The Royal Flush

Royal Flush545There’s been a lot of chatter on social media since Sheriff Keith Royal and the Board of Stuporvisors railroaded a draconian approach to the invasive marijuana culture onto the June ballot. Hundreds of amateur pharmacists have seen their livelihood threatened, just when it looked like the magic herb was going to finally be totally legalized in California.

So what is the reasoning behind this surprise attack? It’s no secret that the misnamed organization SAM (Smart Approach to Marijuana) has been working to snuff out the local industry. Their efforts were overwhelmingly supported by Nevada County voters in the last election when Measure S, a compromise favored by the growers, was defeated by a huge margin. My guess is that SAM, the Sheriff, and their allies decided to use the phony deadline issue to strike while they still have the momentum.

Because, despite all the ranting and raving by the growers and users, the demographics haven’t changed, and even if they can register every millennial in the county it’s not likely to make up a nineteen point spread.

Now in defense of the establishment position, most of the neighboring counties have already banished outdoor grows. Following the path of least resistance, growers would naturally flock to the place where they can do business, thus creating a major headache for law enforcement and the neighbors who have to endure the odors and obsessive security behavior of the farmers.

Even people who aren’t against medical or recreational pot are put off by the attitude that “hey, it’s my right to grow wherever, dude!” The thought of a THC tsunami into our neighborhoods, and the talk of making us “the Napa Valley of pot” is enough to drive voters to the polls in droves. (And it should be noted, once again, that even the liberal stronghold of Nevada City won’t allow a dispensary within their borders.)

Unfortunately, there is little middle ground between these opposing forces. If it were up to me, I’d allow outdoor grows of a reasonable size (say twenty-five plants) on agricultural land with a 500 foot buffer zone to pacify the neighbors. Limit the number of permits. There should be a dispensary somewhere in the western county where legit patients can get their medicine.(Glenbrook?)

Let’s face it: marijuana is not going away, no matter how much you wish it. This new initiative is going to divide the community for decades, and in the end the growers will win.  It will just be ugly for everyone in the years between.

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29 Responses to The Royal Flush

  1. Shelby Snow says:

    The fact is, Nevada County will always be a good place to grow cannabis. So all a ban will accomplish is to create a brand new black market. I wonder if the BOS considered the type of people who will now “flood” the area to take advantage of the favorable growing conditions? Real criminals, instead of small mom and pop gardeners is who. And did they consider the ecological impact of all those “indoor” grows. The chemicals, electricity, fuel for generators, plastic sheeting, etc… ? Meanwhile, meth, heroin, alcohol, and a slew of “legal” pharmaceuticals continue to wreak havoc among the citizens of this county. It seems to me that cannabis growing should be guided by the same agricultural zoning restrictions that prevent people from having livestock in certain areas. Either way, I’m screwed because I live off grid. I will be unable to produce my own medicine. With no where in the county to purchase it, I will be doing without. It will be interesting to see what living in a fascist county will become in the years ahead.

  2. The fact is HOA’s and the ASA came to an agreement in the early days of the County’s growing ordinance, #2439. Sheriff Royal is the one who threw out our recommendations, shut down the community stakeholder’s group, and railroaded an ordinacne through the BoS that contained provisions that were never discussed at our meetings. Even Don Besse was in agreement!

    We can find a middle ground that allows for permitting legal MMJ grow sites. Everyone (including Sheriff Royal) knows a ban will not work – and despite his claims to the contrary, will make criminals out of patients who grow outdoors as they will be out of compliance with state law if they don’t have permission from their local jurisdiction.

    Banning outdoor cultivation is a bad solution.

  3. Chris Peterson says:

    Nowhere is the divide between conservative and liberal more pronounced, physically, than here in Oregon. While every city of moderate to large size is staunchly liberal, almost every space in between is conservative; at least in the majority. It’s why we were able to get passed medical, and then recreational, marijuana laws, but anyone wishing to grow the legal 4 plants allowed, outside the major city limits, is in peril for doing so.

    And I’m not so sure about your observation that legal marijuana is inevitably in our future; it stands now on a pin head, ( figuratively, but possibly literally), if the populace decides to elect, by hook or by crook, one of the Trumpeters of the right. Those who have made their living off busting pot growers stand at the ready, with new-found weaponry given them by the Pentagon surplus dept., and those who cry the loudest for States’ rights aren’t going to lift a finger to defend county citizens within their states. “State rights” only apply to the State itself vs the feds; not to a citizens’ right to do what the majority in their state have made legal.

    Even if the present administration takes marijuana off the Schedule 1 list, (which it has no basis for being on), states and counties will still deny their citizens the right to grow, especially since it has been proven to kill cancer cells. The religious and moral protectors of the physical plain, together with the for-profit penal system, and the pharmaceutical industry which considers cancer their personal cash cow, will not allow it.

    It’s not like gay marriage: there’s too much money involved here, and at the present, that’s what dictates American policy.

  4. rl crabb says:

    There’s always the possibility that California voters will defeat whatever legalization initiative makes it to the November ballot, but odds are the same dynamic will apply here. Urbans will vote for and rurals will vote against. Older conservative voters are an endangered species in this state, so eventually the younger generation will have their way.
    I must say I was surprised driving through Oregon last month and seeing a giant billboard that said, NEED WEED? NEXT EXIT! The times they are a’changin’!

    • Chris Peterson says:

      I gotta’ disagree with the premise of your statement that the “older conservative voters are an endangered species.” WE are now the older generation, and I would hazard to guess that there as many conservatives in our ranks as in the past; albeit not the same conservatism of the past generations.

      They are outnumbered more than ever today, though the narrative remains one of equal participation, and but for widespread, and actually ingenious, gerrymandering, would have many fewer seats in the state and federal legislatures. That, with the addition of stepped-up efforts to suppress voter access, has resulted in an electorate that is skewed at every level other than an outright national election for President. (And even there, it can be argued that the last three Presidents elected were Democrats, although only one served.)

      Combine that with the power of the wealthy to maintain the status quo, and you have a democracy where the minority rules. The emergence of a candidate like Sanders proves that the people still have hope, although the hype of a candidate like Trump shows that the smaller, more radicalized form of conservatism lives on.

      • rlcrabb says:

        I’m saying that Republi-cons are endangered in California. Now that we are leaning toward becoming a one-party state, the Democrats in Sacramento are barely able to contain their enthusiasm for more taxes and regulation. If one looks closely at their photographs you can see the drool of anticipation, the crossed-eyes of delusion, and a hunger that knows no limit. It is only the will of our neo-conservative Governor that holds them in check. Once he’s gone to that off-the-grid ranch in Colusa, there won’t be anything to stop them from turning the state into Ecotopia, as prophesied in the ancient tomes. Republicans will be hunted for sport, with unleaded bullets, of course.

        • Chris Peterson says:

          I forgot your California perspective. Guess I’ve been in Oregon long enough to shed that particular outlook.

          Here in Oregon, although the liberals rule the roost, we have a State Constitutional amendment that demands that, if the people pay more in taxes than the budget allows, we get that money back, rather than politicians telling us what it needs to be spent on. This is one of those years, and I’m getting $175 more added to my refund this year, which is about average for each and every tax payer here.

          So, we may have to put up with out-of-state Bundys, and multi-national companies that want to clear cut our forests, but at least our politicians have been put on a fiscal leash.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          PJ O’Rourke once suggested the social security mess be adjusted by issuing Geezer hunting licenses to the young while allowing the old to shoot back; iirc he was looking forward to taking out some Sinead O’Connor fans.

          California has been a one party state for some time thanks to Jerry Brown v.1.0 who gave collective bargaining rights to public employee unions, thus allowing the foxes to choose who is guarding the henhouses with political campaigns funded by public payroll deductions. This may very possibly be upended when the SCOTUS announces their decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Ass’n this Spring.

          Of the 50 states in the Union, about 25 have the forced participation California has had for decades. This will hit the finances of the DP just in time for the 2016 elections.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            Hard to believe that the meager percentage of union dues used for political contributions from one fortieth of your population would hold such power as to dictate the electoral outcome of your government.
            I know it’s a given that conservatives blame unions for our woes, but could it be that there are simply more liberals than conservatives in your state?

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            This is an older Dan Walters column, but the numbers haven’t changed much…. The CTA is the largest single political contributor in California, the SEIU is #2

          • Chris Peterson says:

            According to the list I found, the top 10 contributors from 2001 to 2011 were:

            Unions, of which there were two, $167 million
            Businesses, the other eight, $401 million.

            Unions can be made to look like major contributors, depending on how the information is presented, but not as part of the whole.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            The California Teachers Ass’n, being the perennial #1 contributor, does a fine job all by their lonesome of demonstrating why they’re considered the 600lb gorilla of California politics, and it isn’t just the money they shovel, taken directly from member’s paychecks: it’s also the manpower they muster to insure CTA friendly legislators and administrators win their elections. Phone banks, walking precincts. The whole nine yards, and you can’t blame them: over half of California’s budget gets poured into education.

            The CTA is #1 contributor in California political campaigns, education is the largest expenditure in California and Money was the mother’s milk of politics long before Jesse Unruh stated the obvious.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            The fundamental difference between us is you say all that like it was a bad thing.

            The fact that educators pool their money to fight off the overwhelming contributions of pharmaceutical, oil, and casino businesses is bad? The fact that Californians put more money into education than anything else is bad?

            And money isn’t “taken” from their paychecks; it’s gladly given. In case you’ve forgotten: the United States is a union, religions are unions, political parties are unions, even people who pool their resources to fight unions are unions. From the earliest days of mankind, it was unions that insured our survival.
            So, to be against unions seems rather counter-intuitive to human existence. Anti-union is, in essence, anti-social. Trade unions are emblematic of today’s fight against individual greed, and being a “rugged individual” doesn’t mean shunning the support of people who think like you, so you may now google more information from those who you are in union with to counter my argument..

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            “And money isn’t “taken” from their paychecks; it’s gladly given”.

            Absolutely false and the entire point of Friedrichs v. the California Teacher’s Ass’n: it’s taken. You can’t work as a public school teacher in California without paying the agency fee (Oregon, too), about 70% of the full dues, and if you opt out you have to opt out every year during a small window lest you be dinged for the entire dues over the next year.

            I’ve no problem with unions myself. Never belonged to one but my school teacher/administrator father did at the school gig and at his brewing summer job smashing bungs into kegs after filling them with beer. Grandpa was Secretary of the Brewers Union (Teamsters, AFL/CIO) and knew Jimmy Hoffa on a first name basis. IIRC they didn’t write checks to either major political party. The Central and Eastern conference of Teamsters wrote a lot of checks to the mob but that’s another story.

            In those days, public employee unions didn’t negotiate pay and benefits. FDR wrote a beautiful letter on that issue:

            Public employee unions won’t go away if they actually become voluntary but they will have to be leaner and more accommodating to folks who don’t toe the Democratic Party line.

          • rlcrabb says:

            Is this going to be another one of these “I’m gonna get the last word” debates?

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            I certainly hope not.

          • Steven Frisch says:


  5. San French says:

    Us old timers know one thing: there has always been a culture of growers here in NC and there always will be. Royal and his Raiders are but a blip on the historical radar. But it does make for interesting politics and social uproar. Long live the rebel growers, family farmers and those who need their medicine. We shall prevail!

    • Michael Anderson says:

      San, I think you have that blip thing spot on. All smoke and heat but no light. The Raiders should look inward, making sure their own houses are in order.

    • The Register’s position isn’t all that surprising. The paper escaped the clutches of the arch-libertarian Hoiles family several years ago, and hasn’t gone on a liberal witch hunt for a long time.

      Heck, Orange County isn’t even the Republican stronghold it used to be. In 2012, Obama got almost 46 percent of vote–unheard of in the ’60s and ’70s.

  6. rl crabb says:

    Our state government had twenty years to figure out how to regulate pot and still managed to blow it…

  7. I don’t have a problem with people opting out of unions, but if they aren’t willing to pay their dues, they should be paid the prevailing wage for non-union workers, and get the same crappy benefits and job security. Otherwise, they’re just getting a free ride.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      GB, so what you are proposing for public employment is a two-tiered wage system… either the worker pays the Democratic Party aligned union (generally the California Teacher’s Ass’n for schools) about a thousand bucks each year, or accept a lower wage for the same work? Fascinating.

      Even before California schools became union shops, teachers were paid a living wage and had good job security, and most states still do not have union shops for public employees. Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, the prior decision Friedrichs v. CTA seeks to overturn, was in 1977 and Jerry Brown’s gift of union shop status for California public jobs was subsequent to that.

      Was 1977 really that bad for teachers in California? Starting in the mid ’50’s my dad was able to buy a house, feed a family and send his oldest to a private college to graduate that year. Never wealthy but never poor.

      • Chris Peterson says:

        The landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Communications Workers of America v. Beck (1988) lets union members get a refund for the part of their dues that are used for political activity, yet surveys have found that around 67% of union members have no knowledge of that ruling. So, that particular problem has already been addressed, and decades ago.

        And while I oppose most of the allowed agenda of public employee unions, throwing private employee unions into that mix is a huge mistake. If private unions had remained strong these last 35 years, we wouldn’t have near the income inequality that stagnates our economy today. Truly a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

  8. monica says:

    This is the most clearly stated analysis of the situation that i have read since the BOS agreed to launch Sheriff Royal’s prohibition campaign. And I agree that we have a changing demographic happening here and it is in fact the result of changing laws and policies. The very thing that we need to keep top of mind is that overtime, the few powerful people running this county are losing their grip. This extreme measure proves it. We all know what the reasonable solution is, customized rules appropriate for THIS county. Those who support W are prepared to fly in the face of logic and fairness to keep the 1950’s vibe intact. it’s a losing battle, and it looks bloody.

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