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Marijuana 2021: Reefer Sadness

I've spent much my life around people with strong opinions about drugs and most of those opinions have been wrong if not lies.

The more certain they were, the more laughable the outcomes. We've all had friends and acquaintances look us in the eye and tell us drugs were a source of enlightenment and a path to wisdom. Today those people are dead, homeless or quit doing drugs 40 years ago. 

What they never were was enlightened. Wisdom? Ha. 

Drugs were a pet project for a generation that scorned middle class values and rolled its eyes when warned about dope. Take marijuana. Please.

Recall what smart people were saying about marijuana in the 1970s. Weed being illegal in the Age of Nixon, they said, showed how repressive and short-sighted the American establishment was. Just as stupid as the war in Vietnam. 

Drug laws were the new Prohibition, and they asked if we hadn't learned the lesson of making alcohol illegal. There was no justification for marijuana to be illegal since it was less harmful than a Martini. (Possibly true, yet truly irrelevant.)

Marijuana was considered harmless by the smart people in the country, meaning every college professor and all the media. (It took the legal system decades to catch up.) It was easy to compare marijuana to Martinis, but the step beyond them are different, and worse.

What the smart people missed was this: Beyond Chardonnay, a Vodka Tonic or a six-pack of beer — the next step is simply more alcohol. Tequila maybe, or bourbon.

But a step beyond marijuana opens different doors altogether. In the world of drugs there are lots of options, most of them bad and a few that will kill you. Or, more likely, kill your nephew or niece or the unemployed guy down the street. 

Legalizing weed opened that door and Pandora's box erupted with new brain-cracking, life destroying drugs.

Methamphetamine was among the first our pothead friends turned to once the thrill was gone from inhaling cannabis. Meth is now everywhere. Tell me the last time someone said you can learn a lot by using meth, unless they were talking about lessons in dental procedures, jail, ruined careers, broken families and an early rendezvous with the coroner.

Or was it cocaine? Cocaine was a popular playtoy for rockstars, Hollywooders and pretentious kids who wanted in on the celebrity scene. Then it was heroin, hash oil, honey oil, banana peels, Vicodin, opium. All aboard, ye seekers of wisdom. 

Next stop oxycontin, fentanyl and more American deaths per year than all American soldiers lost during the entire Vietnam war. Noticing any problems yet?

Back at Juicer's Saloon, drinkers are experimenting with Harvey Wallbangers and Pina Coladas. Some will wake up with hangovers tomorrow and others might try rehab. No one says booze can't ruin your life and the lives around you, or that getting sober isn't a difficult fight. But drugs are a lot of fights on a lot of fronts. 

Now let's talk about all the promised tax benefits we've been told will bring a bright new day. For decades smart people have been explaining how the miracle of legalization will soon pay for anything and everything because that's how taxes work. 

Today pot is as legal as potatoes and Mendocino County can't make a nickel on either. It's costing too much to hire consultants and county workers to process applicant cannabis paperwork, buy more county cars to inspect distant gardens and deal with the Sheriff's ballooning budget from spikes in crime. 

Why didn't any of the smart people warn us that cartels would move in?

Profits? Mendocino County won't make money from marijuana until it lures big nationwide industrial operations (think RJ Reynolds) to process weed efficiently, distribute it nationally, sell it profitably and pay big taxes routinely. 

It's the smart way forward. Big corporate marijuana machines will employ hundreds in farms, factories and front offices doing everything from acquiring, growing and grading to marketing, packaging and shipping. 

A hundred mom 'n' pop growers means failure and tax evasion for most. It's a lesson every industry learns either quickly or slowly. 

There aren't a hundred small car makers still fighting it out, and there aren't scores of national cigarette companies. MendoCo can sit spinning its wheels or embrace the inevitable and get the big boys in.

Small growers will wail and shriek and write letters. So what? These are the same outlaws who've spent decades hauling in huge profits from illegal weed and never paying a dime in taxes, while blithely using the roads, schools, libraries and legal system their neighbors paid for. 

To hell with 'em. They can go get jobs like the rest of us. I hear RJ Reynolds is hiring.


  1. George Hollister July 13, 2021

    “What the smart people missed was this: Beyond Chardonnay, a Vodka Tonic or a six-pack of beer — the next step is simply more alcohol. Tequila maybe, or bourbon.”

    The next step after Boones Farm Strawberry Hill, or take your choice, was marijuana. Alcohol is the gateway drug.

  2. izzy July 13, 2021

    Tommy Wayne has positioned himself, in many articles, as a boozer.
    No wonder he thinks alcohol is not a drug.
    His opinions have evolved into pure Archie Bunkerisms.

  3. Rye N Flint July 13, 2021

    I can’t drink Pina Coladas anymore… pineapple is high in histamines. Not every bored pothead turns to Meth, sorry, bad stereotyping. And where’s the economic analysis behind the rise in opioids and pharmie drugs? Hum… This article isn’t exactly a deep dive into the real world of Mendo cannabis economics, more like a kiddie pool dip.

    Good to see that folks are waking up to the economic reality of supporting giant greenhouse grows over small and organic direct retail. Was it the state that made organic cannabis permit more expensive than normal commercial chemmy bro weed? Oh! no… it was our own Mendo County officials.

  4. Lazarus July 13, 2021

    “These are the same outlaws who’ve spent decades hauling in huge profits from illegal weed and never paying a dime in taxes, while blithely using the roads, schools, libraries, and legal system their neighbors paid for. To hell with ’em.”

    That type of attitude is what a friend got when he went to the County and signed up to get legit.
    He was belittled, scorned, ignored, and marginalized by every County official during the process.
    He said the County put every obstacle possible in the way of his permitting.
    He did prevail and received the permitting. But he had to grin and bear it at every encounter with the authorities.
    To Hell with them TWK…!

  5. Rye N Flint July 27, 2021

  6. Douglas Coulter July 28, 2021

    One the Road was written on speed, legal at the time. Mary Jane would gain a long jail sentence. Every B-52 that kept us safe during the Cold War was piloted by Cross Tops and Black Beauties. Speed was the pilots choice during WW2, American, Japanese, and German.
    Hard times and despair are the gateway drugs, heroin, meth, booze are the symptom.

    • Rye N Flint July 28, 2021

      RE: A War, on drugs

      I believe you are referring to the infamous airforce “GO pills” aka the NAZI Meth recipe…

      “Lawyers for the two airmen, Maj. Harry Schmidt and Maj. William Umbach, contend the military pressured their clients to take the go pills — as the prescription amphetamine Dexedrine is called in…”

  7. Douglas Coulter July 28, 2021

    Meth was invented by Japanese in 1919
    Mormon Tea is American ephedrine, not as potent as Chinese plant. Grows wild in Nevada. My father swore it was the best arthritis medicine on the planet. He died of massive heart attack at 72

    • Rye N Flint July 28, 2021

  8. Friends of Spyrock July 28, 2021

    Who were the speed freaks in Spyock who killed Chris Giauque on
    08/09/03 ? Heard the chick that was there & saw it happened, blackmailed one of the killers to get herself a nice house on the coast.
    Reward is now $400,000
    Little man like: “Count Chocula” from Sesame Street got arm cut to hell. But won’t release medical records to clear himself.
    Speak up Spyrock, where did those killers of Chris hide his body? Cops don’t want it solved, hmmmm.
    The 6’3 guy says, they threw him down “the bottomless pit” on 8500
    Simmerly rd. Spyrock.

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