Drug Policy

If You Hate Second-Generation Hippies, Vote for California's Prop. 19 to Legalize Pot!


Washington Monthly has a really interesting piece about the pot-growing history, lore, and culture of Humboldt County and Cali's fabled "Emerald Triangle." Here's a snippet that should make anybody who's on the fence vote in favor of the Golden State's watershed Proposition 19, which would give towns and cities the right to regulate and tax sales of marijuana:

As much as today's younger growers may admire the environmentalism of the first homesteaders, their primary concerns more often center on economic survival. When I was in Humboldt County, in the remote town of Alderpoint, I met a former small-time indoor grower named Obadiah Switzer, who belongs to an expanding sociological category in the Triangle: second-generation growers. The adult son of "truck gypsy hippies," he looked like a clean-cut fireman and talked like John Wayne. Whatever bohemian adventurism had inspired his parents seemed lost on him. "My whole life I've been here, and weed's always been gettin' grown," he said, letting out a short laugh. "There's no romance here for me." He might as well have been a longshoreman's son in Baltimore.

While many in his parents' generation were up in arms about the heresies of indoor pot, [second-generation grower Obadiah] Switzer was focused on mobilizing the county to protect itself against the disruptions of legalization. He had recently become the Humboldt County representative of a group that was informally calling itself a union of marijuana growers. And the union was against Proposition 19.

To Switzer, the initiative to tax and regulate marijuana was just paving the way for far-off industrialists to corner the market. "It's about stealing the economy from the people it's been built by," he said. "What's gonna happen is there's gonna be a shitload of minimum-wage jobs out there. And all these people that have subsistence incomes or a little bit better in the cannabis economy, their work is gonna go away. And they're gonna be able to get a minimum-wage job."

More here.

Reason.tv's latest gives both sides of the case for and against Prop. 19. Take a look and make an informed decision:

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  1. I don’t see anything particularly hateful about this fellow. Well, other than his rent-seeking at the expense of others….

    1. ….but they’ll TUK EERRR JERRRRRBS!!!1!

      1. Sounds like this guy is not efficient enough to compete in a new mj economy. Why doesn’t he show some initiative and vow to be the Bill Gates of pot instead of railing against a straw man?

        He’s only concerned that legalization will cause a market correction on the price.

        1. Indeed. I don’t think that corporate industrialists will be much of a threat to smaller growers as long as it is federally illegal.

          1. If they did, the DEA would be drooling over the asset forfeiture possibilities.

        2. +1. Instead of embracing the opportunity to establish themselves on the ground floor of a huge legitimate industry, these dicks complain about holding onto whatever ill-gotten scraps they’ve managed to get hold of. Can’t see the forest for the hydroponically grown trees.

  2. “To Switzer, the initiative to tax and regulate marijuana was just paving the way for far-off industrialists to corner the market.”

    Smoke local, grown no more than 50 mi from where you live else the Japs will corner the market.

  3. I think this will be the deciding factor on the proposition-pot smokers or growers who, for one reason or another, perfer the current system to prop 19’s. This probably explains the poor polling numbers two stories below.

  4. Judge Gray says it best: the govt
    has no right, the constitution gives
    congress no power. Prohibition
    took a constitutional amendment; the
    current congress & FDA overstep.

    So, on moral and legal grounds, it
    should not be govt concern.

    On practical grounds as well, it will
    reduce ethanol-related harm. The police just worry about having to find real crimes.

  5. Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees. One of the main reasons that you have growers in Humbolt eeking out a “subsistence or just above” livelyhood is because MJ is illegal. If it were legal they would be able to expand production and make more money. Of course then they wouldn’t be able to call the cops on a competitor that pissed them off but boo fucking hoo.

  6. No pot girl image. Did not read.

  7. Yeah, Coburn was all for the Hippies at Big Bear. Till they crashed his pad and pee’d in his fountain.

  8. The Economist endorsed “yes” on prop. 19 last week. FYI.

  9. “What’s gonna happen is there’s gonna be a shitload of minimum-wage jobs out there. And all these people that have subsistence incomes or a little bit better in the cannabis economy, their work is gonna go away. And they’re gonna be able to get a minimum-wage job.”

    Down in LA, we don’t experience those people making more than they should from the cannabis economy as earthy types. We call them “gangs”.

    Oh noes!

    All those gangbangers having to go out and get a job!

  10. If Prop. 19 passes, it’ll send a clear signal to the Mexican drug lords that it’s OK to smuggle their poison into the States where innocent babies will become bong-sucking slaves to marijuana. And that’s a memo.

    1. Bill,why would the Mexican drug lords smuggle poison,or cannabis for that matter, in to the United States, when a person will be able to go in to a store and buy a good product at a decent price legally, instead of the inferior from Mexico?

  11. Plainly, what is needed is a licensing system which will protect the current growers from outside competition.

    1. They’re shipping our pot overseas!

      1. Bring home our Buds now!

    2. Normalization should be cause for optimism though.

      It’s like when they started zoning medical cannabis clubs in LA; as crappy as that was, they were just treating it like liquor stores. And that should be seen as a victory.

      Someday? Maybe there will be agricultural subsidies for marijuana. Why wouldn’t there be just like there is for other crops?

      And I guess we should see that as a victory if it’s treated just like everything else.

  12. Wait a minute. This guy is complaining because subsistence-level operations will go out of business? That’s his big concern?

    Jeebus. What a rent-seeking tool. Since he thinks prohibition is such a bright idea, I hope the DEA is taking notes and pay him a visit.

  13. props to nick for using a pic from one of the most awesome movies ever…”the president’s analyst” more libertarians should see this one.

    1. +1, the movie is damn good.

  14. Baptists & Bootleggers

    1. Steers and queers

  15. It is past time to get the government out of legislating what we choose to put into our bodies for recreation or relaxation. Cannabis is the SAFER choice!

  16. Wait until the “Organic Marijuana” movement starts as a backlash to the Obadiah feared “industrial age marijuana”.

    As others stated, Obadiah wants himself and his friends to keep their black-market oligopoly.

    Someone should remind Obadiah that as of now, he’s engaged in illegal activity, however wrong the illegality is on its face.

  17. A good time to reference Patton Oswalt’s bit on the asshole children of hippy parents. Too bad I can’t find it online, it’s on his album Feelin’ Kinda Patton.

  18. How can anyone corner the market on a crop as easily grown as pot? The business to get into is providing guaranteed female clones. Growing 3 pounds yourself gives you an ounce a week for a year, which is a lot. Just 1 pound gives you a quarter a week which is enough for casual users.

    1. It’s easy to home-brew beer too — in fact it’s easier and much cheaper to do that than it is to set up an indoor grow. At the end of the day most people would rather buy a sack of nugs than fiddle with their HPS lights and air blowers.

      By the way, there’s still no better way to grow than good old fashioned seeds, complete with male-removal and all. Clones tend not to grow as hearty and robust, and feminized seeds have a high hermaphrodite potential.

  19. It’s interesting about Mendocino and Humboldt Counties. I was well aware of the goings on there over 35 years ago when the cultivation of pot was in its infancy in those areas.

    Like the boy said: “My whole life I’ve been here, and weed’s always been gettin’ grown,”… this whole weed thing has evolved over a long time in Nor Cal.

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