Off to Missouri

18 years ago I landed in California. It was a 4 month position that brought me here. I was here something like 5 years before it really dawned on me that I might be staying. Life can be funny like that. Tomorrow evening I pack up the dogs and head to Missouri. The dogs know something is in the air, they had their first fight in 2 years earlier today.
Added the wiring harness to my car for the trailer lights, replaced a belt and the battery yesterday. Today the trailer got re-wired and the hubs get greased. Tomorrow the trailer hitch goes on the car. Then there is nothing left to do but load the trailer and hit the road.
It will be a long slow ride across the southern route. Rain in the bay means snow in the mountains, and we’ve been getting a fair amount of rain. I can’t imagine I can get there before Sunday. I am going to be babying my little car, the trailer’s max speed is 55, I’ll be putting along with the slowest of the trucks.
I’ve been visiting folks and saying my goodbyes. Had a final Peets coffee as well as southwest nachos from
Pepitos Deli, and a chicken garlic cheese-steak (it had been a while and it was a disappointment how much the quality of
Philadelphia Cheese-steak on University had declined) . Hit Point Isabel twice today, this evening for a final visit, I can’t imagine that Shadow will ever be back again. She enjoyed her last dip in the bay, no way to convey to her that it is all about fresh water from here on out. Just watched the sun set behind the Golden Gate… I guess nothing else is holding me here.

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Camping Anecdote

So I am still camping in Southern California. The Mojave became too hot so I migrated to the Sequoia National Forest East of Bakersfield. I am on the rim of the Kern River canyon, maybe 1200 feet above the river itself. I think these are the Piute Mountains. At some point I when I am near a keyboard I will summarize the trip. As of now I am tapping this out on my tablet, so a short anecdote will have to suffice. Probably won’t be back in civilization to actually post it for 4 or 5 more days.
I took a 4 wheel drive trail off of highway 178 and slowly navigated about 5 miles up to the canyon rim, bumping and scraping my way along. I found a pretty little knoll with gnarly live oaks, wild flowers galore, buckeyes, and not too many cows, and with lots of squirrels for Smoke to chase (my fear being that that dog will chase one off a cliff.)
After setting up camp and making coffee, I kicked back to relax and enjoy the bird songs and the view. Not too long later I hear a motorcycle putting up the hill. As he nears camp I wave and he puts into camp. As he pulls his helmet off, he says, “Dude, you totally ruined my whole day.”
Somewhat takin aback I inquire what I could have done to ruin his day?
And he replies, “I bought this trail bike for Christmas, today is my first real ride. I loaded it on my truck this morning and drove as far as I could up this hill, then I unloaded the bike and continued up the hill. I’m riding along thinking this is really getting away from it all, I’m riding where very few people get to go. Then I come around a bend and what do I see? A f*#king Toyota Yarris. The only way you could have made it worse was if you asked where the nearest Starbucks is.”
I pointed out that I already had coffee or I might have. I offered him a cup, which he accepted, and we talked for maybe half an hour. Then he said he had to get up the hill a ways so that he could at least tell his friends that his new trail bike made it further up the hill than a Toyota Yarris did.
I didn’t see him come back down the mountain so he must have found another way down, or he’s still up there.

Just to add before posting: got 2 or 3 inches of rain Tuesday and Wednesday, it came with 35 mph winds with 75 mph gusts. Holy cow, I think hurricanes sustain 72 mph and above. It was some crazy wind, but the tent withstood it.

Prop 19, last minute thoughts (free flow of ideas)

In 1913 California was the first state to make marijuana illegal.  In 2 days it may be the first State to make cannabis legal.

In the earlier, prohibitionist, fight; it took 24 years for the nation to follow.  If we tax/regulate/control cannabis this Tuesday, will it take another 24 years for the nation to follow?

Since the initiative has a “severability” clause, if the main gist of the intitiative is found to be illegal by the Federal courts, we will have 2 new cannabis felonies on the books….and still no legal pot.  I bet we would feel foolish then.

1996 is known as the medicalization of marijuana, will 2010 be the industrialization?

I kind of have warm feelings for the small scale family farms that we have today, a classic cottage industry.  Will those warm  fuzzies carry over to the sterile warehouse grows?

What about energy consumption?  We already have rolling blackouts when consumption is high.  What if 5% of Californian households put a 1000 watt bulb in their closets?  Will the cities go dark?

If this industrialization initiative fails to pass, will we have a good decrim initiative in 2012?  Will the world end if we do?  Or don’t?

Tax.  Control.  Regulate.  Did the initiative’s author, Richard Lee, think this would fire up the base?  Did he take the base for granted and play for the middle?  Will he learn a lesson if this initiative fails to pass?

I don’t think I have ever voted to increase taxes that were not earmarked for a particular item (usually schools or drug treatment).

I currently spend 3 to 5000 dollars a year on pot…  And that is with a very generous employee discount from some awesome friends.  Will I spend less after the initiative?  My current tax on (an average) $4000/year is $350 dollars.  That same 4k will cost me an extra $800 in taxes ($50/ounce), that gets added to the $350 I already pay.  Will the overall price come down?  How?

Is Dennis Peron really a bad guy, as Chis Conrad claims?  I always had a personable likeness for Dennis.

If we vote this down, will the forces of prohibition use it as pretext to attempt to roll back our recent gains?

Can we blame Richard Lee if they do?

I can’t wait for Wednesday morning, it is like Christmas…or Pandora’s box.

Edit: Full disclosure, I earn a living in the medicinal cannabis industry.

Why pot won’t be legalized (California)

This November, Californians have the opportunity to vote on Proposition 19, The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010.

Full disclosure: I make my living from the medicinal cannabis industry;  if this law passes, I lose my job.

In 1996 Californians passed medical pot by a 58/42 majority.  That initiative was powered by a movement.  The current initiative does not have a movement, it has an industry.  Industry is good for raising money, but not so good at get out the vote activities.  The current initiative is polling at about 44%.

It seems that Prop 19 was written by a small group of people, another thing that sets it apart from 215.  The concerns of the community were never aired, let alone considered.  As a result, there are a lot of people whom one would expect to be for legalizing pot, who have come out against it. [One striking example is Dennis Peron, the mover and shaker who got us medical pot.]

Ok, so that answers the question of the title of this post, because it won’t pass.  But let’s assume it does pass.

If you look at the text of Prop 215 you will note that it is but a single page long.  A straight forward, no frills, easily understood initiative.  Compare that to Prop 19, 6 dense pages that requires a legal degree to understand.  Look at how the courts had to interpret Prop 215 at each step along the way, then imagine the field day the courts will have with 19 [Maybe we should call it the The Attorney Full Employment Act]

Then there is the little problem of the federal government.  Prop 215 used weasel words (recommendation instead of prescription) to avoid direct conflict with the feds.  The current initiative takes no such steps, they seem to invite federal intervention.  The Federal Controlled Substances Act supersedes state law making the cultivation or sales of marijuana a felony.   If this law is passed, numerous injunctions will be filed on the very next day.

The initiatives authors could have avoided this.  A simple decriminalization would have flown under the fed’s radar.  It would have maintained the cottage industry that has sprung up as a result of 215.  It would have been simple and unambiguous.  Further, waiting for the presidential election would have ensured good turnout to aid in getting it passed.

But this initiative’s author(s) were so blinded by profits and consolidation of the industry that they failed to see that they were setting the marijuana movement back 10 years.  By this rash and greedy action, we all suffer.  It does not matter if the law passes or not, the movement is pinched and stunted just the same.

I don’t vote, so that saves the quandary of how I should vote on the initiative.  [Hint: Tax, Control, and Regulate are not my favorite key words] I mostly stay neutral when discussing it.  I figure that to actively oppose it would require that I quit my job if it failed to pass.

All the hand wringing that the clubs, the growers, the blacks, the rural areas, the south, or the whoever is going to spoil the vote turns out to be nonsense.  The culprits are the initiative’s sponsors, this is the wrong law at the wrong time.  Unfortunate but true.

Edit: So I got a call from someone who had read this asking if I was really against the initiative.  I’m not really against it, I am neutral.  I just think its backers fucked the rest of us over.  To be clear, I SUPPORT THE FULL LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA, I like pot.  Unfortunately, this initiative will not give us legal marijuana.  Prop 215 was all about the patients, Prop 19 is ALL about greed and consolidation of the industry.  One was an initiative of the people, the other is an initiative of the corporate marijuana industry (created by prop 215).  As an anarchist, I obviously will not vote for or against it.  It DOES NOT MATTER if this law passes, it will not make marijuana legal.  If I don’t think it matters if it passes, if I think the attempt screwed us–win or lose; that leaves me agnostic on the initiative.  Got it?