Incredibly, I've Lived In Chico, CA 8 Years Now.
Why, it’s the holy trinity of the Emerald Triangle. Having just come back off them mountains, so to speak, allow me to set a spell and tell the tale to my friends in the more eastern netherlands.
The Emerald Triangle refers to the three county area in Northern CA that I visit regularly: Humboldt, Mendocino, and, no pun intended, (holy) Trinity County. Billions of dollars of weed are grown in the verdant landscape, home to more beautiful vineyards than you can count.
I drive through the mountains on my frequent and heart-stoppingly beautiful journeys. Folks, the views are unrelentingly awesome – and that’s a word I usually avoid. Yesterday I just had to stop the car and take this photo:
Ah, nature, the highest of the arts. So that summarizes the "water and wine" part of my tale.
I am not a moralist, btw, so here is a straightforward report from ABC news, after which I will try to make a point:
Tucked away in the very northwestern-most corner of California are three relatively small rural counties that are, despite their size and isolation, known around the world in certain circles.
These counties… have, since the mid-'70s, specialized in the production of a much-sought-after export that was, until relatively recently, completely illegal: marijuana.
The growers there have produced such a high-quality product for so long that the drug has come to define the area, known as the appropriately-colored Emerald Triangle. Mention of the Emerald Triangle among even small-time pot enthusiasts is met with a knowing smile -- and a wildly different reaction from long-frustrated federal authorities.
Now I have a knowing smile, too, and I kind of wish I didn’t know. But, as my buddy Dan says, if you think the truth hurts, try living without it. In that spirit and still fresh as I am from working in the pharmaceutical industry - having also incidentally studied shamans and alternate healing practices at the University of Chicago - I respect the medicinal properties of plants, including cannabis. I am also laid back and don’t judge folks. We all struggle in the mad world.
But several of the mature, philosophical people I am privileged to know in the area share the same concerns as I do about one little fragment of the myriad issues embedded in the “weed agenda.”
“I have a card, my doctor gave it to me…”
All you card carrying users, don’t pretend you are all sick and in pain other than in the sense we humans are. Some of you are just indulgers, period. Just admit it and don’t go crazy with your substance of choice, the same advice I would give to social drinkers or addicted shoppers.
Don’t “all” of you tell the rest of the country you are ill and must have your stuff. This is a lie that society tacitly sanctions through the medicinal need rigmarole that makes weed available for numerous unspecified causes that earn some able individuals lifelong disability benefits in schemes such as those perpetrated in my home state of ILL.
To even jokingly refer to your "illness" mocks those who are genuinely in pain, and who are helped by substance use. You dilute their message and discourage conservatives from looking at the issue open-mindedly.
I am not smart enough to sort all this out. Off the top of my head, considering there is what, 7 Billion dollars of trade on the table in the vast aforementioned region, can we at least tax it and keep our collective heads together?
Residents of those counties, if you are not genuinely in need of a substance to move off the pain, don’t pretend, or worse tell yourselves, that you are. Able-bodied men and women can destroy themselves by holding fast to stories of their own weakness. You are or become what you claim about yourself. I am not saying don't do what you want to do, it's the story I object to when it isn't true. I am suggesting you move on, move up from your storytelling state and live a productive and contributive life if you are not already.
I know organized society (does that exist?) doesn’t help much. Here in the US, hair loss is a disease. Heck, aging itself is treated like a disease. Whatever it is we need for support in this world, let’s at least try to guard ourselves against psychological, emotional, and spiritual intrusions and dependencies that end up, not strengthening us, but making us weak—sometimes to the point of being pitiful versions of what we might have been.
Full text of ABC News Report