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Pre-Election Thoughts

As I write this we’re five days out from E-Day.

Most polls show Joe Biden ahead of President Trump, but as a political scientist and more importantly a labor guy, the only poll I ever pay any attention to is the poll that occurs when the votes are counted.

Long-time readers know I never ever encourage people to vote because the way I look at it is if someone needs to be told how important participatory democracy is, they’re too damn ignorant to waste my time on.

Although I’m a Democrat, heavily influenced by Franklin Roosevelt, his Republican cousin Teddy, Jack and Bobby Kennedy, and the Great Emancipator himself, I keep my distance — socially and otherwise — from today’s Dem Party that immerses itself in identity politics and oh so politically correct buffoonery.

The tickets of Trump-Pence and Biden-Harris have set an all-time low for Presidential Pygmyism.

Just how lackluster are these times and this election in particular?

Trump would have been the odds-on favorite in a November 3rd cakewalk if he would have followed this advice.

1. Blow up your twitter machine, Mr. President.

2. Wear a mask, Mr. President. Socially distance yourself, Mr. President. And Mr. President state emphatically, “Right on, Tony,” after each and every press conference featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Need I say more about the nearly non-existent expectations of American voters?

Fortunately, we still have the people who have always fueled the engine of change in this country. Those folks are the working and middle classes who once aroused are a fearsome sight to behold. It’s just a question of whether they’ll put up with another farce like this again four years from now.

Inspecting hemp

Last week, we discussed the Board of Supervisors approval of a controversial Hemp Ordinance, by a 3-to-2 vote on Oct. 20.

Although the Board was inundated with written objections and public comments opposed to the ordinance, only John Haschak and Ted Williams, of the 3rd and 5th Districts respectively, were moved by their arguments. Supes John McCowen, Carre Brown, and Dan Gjerde backed the proposed Hemp Ordinance.

It’s actually a 2-year pilot program with a cap of five hemp permits per year, but pot farmers fear that, among other things, pollen from male hemp will cross-pollenate with female ganja plants, thus damaging or destroying their crops by “going to seed.”

When I spoke to my resident experts on hemp farming, they were less than impressed with the County’s due diligence surrounding a number of issues, including inspection protocols. They believe the whole program is probably headed toward failure. Isn’t that surprising?

Here’s what they say on inspection. There are two main kinds of hemp in an economic sense: industrial and medicinal.

Industrial hemp is used to make a variety of commercial and industrial products, including rope, textiles, clothing, shoes, food, paper, bioplastics, insulation, and biofuel.

Medicinal hemp is a variant of the plant Cannabis Sativa L (the same plant that produces medical marijuana). It is described as containing very low amounts of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (more commonly known as THC). This THC threshold provides the biggest differentiation between hemp and marijuana.

The Hempsters explained that the growing methods for medicinal hemp and industrial hemp are entirely different. Medical hemp is grown the same as regular pot, in stand-alone areas of single plants. Industrial hemp is usually grown the same way as field crops such as wheat, oats, alfalfa, etc. It’s not separated by rows with in-between spacing in the rows as is the case with corn. I have some familiarity with the subject since I was raised in both Illinois and California because my family owned land and homes in both states. We grew corn, soybeans, oats, and wheat on our Illinois farmland. There were also small remnants of old hemp fields left over from WWII, but I never paid much attention to them until I was a teenager in the late ‘60s and kids thought you could smoke the stuff. We all found out hemp was not pot, absolutely no high at all.

Anyway, hemp experts point out that due to the different growing methods for industrial hemp versus medicinal hemp, the former is nearly impossible to inspect for male plants because one acre of hemp would contain on average 400,000 tightly compressed plants, while the latter is super easy because they’re isolated single plantings.

So I guess if everyone grew medicinal hemp there would be little if any inspection problems, but just the opposite with industrial hemp. Interestingly enough, the Ag Commish told the Supes he would most likely need to hire extra personnel just to inspect and administer the five proposed permits to be issued for the two-year pilot program. Sound familiar?

New Zealand happenings

This week New Zealanders voted to legalize euthanasia in a binding referendum, but also rejected a ballot measure to legalize marijuana.

With most of the votes counted, New Zealanders emphatically endorsed the euthanasia measure with 65% voting in favor and 34% voting against.

The “No” vote on marijuana was much closer, with 53% voting against legalizing Ganja for recreational use and 46% voting in favor.

Proponents of marijuana legalization were frustrated that popular Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wouldn’t reveal how she intended to vote ahead the Oct. 17 election, saying she wanted to leave the decision to New Zealanders.

Ardern said this week after the results were released that she had voted in favor of both referendums.

How do you explain that Kiwi voters approved mercy killing but nixed legalizing the groovy love bud. There’s a story there somewhere.

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:

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