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CALIFORNIA's HIPPIES and OTHER BUMS FEAR POT LEGALIZATION!

Von: DampPanties (lilhornie@yahoo.com) [Profil]
Datum: 22.04.2010 20:45
Message-ID: <afe2d89f-0a18-4cc8-9b79-acee38bb9ec8@f17g2000vbd.googlegroups.com>
Newsgroup: alt.politics.bush alt.true-crimerec.drugs.cannabis alt.hemp alt.drugs
"Cannabis capital frets over pot vote"

"Northern Calif. enclave fears competition if pot is legalized"


By Alexandria Sage/REUTERS
updated 9:12 a.m. ET, Thurs., April 22, 2010




ARCATA, California - Below the perpetual fog that shrouds the redwood
groves, green hills and rocky coastline of remote Humboldt County
thrives a lucrative but hush-hush industry — marijuana.

Pot pays the bills in this Northern California enclave, home to
hippies and good old boys alike who espouse the weed's curative and
economic benefits. The expensive trucks, bustling restaurants,
escalating rents and plentiful wads of cash all point to profitable
pot cultivation in Humboldt.

Now, a state voter initiative on the November ballot that would make
California the first U.S. state to legalize and tax this cash crop has
locals jittery about losing their dominant market position.
Story continues below ↓advertisement | your ad here

"We've always had a cannabis tinge to our culture," said Kevin Hoover,
editor of weekly newspaper The Arcata Eye. "What we have now is a very
entrenched industry that's making a lot of money off the fact that
it's illegal."

Starting in the 1960's, free-thinkers wanting to get away from it all
moved to the area long dominated by the lumber and fishing industries.
Marijuana cultivation supported these new residents and newly
unemployed blue-collar workers who watched the demise of Humboldt's
traditional manufacturing base.

Although the underground pot economy makes for poor statistics, Beth
Wilson, an associate professor of economics at Humboldt State
University, estimates the area's annual income from marijuana at about
$500 million.

The "multiplier effect" of that money circulated to support local
businesses — garden centers do a brisk business and the town of
Arcata's sushi restaurant is always packed — could push that figure
to
$1 billion annually, she said.

"It's not negligible," said Wilson.

‘She’ll be on food stamps’


Everyone knows someone who grows pot. In the north county, indoor
growing that fetches prices of over $3,000 per pound is popular, while
in the south, marijuana is planted outdoors.

The industry has also fueled an itinerant labor force of "trimmers"
who make $20 per hour or more snipping the leaves from the more potent
dried buds of the plant.

"This vote has become a conflict of interest," said Deniz Farnell, 31,
an Arcata hotel worker, who, like the vast majority of locals,
supports decriminalizing pot smoking.

"Do you vote for the good of the state or for the next-door neighbor
who's a mom who's supplementing her income through trimming? When that
law passes, she'll be on food stamps."

That is because legalizing marijuana could turn a cottage industry
into Pot Inc. Locals fear big tobacco will swoop in and drive down
prices, supplying millions of new, legal pot smokers with "Marlboro
Green."

Rumors abound in Arcata that the tobacco giants have already snatched
up land and copyrights to the most popular names of weed strains,
whether Purple Kush, Big Bud, Headband, Trainwreck or L.A.
Confidential.

But at least one big tobacco company, Reynolds American, says it has
no plans to move in. "Everything else would be purely rumors and
speculation," said spokesman David Howard.

"We better hope it doesn't become legal because this area is going to
become a ghost town," one reader wrote to the North Coast Journal in a
response to a recent article on how to stay afloat in the post-illegal
pot era.

The Tax Cannabis campaign has gained traction in the cash-strapped
state of California, historically at the forefront of contentious
social issues. It led the nation in 1996 by approving the use of
cannabis for medical purposes.

‘Smoke more pot!’


An April 2009 Field Poll showed 56 percent of state voters supported
legalizing pot for social use and taxing the sales.

On a statewide level, that could bring in $1.4 billion per year,
according to the office that regulates sales tax.

"Think of all the pot smokers out there," said a mid-30s mom who has
grown for six years, plans to enter law school, and favors
legalization. "They can bail California out of its deficit. Smoke more
pot!"

Under the initiative, possession and cultivation of small amounts of
pot for personal use would be legal for those 21 and over. The measure
allows municipalities to determine how to tax and regulate the drug â€
”
with monies going to local governments — and does not affect medica
l
marijuana laws.

Pot is illegal under U.S. law but the Obama administration halted
raids on medical marijuana clinics last year. It is unclear how state
legalization would be affected by federal law, and whether the U.S.
government would interfere.

Those who favor legalization predict it could curtail the seamier side
of the industry. The profusion of "grow houses," gutted to accommodate
indoor greenhouses, have pushed up rental prices, while robberies of
cash and plants are on the rise.

With no real organized opposition to the measure, local leaders in
Humboldt say it's time to face up to the future and brainstorm
creative ideas to offset any impending slump.

"Here we have an industry with whom our county's name has, quite
frankly, become synonymous," said County Supervisor Mark Lovelace.
"We've lived with the downside of that name association for the past
thirty years. Maybe it's time to capture some of the upside."

Ideas include taking a tip from French champagne, branding the
Humboldt name as an appellation and focusing on terroir and tasting
rooms. Others say that's a pipe dream.

"We don't need to panic and create weed Disneyland," said one grower,
who believes the risk to growers has been overblown and foresees a
continuing black market even if the law passes.

The 32-year-old illegal grower, who declined to be identified,
predicts connoisseurs will eschew the cheaper varieties in a legal
market and pay a premium for Humboldt's best strains.

Pot growers could also harness their know-how for other horticultural
pursuits, he said.

"It's easy money right now," said the self-described "average indoor
grower" with $40,000 in income every two and a half months. "But these
might be the future organic farmers of the area. That skill can be
applied to more things than just marijuana."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36709977/ns/us_news-life/?gt1=43001

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