Are Things Going To Pot? Maybe Not...

My original plan for the next couple of weeks was to do a bunch of photo essays on my trip through southern Oregon and Humboldt County. Now that I’m home, though, something has come up that has me kind of bothered, so I decided instead to break up the travel posts with a bit of a rant. Oh, and some pretty pictures of a local cannabis garden. Yes, for reals.

This week, a federal judge struck down sections of the new immigration law passed by the state of Arizona (SB 1070). Almost immediately, people began expressing outrage over the federal government infringing upon states' rights. In border states like California, these voices have been particularly loud. In the Central Valley where I grew up, they have been deafening.

Here’s the thing. Since citizens of the State of California passed Proposition 215 - the law that allows for the medicinal use of cannabis - the federal government has been infringing on the rights of Californians pretty much every day. In this state. Right here. All the time. Sick citizens, too. People with AIDS, or cancer, or MS are going to prison over using cannabis to treat their illnesses. Oh, and let’s not forget the war veterans who treat their post-traumatic stress disorder with cannabis. Lots of those guys get tackled by the feds, too.

Yet the level of citizen outrage over the injustices that the feds perpetuate right in our own backyard pales in comparison to the outrage Californians are currently expressing over the fed’s “interference” into the business of the State of Arizona. For those who would label Arizona’s immigration issue as one concerning states' rights, logic dictates that these same individuals should advocate for states' rights consistently across the board - especially, I would think, when it comes to one’s home state.

In other words, it seems to me that if you’re the type of person to scream “foul” when the feds say that Arizona law enforcement can’t go around asking people for proof of their immigration status, it stands to reason that you should scream “foul” twice as loudly when the feds throw a fellow Californian in prison for treating his glaucoma with cannabis.

But the same Californians who speak out most aggressively concerning the injustices heaped upon Arizona are largely silent when it comes to defending their home state against federal disregard for our cannabis laws. What I find disturbing is that hollering loudly over the one thing but remaining silent over the other reveals multitudes about those doing the hollering. Because then all the hollering isn’t about a fervent belief in states' rights - it’s about something else. Something a lot more troubling.

I took these shots at a local cannabis garden, thanks to some pretty nice (and brave) local gardeners. Thanks, local gardeners! I like these photos because they show cannabis grown in a kitchen-style garden like the herb it is. Most of us have seen the dramatized documentaries about cannabis grown in spiffy space-aged rooms or in houses blown out with mylar and lights and tubes. Lots of people don’t realize, though, that plenty of cannabis is grown in intercropped patches like this - outside in the sunshine alongside flowers and butterflies and squash and cucumbers and bees and tomatoes and hummingbirds. You know, like real plants. Nothing troubling about that. Nor is there anything troubling about sick people who need this plant to help them treat their illness. It is troubling when their fellow citizens stand by silently as the feds prosecute them for it, though. Just sayin.


  1. Jen,

    Of course I agree with you! And that garden is gorgeous. The plants are budding much more than the ones I've seen here. Yet they don't look like dep crops. What's the secret?

  2. BTW I love the starlike shot of the bud! I'm going to try that.

  3. Beautiful and healthy garden! I love the beds, the obvious "tending" going on here. Oh, and the wild azalea! I can almost smell its sweet scent.

    Of course the "pot problem" is very, extremely complicated. Taken as a plant, an individual choice, preference, need, usage is one thing.

    And, then there is the wide-wide world. Ha! Makes one gasp. In a market-driven economy (where we live), the details quickly assume gargantuan proportions which my little mind cannot really address.

    IF it were safe to grow one's own, without fear of the crop being stolen, or my being arrested for growing it, or ostrasized, or beaten or shot, would I? As all stands right now in our society, the polarization issues just seem to be getting worse, and I don't know if I will live long enough to see a truely peaceful pot garden.

  4. Hello Kym and Swallowtail! Kym, thank you for the compliments on the photos. Photography goddess that you are, your kind words mean a lot to me. I wish I could answer your specific questions about the plants, but you know how secretive these old-school gardeners are concerning all of their tricks and methods. The only answer I'm likely to get is, "Mendo love, baby. Mendo love." And Swallowtail, I appreciate your points completely. Whenever I see a garden like this, and how calm and beautiful the setting is, I'm likewise reminded of the violence and anger that surrounds this pretty, benign little plant. To me, it's just another example of how we seem to have lost all sense of perspective in this increasingly-crazy world of ours. I hope you both have a beautiful day!