebulous war that has killed so many people and saved so few.

I knew when writing on this subject I’m joining a long line of common dissent against the ludicrous nature of the drug war. Years of articles with frustrated writers like myself hammering away on the fetid dung pile of lies put forth by agencies like the FDA, CIA, and DEA who will lie in ways meant to flippantly outrage more reasonable opinions. It’s a show of power to lie with such hubris and rule without a shred of truth necessary. They have made it rather clear this not a debate, rather just another unjustifiable action taken by authoritarian oligarchs.

In some regard worrying about the drug war as a specific issue is what the installed social hierarchy wants. In an instant of selfish bigoted ignorance a government can pass laws that take decades to fully rescind. They know the public, who has limited resources, will waste them futilely chasing after an issue that is a symptom of the problem. The US government is aware the drug war depletes the resources of the people and energies that may be better served focusing on fundamentally reforming/rebooting this system. A system that is perhaps best termed as pure evil, as what else can you call a socio-economic system of control that has so little regard for life.

Lies can only persist through a misallocation of power. If one holds power they may force their lie onto others. A billionaire can keep abusing people, tell them its for their own good, and get away with it so long as they can create the social distance needed or the security forces employed to stave off reconciling the implications of those lies.

Why do we continue to accept the status quo system that does not need to provide any reason for its actions, it intentionally conflates language and bends meaning to whatever task it is trying to accomplish. After seizing control of language and subsequently manifesting bad ideas into corrupt law the neoliberal system of control will self congratulate themselves for their reprehensible actions and promote them as benefit to whatever is fashionable at that moment — public safety, jobs, democracy, freedom, health, “the children”; all the usual excuses for doing awful things. Under these ostensible nobilities the system will do whatever it wants even when it flies in the face of all good structured logic, reason, and humane action.

The most dangerous drugs of all are those which create reward systems based on the love of money, power, and status which have absorbed and rotted out the minds of elites. After the hooks have found traction in the ego-mind these addictions have the effect of leading to a mindset which forever capitulates to their own impulsive selfishness. The salvageable person who may have been there disappears and becomes lost to competitive vanities who will steal from the poor, murder, exploit, kidnap and imprison those who stand in the way of their self centered inclinations. The reward systems for power seem to cause more hedonist bloodlust than any plant or chemically manufactured substance. Furthermore, authoritarian addictions are a more dangerous threat to the world than any known drug, also more worthy of an addiction program.

We must let go of the old to let a new system begin. One that thinks different. One that is a psychedelically fueled to the ends of greater consciousness, joy, togetherness, and cooperation. A system built democratically and without social hierarchy that would never be systemically capable of letting a self centered egomaniac like Trump take charge because the process would have shot down all his ideas already under the premise they are antithetical to reason and human happiness.

A new way of being where the devil is off our backs, and the weight of carrying around a social hierarchy is dropped. The old sadistic addiction to power and ego has to be accounted for in all arrangements regarding social power structures, as power is the only drug worthy of banning.

Cannabis Cultivating Re-Visited

Sonoma County, California — Readers of this reporter’s August local and national articles on unpermitted cannabis growing expressed both appreciations and appropriate criticisms. Their feedback has made me aware of how complicated this issue is.

I am a patient at Peace in Medicine, a dispensary here in Sebastopol, California, and appreciate its CBD cannabis. It is essential to this 73-years-old person, as it is to other elders and those with a wide variety of health issues for which cannabis is an appropriate plant medicine.

Cannabis can be more healthy than some of the chemical medications to which people get addicted; it is better for one’s health than alcohol. Medications such as opioids can drastically worsen one’s health, create addictions, and even cause death.

“I got my cannabis card not to get stoned, which I am too old to do,” commented businessman Andy Cohen. “I use CBD topicals, as well as tinctures, because of my arthritis and gout. It works better than Tylenol or Ibuprofen. It doesn’t damage my liver or put a hole in my stomach.”

This article seeks to promote dialogue among cannabis growers, users, critics, government officials, and others. Participants in the expanding cannabis business have educated me about some of the complications, especially with respect to applying for permits and how expensive they are.

I support cannabis growing by locals on appropriate sites that do not damage water use by humans, other animals, and plants or harm nature in other ways. Such operations provide good agricultural employment for people. These small farms literally “keep families afloat,” as one cannabis farmer expressed.

Cannabis Growers and Allies Speak Up

I have visited small and medium-size cottage cannabis operations and been informed and impressed by responsible growers. Among the things they said are the following:

“The legalization of marijuana has opened a Pandora’s Box, which will have many unintended consequences.”

“We started growing high CBD medicinal cannabis for my cancer. We could not find it anywhere and realized we needed to grow it ourselves to insure purity and viability for my health. Unfortunately, we will also quit after this year’s harvest because of the severe and expensive regulations of the county. It’s heart-breaking that this vital medicine is being capitalized on and forcing intelligent, experienced growers out of the market.”

“I understand your frustration and anger with the recent opportunistic, irresponsible “wildcat” growers you are encountering, but I think it is a mistake to lump them together with people who have devoted their lives to improving marijuana strains and who feel strongly about the benefits it provides.”

“An impediment to getting small growers to apply for permits is that marijuana is still illegal as far as Federal law goes. Long-time small growers fear that by applying for permits they will become sitting ducks when and if the Feds decide to hold raids. Given the current political climate, this is a reasonable fear.”

“Mom and Pop cottage growers are being marginated by corporations.”

Marijuanaland: Dispatches from an American War is a recent book by Jonah Raskin. In a September article in the AVA (Anderson Valley Advertiser), from Mendocino County, he writes the following: “The cannabis story is a story of freedom and incarceration, a rags-to-riches story, as well as a tale about American capitalism, which will capitalize on anything and everything that’s profitable. Weed brings in big bucks.”

Sonoma County — along with the nearby Northern California Mendocino, Humboldt, and Marin counties — are the four largest growers of cannabis in the U.S. We are experiencing what some call the “green rush of capital” and the “corporatization of cannabis.” Multi-national corporations from outside that show little or no respect for the local environment or communities concerns many locals.

A September 10 New York Times article on Mendocino County reports that investors from Russia, China, Jamaica, Mexico, and Bulgaria are involved in marijuana growing there. Seven times more marijuana apparently is exported from California than used by the local market.

An estimated 5,000 cannabis cultivators exist in Sonoma County. That number may expand, since growing cannabis only became legal in 2016. Yet as of September 12 only 115 cannabis applications had been submitted. The August 31 deadline to submit an initial one-page application was extended to October 31, with the complete application due June 1, 2018.

“We want to see more cultivators coming out of the shadows and into the light,” said Supervisor Lynda Hopkins. “The solution is to bring all these growers into compliance,” said cannabis attorney Omar Figueroa. “A crackdown doesn’t work. We don’t need more prohibition. We need regulation.”

Neighbors Complain About Un-permitted Grows

Various people contacted this reporter about incidents similar to the two unpermitted operations here in the Blucher Creek Watershed, which I previously reported that neighbors were able to get shut down. They were environmentally destructive and problematic, especially to families with young children. Our Bloomfield/Lone Pine/Cunningham Neighborhood Association connected other nearby neighbors to the correct code enforcement officer, who got unpermitted cannabis grows removed.

“In our rural residential neighborhood a stop work order was issued last week to the owner of an operation, but the grow and the work toward harvest continues. People are camping on the property in at least one trailer,” said one neighbor.

“There is no septic or legal electrical power or plumbing. The only water source is a man-made seasonal pond that dries up by this time. A non-permitted road was cut through the entire eighty acre parcel up to the top where there are at least six large grow houses, each approximately one thousand square feet in size,” he added.

“We are concerned for our wells and springs with regard to the clear cutting of so many trees and then shoving them off the ungraded dirt road, which will likely turn to sludge as the rains come. Everyone in this once peaceful neighborhood is mindful of our water supply and use; we all work to maintain our shared dirt driveway. We are painfully aware that two of the largest and extremely devastating fires in California history were caused by illegal grow set-ups such as this one in our tiny neighborhood,” he concluded.

Among the positive responses to our interventions to support our rural neighborhood have been the following: “The neighbors’ actions inspire me to rouse from my ‘it’s inevitable’ victim attitude toward possibly illegal cannabis operations. Taking action against rule breakers has nothing to do with whether we ourselves are cannabis consumers, or how we feel about the burgeoning pot culture,” wrote Randi Farkas.

“With the legalization of cannabis, it’s important to move towards county policies of accountability on everyone’s part, including growers, lawmakers, code enforcement, clearly articulated zoning laws and neighbors not looking the other way, but holding their neighbors accountable. I voted yes to legalize cannabis growing. I did not vote yes to support black-market businesses that suck the life out of our communities,” wrote Roberta Teller.

It is important for governmental agencies and members of our communities to come together to ensure that we continue to enhance our economy, while keeping the integrity of our neighborhoods and environment in tact.

As one successful rural activist said, “Public exposure is what gets the attention of elected officials.”

Neighbors Shut Down Illegal Cannabis Grows

Sonoma County, Northern CaliforniaOne of the United States’ top four cannabis-growing counties is Sonoma County, California. In 2016, it became legal for adults to consume marijuana in California. One of the nation’s first dispensaries, Peace in Medicine, was founded here.

Disclosure: I’m a Peace in Medicine patient in small town Sebastopol. CBD-rich cannabis improves my health. I support legal cannabis growing that follows the rules and does not endanger creeks, wildlife, or neighbors, especially children.

Cannabis is a front-page story in our daily Press Democrat. “Environmentalists say proposed cannabis grow rules fail to protect wildlife,” headlines an August 9, 2017, article. It reports four groups faulting state rules for “failing to protect imperiled species.”

“The Center for Biological Diversity, a national conservation nonprofit,” the article continues, “and three allies filed a 36-page comment alleging numerous shortcomings in the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s draft report on the proposed standards for growing legal marijuana.”

Among the threatened wildlife are foxes, eagles, owls, bobcats, raccoons, fishers, and others. The harm comes mainly from eating poisons or rodents killed by toxins. A huge amount of water is needed for marijuana plants; it is often taken illegally from nearby streams and huge wells, compromising both neighbors and wildlife.

“Sixty percent of all cannabis grown in the country comes from four California counties: Sonoma, Marin, Mendocino, and Humboldt,” reports the July 4 issue of the region’s weekly Bohemian. Its support for cannabis includes headlines like “Off the Booze…and on the weed” and “Joint Venture: Wine and pot mergers are coming.”

The corporate wine industry has already purchased most of the local vineyards and wineries here in Sonoma County, displacing food farms and driving up land and home prices. Many locals have left for less expensive places and more privacy away from the massive tourism taking over the county.

“California’s cannabis industry is conservatively valued at $7 billion,” according to the Bohemian. Meanwhile, “the state’s grape crop is pegged at about $5 billion.” According to executive director of a cannabis industry trade group “70% or more growers will stay in the black market or find something else to do.” That would be many illegal sites.

Visiting an Illegal Grow Operation

A food farming neighbor here in Blucher Creek Watershed, Lari Adams, emailed this reporter August 7 that a new neighbor had just bulldozed a huge area to construct large cannabis grow buildings. We immediately visited the site—now a disaster to many life forms dependent on that water, including listed endangered California freshwater shrimp, much wildlife, vegetation, and humans.

“What we saw was jaw dropping.  Land cleared, all the topsoil pushed into the creek bed,” wrote Adams.  The environmental consequences will be long-lasting and hard to remedy soon, certainly not before the coming rains that farmers and others depend upon. Then plastic, silt, and sedimentation will wash into the stream, choking and polluting it downstream.

“Landscaping filled the tributary, so needed for flood protection. A 100-foot building replaced what three days prior was a virgin field.  Three more large building sites were cleared, and the topsoil pushed into the riparian zone.  Miles of plastic, barrels of chemicals, fertilizer piles, and marijuana plants arrived. We actually stood there mouths agape! How can this happen?” added Adams.

He contacted the Bloomfield/Lone Pine/Cunningham Neighborhood Association, which researched the parcel and moved promptly into action. No permits existed for this devastation. The violation was reported to various government officials and agencies, including County Supervisors David Rabbitt and Lynda Hopkins. They responded promptly and effectively.

“Illegal grows are a huge concern, environmentally and socially,” wrote Supervisor Hopkins. “Unfortunately they give the folks doing the right thing (going through County permitting processes and growing in appropriate locations) a bad name,” she added.

Neighbours Push Back

On the next day, representatives from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Board, the county’s Permit and Resources Management (PRMD), Supervisor Rabbitt’s office, and the Neighborhood Association met at Adams’ farm. The government officials visited the grow, and shut it down. Though the buildings are gone, the damage will be long lasting.

The new owner then put it up for sale, at a higher price, though to remedy his abuse will likely take years and thousands of dollars. We reminded his agent that a full disclosure was necessary; he took the “For Sale” sign down, though he did not take the listing off line.

Another neighbor showed the neighborhood group an un-permitted grow nearby. The group also managed to get that operation shut down. “Weeks ago, huge earth-moving equipment came onto the property that adjoins us, graded a large area and began to construct a massive greenhouse for commercial cannabis, all without a permit,” said Patrick Ball.

“Families with children live on both sides and across the street. We are on wells and worry about the massive amount of water a commercial cannabis operation consumes. If this is allowed on the large scale intended, we will have lost the safety, peace, and well-being that makes our neighborhood such a wonderful place to live,” Ball added.

“Country life shared with neighbors, wild animals that we see daily, domestic animals that we dearly love, and the habitat that we enjoy has been one of life’s greatest rewards,” writes Judy Logan, who lives nearby. “We must steward our land and water and be sensitive to endangered creatures to continue this lovely gift bestowed upon our hearts.”

Hundreds of such un-permitted cannabis operations are popping up around the county and elsewhere, especially in Northern California. This endangers food farming, as well as the environment and neighborhoods.

“I voted to legalize medical cannabis because I value its medical benefits,” writes Roberta Teller. “I hoped that instead of unregulated growers with unknown, questionable agricultural practices, legalization would guarantee a high quality product and consumers and members of the community would be protected from unsavory business operations,” she added.

“Unfortunately, this is not the case. We have a Cannabis Board filled with people from the industry. I know of a case where a realtor falsely advertised a property as agricultural in hopes for a quick sale to the next illegal grower,” Teller said.

“Land is being fenced off, fences are getting higher, animal habitats are being compromised and newly installed security cameras are spying on us. We need Sonoma County to step up to the job of regulating this already spiraling out-of-control Industry,” she concluded.

To cannabis growers out there, please do it the right way. Growing should not only benefit you financially, but also the environment, its many critters, and neighbors. The Bloomfield/Lone Pine/Cunningham Neighborhood Association watches cannabis growing carefully.

Growers without permits should avoid the Blucher Creek Watershed, which has a cannabis watch group with neighbors willing to work to shut you down, unless you have the necessary permits.

This group does not oppose appropriate, permitted cannabis growing. “I’m so grateful that medical CBD cannabis is now available,” wrote Alexandra Hart, co-founder of the neighborhood group. “It provides my 78-year-old arthritic body almost instant relief with no side effects, save a little, quite pleasant buzz. The speed with which the greedy are taking advantage without following environmental guidelines and neighborliness is distressing. Our human greed may well cost us our planet.”

Neighbors Shut Down Illegal Cannabis Grows

Sonoma County, Northern CaliforniaOne of the United States’ top four cannabis-growing counties is Sonoma County, California. In 2016, it became legal for adults to consume marijuana in California. One of the nation’s first dispensaries, Peace in Medicine, was founded here.

Disclosure: I’m a Peace in Medicine patient in small town Sebastopol. CBD-rich cannabis improves my health. I support legal cannabis growing that follows the rules and does not endanger creeks, wildlife, or neighbors, especially children.

Cannabis is a front-page story in our daily Press Democrat. “Environmentalists say proposed cannabis grow rules fail to protect wildlife,” headlines an August 9, 2017, article. It reports four groups faulting state rules for “failing to protect imperiled species.”

“The Center for Biological Diversity, a national conservation nonprofit,” the article continues, “and three allies filed a 36-page comment alleging numerous shortcomings in the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s draft report on the proposed standards for growing legal marijuana.”

Among the threatened wildlife are foxes, eagles, owls, bobcats, raccoons, fishers, and others. The harm comes mainly from eating poisons or rodents killed by toxins. A huge amount of water is needed for marijuana plants; it is often taken illegally from nearby streams and huge wells, compromising both neighbors and wildlife.

“Sixty percent of all cannabis grown in the country comes from four California counties: Sonoma, Marin, Mendocino, and Humboldt,” reports the July 4 issue of the region’s weekly Bohemian. Its support for cannabis includes headlines like “Off the Booze…and on the weed” and “Joint Venture: Wine and pot mergers are coming.”

The corporate wine industry has already purchased most of the local vineyards and wineries here in Sonoma County, displacing food farms and driving up land and home prices. Many locals have left for less expensive places and more privacy away from the massive tourism taking over the county.

“California’s cannabis industry is conservatively valued at $7 billion,” according to the Bohemian. Meanwhile, “the state’s grape crop is pegged at about $5 billion.” According to executive director of a cannabis industry trade group “70% or more growers will stay in the black market or find something else to do.” That would be many illegal sites.

Visiting an Illegal Grow Operation

A food farming neighbor here in Blucher Creek Watershed, Lari Adams, emailed this reporter August 7 that a new neighbor had just bulldozed a huge area to construct large cannabis grow buildings. We immediately visited the site—now a disaster to many life forms dependent on that water, including listed endangered California freshwater shrimp, much wildlife, vegetation, and humans.

“What we saw was jaw dropping.  Land cleared, all the topsoil pushed into the creek bed,” wrote Adams.  The environmental consequences will be long-lasting and hard to remedy soon, certainly not before the coming rains that farmers and others depend upon. Then plastic, silt, and sedimentation will wash into the stream, choking and polluting it downstream.

“Landscaping filled the tributary, so needed for flood protection. A 100-foot building replaced what three days prior was a virgin field.  Three more large building sites were cleared, and the topsoil pushed into the riparian zone.  Miles of plastic, barrels of chemicals, fertilizer piles, and marijuana plants arrived. We actually stood there mouths agape! How can this happen?” added Adams.

He contacted the Bloomfield/Lone Pine/Cunningham Neighborhood Association, which researched the parcel and moved promptly into action. No permits existed for this devastation. The violation was reported to various government officials and agencies, including County Supervisors David Rabbitt and Lynda Hopkins. They responded promptly and effectively.

“Illegal grows are a huge concern, environmentally and socially,” wrote Supervisor Hopkins. “Unfortunately they give the folks doing the right thing (going through County permitting processes and growing in appropriate locations) a bad name,” she added.

Neighbours Push Back

On the next day, representatives from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Board, the county’s Permit and Resources Management (PRMD), Supervisor Rabbitt’s office, and the Neighborhood Association met at Adams’ farm. The government officials visited the grow, and shut it down. Though the buildings are gone, the damage will be long lasting.

The new owner then put it up for sale, at a higher price, though to remedy his abuse will likely take years and thousands of dollars. We reminded his agent that a full disclosure was necessary; he took the “For Sale” sign down, though he did not take the listing off line.

Another neighbor showed the neighborhood group an un-permitted grow nearby. The group also managed to get that operation shut down. “Weeks ago, huge earth-moving equipment came onto the property that adjoins us, graded a large area and began to construct a massive greenhouse for commercial cannabis, all without a permit,” said Patrick Ball.

“Families with children live on both sides and across the street. We are on wells and worry about the massive amount of water a commercial cannabis operation consumes. If this is allowed on the large scale intended, we will have lost the safety, peace, and well-being that makes our neighborhood such a wonderful place to live,” Ball added.

“Country life shared with neighbors, wild animals that we see daily, domestic animals that we dearly love, and the habitat that we enjoy has been one of life’s greatest rewards,” writes Judy Logan, who lives nearby. “We must steward our land and water and be sensitive to endangered creatures to continue this lovely gift bestowed upon our hearts.”

Hundreds of such un-permitted cannabis operations are popping up around the county and elsewhere, especially in Northern California. This endangers food farming, as well as the environment and neighborhoods.

“I voted to legalize medical cannabis because I value its medical benefits,” writes Roberta Teller. “I hoped that instead of unregulated growers with unknown, questionable agricultural practices, legalization would guarantee a high quality product and consumers and members of the community would be protected from unsavory business operations,” she added.

“Unfortunately, this is not the case. We have a Cannabis Board filled with people from the industry. I know of a case where a realtor falsely advertised a property as agricultural in hopes for a quick sale to the next illegal grower,” Teller said.

“Land is being fenced off, fences are getting higher, animal habitats are being compromised and newly installed security cameras are spying on us. We need Sonoma County to step up to the job of regulating this already spiraling out-of-control Industry,” she concluded.

To cannabis growers out there, please do it the right way. Growing should not only benefit you financially, but also the environment, its many critters, and neighbors. The Bloomfield/Lone Pine/Cunningham Neighborhood Association watches cannabis growing carefully.

Growers without permits should avoid the Blucher Creek Watershed, which has a cannabis watch group with neighbors willing to work to shut you down, unless you have the necessary permits.

This group does not oppose appropriate, permitted cannabis growing. “I’m so grateful that medical CBD cannabis is now available,” wrote Alexandra Hart, co-founder of the neighborhood group. “It provides my 78-year-old arthritic body almost instant relief with no side effects, save a little, quite pleasant buzz. The speed with which the greedy are taking advantage without following environmental guidelines and neighborliness is distressing. Our human greed may well cost us our planet.”

Deviant Diva: Schapelle Corby Returns to Australia

In his work on celebrity, Daniel Boorstin drew a firm line under a field that has since become the mirror of its own study, in industry within media studies.  The modern celebrity, he surmised, is “well-known for their own well-knownness”.

The celebrity as criminal came later, but was nonetheless an outgrowth of the same aspect, boosted, in no small part, by curiosity and plain voyeurism.  Australia’s Schapelle Corby, to take one example in this dubious pantheon of figures, found herself swept up in a heady discourse of rage and presumption once she was intercepted at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar on October 8, 2004.

She had, in her possession, 4.2 kilos of cannabis concealed in a carry bag designed for holding surfboards.  In May 2005, she was found guilty of drug importation, receiving a 20 year sentence instead of the more conclusive ending of a firing squad.  Former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono shaved five years off her sentence, accepting grounds of mental illness. In February 2014, she was granted conditional parole and released, remaining in Indonesia till this month.

Even now, the media vultures ponder her next move on Australian soil.  Will she give an exclusive?  Will she defy criminal restrictions on charging for any story she might divulge?  For now, the Courier Mail is keen to announce that she is being protected by that “bodyguard to the stars” John McCleod, whose credits include protecting “the Dalia Lama, Lady Gaga and Roger Federer”.

What Corby became, over time, was an encoded, cultural message, cipher to frustration, indignation and a pulpit for the irate sermon.  She was deemed pretty.  Her tear ducts worked with intensity, her face a mess of manicured grief.  Her audience was polarised, though a Morgan poll taken a week after her conviction suggested that 51 percent of Australians thought her innocent.

With the Internet in 2005 already a phenomenon of viral intensity, spreading messages and anger at speed, sympathy for Corby became a matter of patriotic necessity.  That Indonesia had a separation of powers doctrine that prevented the government from directly tampering with a judicial verdict was an inconvenient fact: surely third world countries did that sort of thing with casual indifference.  And the trial should have been conducted in English!

The Corby campaign soon realised the potency of focusing on the Indonesian justice system, and Indonesians in general, capitalising, to no small extent, on the trauma of the Bali bombings of October 2002 where 88 of the 202 killed were Australians.

Fantasies of violence, usually directed against Indonesians, became the norm.  Prosecutor Ida Bagus Wiswantanu became a conspicuous target.  Bloggers came with various suggestions verging on lunacy, many not falling that far short of military intervention, assisted by Australia’s elite SAS force.

There were calls that Australian aid for a tsunami-ravaged country be recalled to make an example of its creaky judicial system. The Corby affair became such a boiling matter as to make Australia’s foreign minister Alexander Downer call for sober reflection.  Indonesia’s courts were “legitimately established.  Just because courts are in Indonesia isn’t a reason to conclude that their courts are somehow completely corrupt and unacceptable.”

Similarities were immediately spotted with Australia’s previous female crime celebrity.  Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton rushed a note to Corby in her Bali prison soon after the verdict was handed down.  “Seeing your verdict and the reaction to it made me feel like I had been kicked all over again.  My heart bleeds for you.”

Chamberlain-Creighton had herself been the object of media combing, damning and objectification, a devil, or darling, of spectacle. In 1980, her nine week old daughter Azaria disappeared from an Uluru campsite, whisked away, so she claimed, by an enterprising dingo.  The words uttered at this occurrence were immortalised in print and subsequently by Meryl Streep in a manner more strained than strine: “The dingo’s got my baby.”

Tongues wagged; rumours swirled, and the report by the Northern Territory Deputy Coroner Elizabeth Morris in 2012 eventually concluded that the dingo most probably did it.  All other “reasonable possibilities” had been excluded.

Location, padded with meaning, is all important in this.  Each incident had its sizzling site, its capturing mystery. In the case of Azaria’s disappearance, there was the demon fanged dingo lurking in hostile territory, the dreaded, swallowing Australian interior; in the case of Corby, her actions took place in Bali, a place feminist Anne Summers has rightly noted to be “a tropical paradise that has served as a national balm” for Australians.

The Corby phenomenon also edged its way into gender narratives, with notions of “gender-inflicted media messages” that prove almost assaulting in their quality.  Scholars wishing to make their mark in the crowded field of deviant discourse have suggested that the treatment of Corby heralded a new species of criminal: the “deviant diva”.

Transgression could be linked, not merely to the crime committed, but gender. Mangled terms of heavy clunk have been introduced, including that advanced by Belinda Middleweek: the “celebrified criminal”.

Ultimately, one feels for such rarefied, categorised figures. They erred, but became conduits for parochial indignation.  Even now, journalists such as Larry Pickering insist on holding the torch with zeal, noting such “anomalies” as “AFP involvement and missing CCTV tapes from three separate airports.”[7] Ordinary folly becomes a matter of heroic tragedy rather than bungled miscalculation.  Idiocy assumes the form of idealised innocence writ large. Such is the lot of the modern deviant diva.

Vermont Governor Blows Smoke With Legal Marijuana Veto

Vermont, of all places, offers the latest example of how marijuana makes people crazy, the people in this case being the Republican governor and most of the Republican Party. For all the “Reefer Madness” propaganda from governments over the past century, the real madness comes from opponents of marijuana, not its users or proponents.

Vermont governor Phil Scott waited until the last possible moment on May 24 to issue his veto of the  24-page bill (Senate bill S.22) passed by both houses of the legislature (Senate 20-9, House 79-66): An Act Relating to Eliminating Penalties for Possession of Limited Amounts of Marijuana by Adults 21 Years of Age and Older. The bill stops way short of full legalization, treating marijuana like aspirin, but it represents a major shift toward sanity and scientific reality that American populations seem to be slowly insisting that their governments address.

Gov. Scott, albeit in a slippery, mealy-mouthed way, is firmly in the rearguard reactionary camp, saying “reasonable” things while still defending the “values” of J. Edgar Hoover and drug fascists everywhere. To be fair, Gov. Scott has not yet encouraged a police and vigilante murder spree against “drug dealers” such as we’re now seeing in the Philippines, but he’s on the same spectrum of state control and intolerance.

The essence of S.22 is clearly stated in the bill (as approved, page 10):

Sec. 1. LEGISLATIVE INTENT; CIVIL AND CRIMINAL PENALTIES It is the intent of the General Assembly to eliminate all penalties for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana and two mature and four immature marijuana plants for a person who is 21 years of age or older while retaining criminal penalties for possession, dispensing and sale of larger amounts of marijuana. This act also retains civil penalties for possession of marijuana by a person under 21 years of age, which are the same as for possession of alcohol by a person under 21 years of age.

This is only a baby step toward marijuana sanity. It is a measure of our cultural myopia that even this minimal, largely symbolic measure still provokes a reefer madness response. Read the legislative intent carefully: all it really does is remove the criminal threat from limited activity a good many people already engage in covertly.

Gov. Scott tries to sound reasonable in his veto message:

With a libertarian streak in me, I believe that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children…. I have supported, and continue to support, medical marijuana laws and decriminalization.

Even his “reasonableness” has nasty hooks. Decriminalization isn’t limited to “behind closed doors and on private property,” that’s a dishonest, self-contradictory concept. To focus on “especially children” in a bill aimed at adults over 21 is an equally deceitful bit of demagoguery.

Gov. Scott’s performance with regard to S.22 is an exercise in blatant bad faith. He did not engage in the legislative process to attempt to shape a bill he would sign, he did not engage in the legislative process meaningfully at all. Everything he’s done is consistent with delaying tactics, with the possible goal of preventing any change while amiably seeming reasonable about his behavioral rigidity. Gov. Scott is saying we should go slow (the familiar mantra that usually means “never”) and he has made no good faith effort to go at all.

“We must get this right,” Scott writes, adding that that “means letting the science inform any policy….” Then he proceeds to stand with the anti-science tradition that classifies marijuana with heroin. He cites no science in support of his views, perhaps because there is none and has been none for a long, long time. Even though marijuana science is politicized and selectively under-funded, scientists keep finding less and less danger from marijuana. The governor doesn’t even try to engage in an honest risk/benefit analysis of marijuana safety. To be in favor of a ban on marijuana without trying to ban tobacco is as stupid as it is irrational.

Perhaps because he has no compelling, rational argument, Gov. Scott uses his three-page veto message to raise the specter of mostly unnamed and undefined public and safety issues (referred to at least sixteen times). The desperation of his demagoguery is his single, specific “scientific” example: “Secondhand marijuana smoke can negatively impact a child’s brain development. Therefore, if an adult is smoking marijuana in a car or a confined space with a child this should be severely penalized.” And other secondhand smoke is OK?

“We can all work together on this issue in a comprehensive and responsible way,” Gov. Scott writes near the end of his veto message. This is true. Gov. Scott could have done as much when the legislation was introduced. He did not. He shows no sign now of being comprehensive (whatever that might mean), much less responsible.

The governor’s official state page declares:

Governor Phil Scott became the 82nd Governor of Vermont on January 5, 2017. He previously served three terms as Vermont’s Lieutenant Governor, and as a Senator for Washington County. As Governor, he has committed to making a difference in the lives of Vermonters by growing the state’s economy, making Vermont more affordable, and restoring faith and trust in government.

This is a mountebank’s creed. Believe it at your peril. As Nixon’s campaign manager turned attorney general so long ago warned: pay no attention to what we say, watch what we do. For all his smarmy “recommendations,” Gov. Scott stands squarely in defense of an insane criminal system that fills prisons with nonviolent drug “offenders” for the sake of sanctimonious hypocrisy, racial discrimination, and private prison profits.