A Warning Letter to The Emerald Triangle About Legalization of Cannabis In CA Prior to Prop 64 passing in Nov 2016 (Written July 2016)
Like many of you I imagine, I feel deep sorrow to read these endless articles of busts and guerrilla grows in The Emerald Triangle; poisoning the planet is despicable, no doubt about it. But I must stand up and say, I am equally unsettled to read about legalization, being the solution to all of our woes.
Undoubtedly environmental degradation, which exists today (in nearly all industries) must seize; however I do not understand what would positively change in regards to policing the environment, if legalization were in place. There are at least four flaws in the pro-legalization argument that I can see, which contradict this notion of effectiveness in resolving environmental degradation.
First, how are the police going to be any more effective in a legalized society, as they are today? Let us not forget, guerrilla growing has always been illegal. Yet, with approximately 30% of the county budget, those sparkly new SUVs, weapons, civil forfeiture, advanced drones and spy technology, it is still thriving today.
Not-to mention, locals can surly concur when I remind them that, police presence is not always in the best interests of our community or the environment, but rather corporate interests (i.e.: Willits bypass, Richardson Grove, Wal-Mart, homeless, gmo labeling, fracking, pipelines, forest clear-cutting, the list goes on). How would this circumstance be different with cannabis?
Another inconsistency I see is, how can we believe growers, who do not care about the planet today; intend to follow environmental regulations, if CA legalized? Regardless if there is increased regulation or police enforcement, whether legal, or not, it doesn’t matter. Most people tend to do what they have to do to survive, with little to no regard for ecosystem impact, unfortunately.
We live within a social structure that rewards violence, the conqueror mentality and a denial of natural laws on every level. It seems the same disease that causes growers to riddle the forests with rat poisons and grow more, to that which causes most police to serve corporations, over The People.
If you think about it, with an open heart and mind, regardless of your ability to have compassion or understanding around why “criminals” act the way they do, we can hopefully all agree; if there were living wage jobs and opportunities for all to procure their basic human needs, no one would choose the life of a guerrilla grower who poisons the planet, just to hope to feed their families, right?
Last I heard, it is not so glamorous, camping out in a forest, likely getting paid a small fraction of those who pay them, to live a dirty, isolated existence, with sustenance in the realm of ramen, hot dogs and beer. But we never obtain this part of the story from the mainstream media. We just hear that the police found one of many “bad guy grows”, one of thousands of needles in a small haystack. We hear nothing about, why the needle or haystack exists in the first place, or how that is being remedied.
It is also worth reminding folks that, those plants that were pulled, will get replanted there or elsewhere inevitably. The police didn’t even catch the growers (not that I wish that for them), and it is interesting to note, this is typical of police ability. If they cannot catch the grower, and we can guarantee more plants will be planted, with more water and poisons used; then the police didn’t actually accomplish anything, even on a surface level. It seems nothing has changed after these busts, other than an enormous waste of your hard-earned tax dollars, endlessly spent to fund a war on, the poor ultimately.
At the end of the day, people need to eat, that is why we all do what we do, whether you are a cop, a trespass grower, homeless and/or work for a corporation. No amount of government force, fees, fines or regulations will change this constant theme that, we all need to procure our basic needs and there are only so many ways to do so.
Any organic farmer can concur, imbalanced environments, breed disease in plants/nature. And if we do not address the environmental circumstances, which initially created the imbalance, the disease will continue to grow more and more problematic, as we see today. Contrary to popular doctrines, people are not above, but apart of nature, and so, apart of this truth too. Having a healthy planet, plant, society or person, requires balance in our environment, which is largely not the case.
With all of the national and local stories of race driven (economically disabled, etc.) police brutality, and before we vote to legalize growing a plant, under this current system of law, I feel it is prime time that we at least demand for police to become peace officers. If they insist on waging war of any kind, they should redirect their focus from their ongoing war on the poor, instead towards a war against poverty, which requires NO WEAPONS. Wouldn’t that be amazing to see a peace officer offer a hand to those in need, those disenfranchised, or anyone suffering; rather than criminalize them and further perpetuate this system of violence? Coming from a stanch resistor, I would gladly pay taxes for this service.
I wonder, at what point our community of peaceful farmers became convinced that a group who dominates, overpowers, uses coercion to control, weapons, and violence to try to combat violence; could have anything to say about enforcing sustainable communities/ecosystems? It seems an obvious oxymoron to me. Almost every national and local headline confirm the fact that the government and law enforcement are ineffective in regards to maintaining healthy societies and a healthy planet.
If we parallel global and local woes such as environmental degradation, hate, violence, police misconduct/brutality, government corruption and yes even legalization, I see the Emerald Triangle missing very deep systemic issues and structural contradictions here. We, the back-to-the-landers, the anarchists, the earth loving rebels, are reaching out to a government and affiliate groups, who have a plan for regulating us that is by structural design proven ineffective and unsustainable. We have hopes that the government will save the planet and us from another “boogie man in the bush,” in exchange for our consent to be regulated, and most of our money (via millions state-wide in fees and taxes). But are we convinced they are capable of serving us, our community, or the environment appropriately?
Can you recall a single government regulation, which brought sustainability? Thomas Linzey acclaimed environmental and human rights lawyer, co-author of the Ecuadorian Constitution, the School of Democracy, among many community ordinances says, “Sustainability is illegal, under our current system of law.” At a speech he gave at Lane College in Oregon, Linzey also quotes a fellow activist saying, “The only thing environmental regulations regulate, are environmentalists, making our behavior predictable.” When Linzey investigated thousands of regulations put in place nationally, to determine if our voted-on regulations had any positive influence, he found, we had virtually no positive effects in enforcing rules against corporation’s destruction of our planet and communities.
Linzey states, “We do not live in a democracy,” and “the Constitutional structure of the United Sates, was never intended to be democratic.” After years of heart-felt attempts to legally defend communities like ours (Mendocino) in the face of destructive corporate interests, Linzey realized, there is no way to help communities achieve their goals of protecting the community and environment long-term, in our current system of law. So in place of becoming predictable (regulating farmers least likely to need regulating), while ignoring the root of these deeper issues, I say we also heed Linzey’s suggestion and “dismantle the entire system of law.”
Band-Aids atop gushing wounds, does not have to be the method for healing here in the Emerald Triangle, we do not need to rush to legalize. I say we do what we’ve always done, and work to heal in deeper, planet supporting fashions, regardless of the propaganda perpetuated to keep us separate and afraid. I know how much we love the environment here, but it seems we are being snookered into walking down an unsustainable road, by our own rhetoric. Dare I say, Bob Marley is rolling over in his grave to change his lyrics to “Decriminalize it…”
Our community is so wise, so giving, so unified, with hearts focused on permaculture in all facets of life. Why fund our own further victimization by an institution, which wages war endlessly, including a war on our planet, our forests, our families and community for generations? What was the entire struggle for, if we hand this sacred plant over to government and corporate control, in times when mother earth demands we do otherwise?
What are you here for? If your answer is money, this Letter is not for you. This letter is for the countless conscious farmers sowing this soil for change, for heart centered reasons, happy families, educated, conscious communities, growing organic food, living self-sufficiently, enabled to share and volunteer to make the world a better place.
This might not be a super popular idea right away, because it requires some transition, time, and faith in that which is greatly indefinable. However, one big misunderstanding that I see plaguing The Emerald Triangle and society at large (no thanks to the mainstream media) is to believe we require police for protection, or similarly government for social order. Can you imagine a world where we didn’t need police for protection, or government for social order, because our systems and beliefs supported peace?
In order to move past the spots on the leaves to the root of the imbalance, I wish to pose this question: what if there is no such thing as evil, a person or group of humans in; Humboldt, Afghanistan, Iraq, in Louisiana, in Minnesota, Texas, in any state, or any culture? What if violence is mere consequence of our current beliefs and system’s social manifestations, which inspires the very human behavior that we all wish to see discontinued? Instead of the gun being the problem, is it not the mind of the man who pulls the trigger? Or rather, not the “evil grower,” but the circumstances, which create and reward that behavior, that must be resolved?
Humans have basic needs, of which, most are not met. This is what we need to individually and collectively do our part to address, conscious of it’s interconnectedness and in every realm. This violent destruction of the environment, this destruction happening to people on all levels, is derived from misinformation, which will continue to exist, until we address the root of the issue authentically. It’s time for humans to evolve beyond this outdated system not built to serve us, in place of flailing in attempts to influence change from within it.