Monday, November 30, 2009
Society: I know why the won't legalize Pot
I listened to a news report a couple weeks ago on NPR Radio about Humboldt County in California. According to David Samuels of the NEW YORKER, Humboldt County is "the heartland of high-grade marijuana farming in California." In the radio report, it is discussed that not only is legal pot grown in Humboldt, but there is also a significant level of illegal pot growth - what a shock. The rampant pot growth occurs in numerous "grow houses," and it's easy to profit from selling, distributing, and assisting in the cultivation and maintenance of pot in this area. Marijuana is entrenched in the county's economy, due to decades of cultural evolution - the hippies of the 60s migrated here, and camped out on the cheap land, and of course pot was/is a staple perishable in hippie culture. Those hippies are in their 50s and 60s now, and many are comfortable to wealthy, and still consuming pot. But it's not just 50 to 60 year olds consuming pot.
Though, many see the benefits of the entrepreneurial enterprise of the marijuana market, there are the setbacks. The NPR radio report used the phrase "Wild West" to describe some of the criminal activity that takes place - neglected grow houses can go a-blaze and consume ridiculous amounts of energy. These said houses are raided by burglars - whether lived in or not, and then there's those subtle turf skirmishes. This is what the politicians will focus in on to battle the legalization of pot. Legalizing pot is not necessarily the bad thing, it's all of the shady activity that could accompany it. The laws dealing with the proliferation of pot in Humboldt are in many cases far more lenient then other parts of the country.
How do you control a legal pot production market when it's so easy for Joe Schmoe down the road to cultivate it in his green garage, and distribute it as far as he can see - under the table to avoid all those pesky business taxes? This seems to be the issue in Humboldt County, where one can walk through a given neighborhood and point out most of the block(s) containing grow houses from door to door. Is this the type of culture that would evolve if pot is legalized, thus making it more socially accessible and marketable?