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May 20, 2006

I’ve now seen enough pieces of the big picture to understand that what I’ve doing for the past four years has been defining, one interview at a time, the huge illegal  ‘marijuana’  market which has been growing out of public view, one high school graduating class at a time, for thirty-seven years. That’s a study  which became possible only because a window was opened in 1996 by California’s Proposition 215 just widely enough to encourage a  fraction of those pot users  often dismissed as ‘heads’ or ‘stoners’ to apply for ‘medical’ status;  and even then, only because my own age made me just naive and curious enough to wonder how they had all become chronic users of an agent which had been so completely invisible to me during my own high school years ((‘45-’49) and then remained unknown to nearly everyone over thirty  until the world somewhat blatedly discovered how much ‘hippies’ liked ‘pot’ during 1967’s ‘summer of love.’

It further turns out that because the same differences in generational perspective which inspired my question are nearly incomprehhensible to 96% of the pot market participants born since 1946, I’ve had a particularly difficult time getting ‘experts’ with a vested interest in the ‘debate’ to even notice.

Also, because the great majority of buyers in what would only gradually become a huge illegal market weren’t born until well after 1945,  the market’s illegal status was enough to keep both them and those arresting them from an accurate understanding what was really happening. As more time has passed and new pot users have been born— and later become users tehmselves— the truth has been even more distorted by simultaneously evolving ignorant beliefs and dishonest 'research.' An especilly ironic result of that ignorance and fraud is that each side in the modern ‘pot debate’ is wedded to its own fairy tale; a situation which— even more ironically— makes the truth seem the least plausible explanation— and thus readily dismissed.

But it gets worse...

The 10 year evolution of Proposition 215 within California has also been a good example of blind men trying to describe an elephant to each other;  so prolonged, so complicated, so rapidly changing, and so ineptly reported that even those dealing intimately with one or more of its many aspects on a daily basis can remain unaware of developments in other areas— and their significance— for long intervals. It doesn’t seem to matter whether one's primary interest is political, legal, medical, or just shaping of public opinion.   

Sadly; my take on current trends is that although the reform position is much closer to the truth and retains considerable uninformed popular support, it’s  losing political ground because the feds’  simplistic message is being skillfully and aggressively sold to various City Councils and other entities making the key decisions that will directly affect the long term future of medical cannabis: namely, which— if any— of several petitioners hoping to open ‘dispensaries’ in their communities will receive  business licenses and how stringently they will be regulated?

One needs only to grasp that delay is a form of denial and over-regulation by a hostile bureaucracy a good way to prevent something that can’t be banned outright from ever happening to intuit the federal strategy.   Also its ultimate purpose:  forcing as much ‘medical’ pot distribution back onto the street as possible. The feds clearly hope that market participants can then be arrested as before with the same minimal outcry now heard in states with far more restrictive laws.

That scenario also assumes something else which remains to be seen: will all those Californians who have had recommendations for years and been (somewhat) educated by the experience become as docile as they they once were when the old order is re-established?

In another installment, I’ll report how a recent experience with the Richmond City Council provided me with the evidence that confirms this analysis; but first, I want to point out when and how present federal tactics were first revealed. It started with the infamous— and never rebutted— charges arising from the 2004 ‘Oaksterdam’ flap when ‘able bodied young men’ were filmed leavng a local club with large bags (of clones). They were portrayed as irresponsible ‘scammers’ of (what might be) a worthwhile program. The unanswered allegation that they ‘obviously’ weren’t ‘legitimate’ patients and the subsequent propaganda campaign have been cleverly coordinated with local police and is helping  convince many City Councils to either ban pot clubs outright of declare a ‘moratorium’ on licenses pending further study.  Things got a lot worse after Raich when the feds began arresting certain activists already out on bail on state charges. All but one remains buried as deeply in the federal gulag as if in Guantanamo. in fact, the public seems more aware of Guantanamo than of the Californians now mired in cruel double jeopardy within their home state.

Posted by tjeffo at May 20, 2006 11:27 PM


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