Pot City, USA
I just got done watching the end of Pot City, USA, an investigation of pot culture in Humboldt County, California. I saw it on A&E, though I believe it ran elsewhere first.
A few disclaimers.
I wish to see all drugs decriminalized for various reasons.
I have never smoked pot and most likely never will. I find pot smokers to be (and this is speaking in general terms) lazy and annoying.
I hate Arcata, California. In fact, I would give money to Al Qaida to hit there if I thought it would help. The place is a pit of hippies surrounded by a fog of body odor and pot smoke. The best thing that could happen to the little town would be a 9.5 earthquake followed by a big-ass tsunami.
Back to the show.
Pot City, USA lets viewers around the country see exactly what is happening in Humboldt County, and most notably Arcata, California. For all the money pot has brought in, it's also forced people to look elsewhere for affordable housing, has destroyed homes, has brought more crime and has drained the city's resources. Pot growers are among the group that want to keep it illegal, too, because profits matter more than freedom. The special showed exactly how the image of the carefree hippie doesn't exactly fit what is going on in Arcata where a two bedroom house can go from $950 to $1600 overnight because landlords get infected with that same greed (never thinking of how the home they own will be destroyed). Green is what rules these people, and it's not the kind you smoke. The pot growers are just as capitalistic as those fuckers at Bear Stearns, only they tend to be a bit more dangerous.
If you, fortunate reader, have never been to Arcata, consider yourself lucky. If you manage to make it past the gauntlet of pan handlers, you then have to avoid the house fires as some jerry-rigged home electric supply (which looks like a mutated octopus) sparks and sets a mold-ridden dwelling into flames. If you get by that, you may find yourself confronted by a New Yorker who wants to know why you are outside his house, never realizing that you just stopped to chat on your cell phone.
Greed isn't only "good," it's also dangerous.
Decriminalizing pot will solve a lot of problems (and bring a host of others to be but one thing that it will do and do very well is drive the price down. Do that and grow houses suddenly lose their luster.
I know people who are involved in the pot trade. I know those who grow and those who trim. They are fine people by all counts (complete with the previously mentioned laziness and memory loss that is concomitant with consistent pot smoking), but we agree to disagree on the topic of legalization. On one hand, they admit it would be great if it were decriminalized as that would mean less of a jail risk. (Let's be honest, though. This is Humboldt. Your risk of jail here is low.) On the other hand, though, they understand they'll see profits go lower than Emmanuel Lewis' left testicle. The political message and the freedom of the population just don't matter when you are looking at profits.
As I've written before, Humboldt's economy is driven by pot. Decriminalization will have a negative effect ... if only temporarily. The greater good of society, however, demands that this be done. Outsiders who come into Arcata to chase fortune see it differently,though. Honestly, I don't give two shits about their profit. They can go back to New York, Oklahoma, Hawaii and every other fucking place they came here from. I'm worried about the future of the place I call home. I want to know that my neighbors are my neighbors and not some outlander who wants to play farmer. Fuck that.
Welcome to Humboldt, pot heads. Now leave. Let the locals handle their business they way they have been doing for years, and go play hippie elsewhere.