If you have "no place to go," come here!

How Does Your Garden Grow? Pt. 1

chicago dyke's picture

I'm only able to write part one tonight, more later.
Gosh, Obama pissed me off today ["clean" internet users: skim down to the end for the non-DFH related point to this post].Yes, that's not new, and no news to this blog. Ironically, he did so on one of those verboten issues that "stains" bloggers like me just by their very mention: he giggled at the idea, put forth by lots of 'reglar' folks at one of his outreach websites/media tools, that marijuana normalization is Serious. Worse, he slurred the online political community in the process, furthering the meme that all of us who write, speak, read and think about policy with online tools are Dirty Fucking Hippies and Hopheads. You know, not like Real Americans, such as the Two Wetsuits Good guy, or Senator Diapers 'n' Hookers.

I guess I don't write about pot policy more because to me, it's beyond obvious. Everything that our government does with respect to pot is ass-backwards. It's racist, expensive, wasteful, hypocritical, stupid, anti-environmental, supportive of terrorism, and a lost cause. I assume that all thinking people more or less agree with me, or at least admit that research, science, the history of policy, and the example of other nations, pro and con, back that up. It annoys me how many "progressives" and liberals remain silent, in this period in which we make all the mistakes of alcohol prohibition, but more seriously and at greater cost. But such is the price of being a Loyalist- no Serious Democrat speaks about legalization, ever, nor of any kind. We've spent a lot of time talking about Big Problems like why the "bailout" plans are a horror; I'm going to spend a little time talking about why Obama's remarks today are a smaller scale version, but big example of the same problem.

How many reasons can you come up with, which suggest and prove that marijuana normalization is the right and proper course for a civilized society? Never mind me, Glennzilla will be speaking on this topic at CATO on the 16th of April; I'll let him throw down hard data and numbers for me. But just tossing off, let's see what I can come up with:

1. Racism
This is my biggest beef with the "war on drugs." An entire generation of people of color in this country has been effectively disenfranchised as a direct result of an over-focus on their participation in this part of the "underground" economy. Some for drugs other/in addition to pot, but no small number for dealing, smoking, and sharing the Evil Weed. Please, take a moment to add the documentary "Grass" to your Netflix queue. You'll see, if you don't already know, that its heart, anti-pot policy is born and bred from simple, ugly racism- Black Jazz musicians who sleep with white women, a meme from days of yore that still, won't die. Obama, our first " black" president, has seemingly no sympathy for this historical reality. And they call me "oreo," snort.

2. Revenue
I hope I'm not, ah, burning all my progressive creds by making this um, high up there on my list, but I do believe in logical taxation which supports social programs and policy, based on sound and real economic analysis. Is there a better, more reliable way to generate income for social programs, than the taxation of what/how people pleasure themselves? I've noted that cigarettes and booze have been increasingly taxed over time, and I expect more reliance on such taxation, by states and other government entities, as federal revenue streams break down. What choice do poor areas have? But done properly, on a national scale, I think that incredible things, progressive things, could be done with the tax revenue generated from the multi-billion (trillion?) dollar trade in soft drugs. Just like is the case with booze, cigs, and other "sin" taxes the state is perfectly comfortable imposing right now. It's all about the money!

3. Environment
Pot is a plant, indeed, a weed. As in: grows easily, without the need for pesticides and chemicals. A small pot farm could support a whole family, and at the same time, leave acres and acres of space for native plant life and reclamation. In this country, we don't really have "family farms" anymore, but with hemp cultivation, we could. Dood, think of what this country could be like, wealth-wise, if we replace Amsterdam as the #1 Western producer/manufacturer/destination for pot trade. Not to mention all the space we'd have to restore and reclaim our open lands for other agricultural projects. There is a long list of benefits that would result from turning over big sections of our nation's agricultural landscapes to hemp production. Hell, the government even encouraged our farmers to do so, as recently as WWII.

4. Energy
I'm a little weak on this one, but my understanding is that "non-smokable" industrial hemp oil is a great fuel source, as biodiesel. Again, I understand that "industrial" hemp is easy to grow, sans fertilizer, petrochemicals, etc., and is a flush cash crop. Energy independence at hand! With widespread working class employment, and the benefits of local production. Seems like a no-brainer to me, at least as it could be one piece of the energy-independence puzzle. Riffing of #3 of this post, this and that combine to also bring us the added benefit of "local agriculture and energy" cycles. Grow what you need locally, use it locally, and don't add stress to global warming/transportation/native environmental systems. Win-win-win.

5. Civil Rights/Law Enforcement
Let's just all take a deep breath and say it together: Prohibition corrupts our Law Enforcement. Period. Always. Amen. Whatever it takes for you to agree. Booze, pot, crack, smack...a long list of drugs I've never done, in places where the drug trade became the real force of government, over and over in history, never to good results. Sometimes, even to the downfall of a society or the government. I had a friend in college, he kept a funny quote on his wall, I assume well-sourced. It went like this: Former Head of the DEA: "In the end, all the upper echelons of major drug dealing organizations could be traced, solely, back to [insert government intelligence agency here]." I won't vouch for that. I will say: I've never met a drug enforcement officer who wasn't in some way, dirty. I know a few. Anecdotal, sure. But I'd love to hear "corrections" to this view. Even if we get someone interested in promoting their pristine local enforcement unit, I would challenge them: and how long do you think that will last? Enforcement rackets, excuse me, I mean "budgets," they ever shrink? Have you ever known a vice unit to say, "we're fine, we don't need more this year?" Is there any major city drug enforcement force that isn't rife with corruption, prosecution, indictment, murder...driven by internal and corrupt motivation that has nothing to do with "law enforcement" and Justice?" Try to prove me wrong, uniform-worsphippers. You can't. Really. It's only worse at the very highest levels, which I won't speak of not just from lack of direct knowledge, but because if I did so too accurately, I could get killed. There's a place where fear and foil intersect, and this is the prime spot.

6. Medicine
I'm no longer a bioresearcher and I'm not a licensed dealer of "approved" drugs. I don't take pot medicinally. But lots and lots of *voters* have decided that if they can be forced to spend 000$ a month on painkillers from foreign drugs pushers- I mean 'pharmaceutical companies,' for lab-made chemicals that addict and only work to some effectivity, they can smoke some pot to deal with cancer and inflammation and a host of psychological issues as well, for cheap. I don't have a problem with that, nor do ~60% of the voters of this, and several other states, who've recently passed similar laws. Snarky people call it "self-medication," but I'd love to see a comparison of something as bald as life expectancy and overall satisfaction, in poor pot users vs. serious Big Pharma addicts. You know who I would be betting on.

...bleah. gotta go 2 Bed nao. more later.

No votes yet


Submitted by lambert on

That snicker really got to me. It wasn't Bush-ian, but a snicker it was. And Versailles just snickered along. Gawd, they suck.

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. ...

UPDATE CD, thanks. I realized after reading your post that I had fallen into the faux wannabe insider mentality of "Oh, he can't do that." Well, screw that. Make him do it. Thanks for the wakeup call -- and for connecting the issue to gardening, where it does indeed belong.

Submitted by hipparchia on

waaaaay more oil per acre than lowly hemp.

that said, i own some small percentage of the family farm. we're evil for now, growing monsanto terminator-seed corn and soybeans, but my generation and the next one have been planning what we're going to do when the old guard finally hands over control. industrial hemp is one of the things we'd really like to try, partly because we're dfh-ish, green-ish, disestablishmentarianist, and partly because grandpa grew industrial hemp for the war, this would make us patriotic and historically-minded too, wouldn't it?

i haven't sounded out the cousins on growing the medicated variety, but i'm secretly collecting recipes.

not sure i agree about the taxation part of it. i'm not opposed to paying taxes, believe strongly in doing so actually, but this is where my libertarian side kicks in, everyone should be able to grow their own [as well as make their own corn squeezings too].

Submitted by Elliott Lake on

not true. Any crop needs fertilizer (whatever you use, organic or non, it's chemicals) and all are susceptible to pests. Marijuana is not exempt from that. And as with other fast growing crops, it actually needs a lot of fertilizer not to leave the ground depleted---the same being true for tobacco for example. If you looked into the herbicides & pesticides that would indeed be necessary for large-scale cultivation, you'd see that. But then, most of the folks saying what a boon it would be to agriculture aren't farmers. As a farmer, I tend to smile at the hyperbole coming from pot fans.

I've never gotten the enthusiasm-bordering on-mania folks have for pot. I'm not anti, I just don't get it. I do think if legalizing was lobbied for on a more dull-and-boring footing, it would gain more traction with those like me who aren't fans. The way people would get uproar over removal of opiates from the medical arsenal---a solid, dull, factual pain relief footing is very easy to understand. Medical marijuana falls easily there for me. I get pain relief, nausea relief. The outsized claims for its benefits in other areas smack of magical thinking.

The ironic thing about some of the left's ire at Obama's dismissal of pot as important is that fan-club mania for legalization is so similar to the fan-club mania for Obama. Neither one is a panacea, a gift from God, or the answer to all our problems.

And to this lefty, nothing trivializes all the other things we are trying to work for (health care for all, human rights, restoration of the Constitution, concrete solutions to global warming, ending the occupation of Iraq. . .) like having a pity fest that Daddy isn't going to be bringing a pot-pony for Christmas. As conservative as Obama is, I'm surprised anyone thought he would. Did you really think he thought it would play well with the Republicans?

Submitted by lambert on

doing agriculture, very smart about technology, and not at all corporate, which is a good thing. Becoming a grower, legally, could also help people in hard times.

And I see a whole bunch of lives ruined by being jailed for that, and disportionately black, too.

If you wish to classify all that as a "pity fest," knock yourself out!

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

I have been thinking that our war against some of the people who do drugs is hypocritical beyond words.