">Forum Views ()
">Forum Replies ()
Read more with google mobile :
Marijuana taking root in California
Sign InNew User? Sign Up
News Home -
Marijuana taking root in California
AFP - Thursday, May 21
UKIAH, California (AFP) - - Driving north on the scenic highway 101 from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, the terraced vineyards of Sonoma County give way to rocky foothills growing an open secret.
Hidden among the rising slopes are groves of cannabis plants, a pillar of the local economy in this area known as the Emerald Triangle.
Marijuana has become an accepted part of the culture in the rural, sparsely populated region that spans the three counties of Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity.
"The parks and the forest lands, they're just inundated with it," said Lieutenant Rusty Noe of the Mendocino County sheriff's office.
Local officials say pot accounts for as much as half of the regional economy in an area still reeling from the decades-long decline in the timber industry.
In addition to marijuana sales, pot growing supports everything from garden supply stores to makers of plastic pipe.
Mendocino County Agricultural Commissioner Tony Linegar calls marijuana "a significant part of the economy -- the businesses that are succeeding are the ones that are supplying this industry."
A sociology course this semester at Humboldt State University is focusing on "the growth of the marijuana economy", and a Ukiah clinic that prescribes medical marijuana sits next door to recruiting offices for the US Air Force and the Marines.
Pot smokers brazenly light up joints on the steps of the Mendocino County courthouse, and pot plants in residents' gardens peek over schoolyard fences.
"The police say, and I quote, 'Do it where I can't see it or smell it,'" said 39-year-old Just, who is known by that single name.
"I have been an everyday smoker and a conspicuous smoker for five years in this town, and have never been hassled."
Sheriffs in the Emerald Triangle concentrate on large-scale growing operations, many of which are in state and national parks.
Noe said his office tries not to hassle individuals who have a medical marijuana card, but will not tolerate growers who try to make a profit by cultivating far more than they need for medical purposes.
"Our enforcement efforts are focused on those people using the medical marijuana system to get rich," he said. "People push the envelope, it's a greed thing."
Medical marijuana use already is legal throughout California, and the US Supreme Court on Monday rejected a move by two counties to bar patients from using the drug for medical purposes.
Now politicians are considering whether to take the next major step and decriminalize the drug altogether.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said recently the time is right for a debate on legalization, though he remains opposed to such a move.
State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has introduced a bill that would make California the first US state to treat marijuana the same as alcohol. His proposal would make the use or sale of marijuana legal to anyone 21 or older.
Ammiano points to a recent poll showing 56 percent of Californians favor legalizing and taxing marijuana. His bill would impose hefty taxes on marijuana sales that state officials estimate would bring 1.3 billion dollars annually to financially stressed California.
"With the state in the midst of an historic economic crisis, the move toward regulating and taxing marijuana is simply common sense," he said.
"California has the opportunity to be the first state in the nation to enact a smart, responsible public policy for the control and regulation of marijuana."
California became the first US state to allow the sale and use of marijuana for medical purposes in 1996 when voters passed Proposition 215. Marijuana eases pain and helps patients undergoing chemotherapy deal with nausea.
There are about 200,000 licensed medical marijuana users in the state, though critics claim many are recreational users who simply got a doctors prescription.
During the administration of former president George W. Bush, federal authorities routinely raided California medical marijuana dispensaries.
Though it remains illegal to grow, buy, sell or possess marijuana under federal law, the administration of President Barack Obama said earlier this year it would not target California dispensaries.
Many law enforcement officials oppose such a change, and are against legalization. The California Police Chiefs Association released a report in April that said marijuana dispensaries are illegal under federal law "and should not be permitted to exist."
The group said such dispensaries invite more crime and "compromise the health and welfare of law-abiding citizens."
But with state and local budgets facing huge deficits, many officials see marijuana as part of the solution.
The value of California's marijuana crop has been estimated by legalization supporters to be as high as 14 billion dollars annually.
Even if the actual value is only half that amount, it still would nearly equal the state's top cash crop -- milk and cream, valued at 7.3 billion dollars annually -- and be double that of grapes, valued at three billion dollars a year.
The state already collects 18 million dollars a year in sales tax on medical marijuana. Oakland, a neighbor of San Francisco, has scheduled a July election on whether to become the nation's first city to also directly tax medical marijuana sales.
In Ukiah, a recent legalization rally drew only about a dozen supporters. Though some legalization advocates think marijuana could do for the Emerald Triangle what wine has done for the Napa Valley, many growers want to avoid taxes or government regulation.
"I would be happy if the public acceptance level that came with legalization were there," said Just, who moved from Missouri to Northern California in large part because of its marijuana culture.
"But most people I cross paths with are not that excited about legalization."
Sign in to recommend this article »
0 users recommend
Related Articles: Entertainment & Lifestyle
Shock upset in 'Amercan Idol' finale as underdog winsAFP - Thursday, May 21
Wheeling and dealing for Cannes' red carpetAFP - Thursday, May 21
Filmmaker Ken Loach puts world to rights in CannesAFP - Thursday, May 21
Film mutts battle it out for Cannes dog prizeAFP - Thursday, May 21
French prophet and English poet lead pack for Cannes goldAFP - Thursday, May 21
Marijuana has become an accepted part of the culture in the rural, sparsely populated region that spans the three counties of Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity. Local officials say pot accounts for as much as half of the regional economy in an area still reeling from the decades-long decline in the timber industry.
Most Popular – Entertainment
ABN Amro says up to 5,000 job to go in merger
Popular cereal is a drug, US food watchdog says
US banks to lose billions over commercial property
Oil prices bounce above $60 in New York
British store admits it boobed in bra row
View Complete List »
Copyright © 2009 Yahoo! Southeast Asia Pte Ltd. (Co. Reg. No. 199700735D). All Rights Reserved.
- Terms of Service
- Intellectual Property Rights Policy
Other News on Thursday, 21 May 2009
Baghdad bomb kills 35 in poor Shi'ite district
U.S. says Myanmar trial outrageous, vote illegitimate
U.N. doubts major Hezbollah rearming in south Lebanon
Biden leaves Bosnia for Serbia
Researchers create DVDs with massive storage
Craigslist faces prostitution controversy in NY
US, Russia to hold second day of nuclear arms talks
Acer says to make Android phone in 2009
France's Sarkozy adds flirty twist to Facebook site
Nokia says on track for May online store opening
AT&T eyes cheaper plans for iPhone, other phones
Wal-Mart to open first wholesale store in India
Toshiba to end mobile phone production in Japan
Vietnam govt seeks to lower growth target
Indonesian military plane crash kills 98
China controls for fixed-asset investment loans
Japanese economy logs record contraction
SKorean PM chides unionists for violence
Pakistan 2009 growth will be slowest in decade
Jackson's first comeback concert delayed by 5 days
Macau tycoon's daughter 'unsuitable' for US casino
Yankees hero Bernie Williams eyes musical home run
Korea Hot Stocks
U.N. names hip-hop pioneer goodwill envoy
Korea Hydro eyes dollar bond sale -source
French director Resnais ponders success at Cannes
North Carolina smoking ban ends era in US tobacco heartland
Rare Faberge egg collection goes on display in Moscow
Fifth century BC objects returned to Greece
Argentines shower honest cabby with gifts
Australian Doctor Uses Drill To Save Boy's Life
Simon Cowell's Mom Says He Was "Always Difficult"
Global mobile sales fall record 9.4% in Q1
Jessica Biel Thinks She Is Too Good Looking For Some Film Roles
Leonardo DiCaprio Taking Singing Lessons To Sound Like Frank Sinatra
Michigan Police Taser Fake Cougar
Paris Hilton Wants To Name Her Future Children After The Beckhams
President Garfield's Statue Decapitated In Ohio's Hiram College
Major Canadian Retailer To Charge For Plastic Bags
Kuwait presses UN to resolve outstanding issues with Iraq
Berlusconi graft scandal adds to bimbo row ahead of polls
Google dropped idea of buying newspaper: CEO
Moderates take on hardliners in Iran vote
UNHCR seeks talks with EU over Mediterranean migrants
Microsoft ordered to pay $200 mln in patent case
Iran hails successful test of medium range missile
Craigslist strikes back, files suit
New Palestinian cabinet takes power, widening rift
All your movies on a single DVD: study
Pakistani army says captures Taliban stronghold
US arms sent to Afghan forces 'in Taliban hands'
US, Canadian, Indian firms to use Google 'smart meters'
Myanmar slammed over outrageous Suu Kyi trial
Bomb hits US-led convoy near Afghan capital
Microsoft to unveil new search engine next week: WSJ
Mexican cartels break open new front in drugs war
Sarkozy, Carla's little 'chou chou', joins Facebook
SKorea unveils steps to stop Internet-linked suicides
China ex-censor claims key Tiananmen memoirs role
Madagascar's ex-leader tries to rally support on YouTube
H1N1 virus spreads in Asia, protection wobbly
Spread the Word over the Internet, pope urges youth
All your movies on a single DVD: study
Hong Kong man jailed for copying star's sex photos
US Senate, FBI, deal blows to Obama Guantanamo plans
Serbia doesn't have to recognise Kosovo for EU bid: Biden
Federal Grand Jury Brings 10 Charges Against Somali Pirate
Israel PM willing to start Mideast peace talks
Microsoft ordered to pay $200 million in patent case
U.S. Death Toll From Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Rises To 9; Arizona Boy, Utah Man Latest Victims
CDC: Midwestern States Have Most Flu Cases
'Go home Nazi scum,' Serb hardliners tell Biden
U.S. Expands Healthcare Fraud Investigations to Detroit, Houston
Homeland Security Secretary And FEMA Administrator Brief Governors, Officials From Hurricane-Prone States
Judge: Maybe Dams Should Be Breached to Save Salmon
Craigslist Boss Asks Court To Stop S. Carolina AG From Threating Prosecution Over Online Ads
NetApp buying Data Domain
Senate Rejects $80 Million Budget For Gitmo Closure
Boy, Mom Vanish After Court-Mandated X-Ray
Gov Charlie Crist Signs Bill Enhancing Access To Health Care In Rural Florida Communities
Thai central bank leaves interest rate unchanged
China needs more than stimulus to sustain growth: World Bank
Profits at China's state-owned companies down sharply: govt
China to send three buying teams to Taiwan: govt
Thai exports plunge 26.1% in April
Pakistan 6-mth T-bill cut-off yield at 13.1876 pct
Taiwan dollar at 5-month high on stocks, inflows
Filmmaker Ken Loach puts world to rights in Cannes
Dark horse Kris Allen wins American Idol
Film mutts battle it out for Cannes dog prize
Tarantino's Basterds surprisingly tame war movie
French prophet and English poet lead pack for Cannes gold
Lars von Trier's Antichrist lands at IFC
Indonesia probes plane crash site
Film icon Resnais back at Cannes at 86 and not retiring
Night at the Museum sequel a better exhibit
Terminator moves on without busy Schwarzenegger
Von Trier agrees cuts to beat censors
Derek Trucks outshines legends at blues fest
Tarantino & Co. in Cannes
Taken takes crown on DVD sales, rental charts
Zurich opera chief to take over Salzburg Festival
Eminem pill-popping album headed to top of charts
Drag Me to Hell is devilish fun
Voice of Mickey Mouse dies in L.A. at 62
Ben Stiller Thinks His Kids Are Funnier Than Him
Beyonce Buys Her Clothes Too Small As Weightloss Motivator
Burglar Falls Through Ceiling At Cops Feet
Germany demands better privacy protection from Google
Welder Survives Shaft Fall When Duct Work Breaks Fall
Egypt tycoon to hang for murder of Lebanese pop star
Gabon's president 'treated for cancer' in Spain
More than 60 killed as violence spikes in Iraq
Explorer Ranulph Fiennes climbs Everest
Outlook on UK economy downgraded to 'negative'
Suicide attack kills 12 at Baghdad market
Russia, EU seek to repair ties
British Actress Lucy Gordon Found Dead In Apparent Suicide
Iraq suicide attack kills seven militiamen
Michael Jackson Delaying His Comeback Tour
Vitamin D boosts brain power in middle-aged men
Dutch state may offer financial help to ABN Amro
Signs of health suggest US banking crisis ending
Egyptian Construction Mogul Given Death Sentence For Killing Lebanese Pop Star
Iraq bombs kill 22, including 3 U.S. soldiers
Redmond O'Neal Transferred To New Jail For Drug Program Treatment
Israel removes West Bank settler outpost
Germany to 'select Opel bidder' next week
Natalie Cole Gets Successful Kidney Transplant
H1N1 flu must be global before Phase 6: WHO chief
Air France-KLM reports first loss, 2,700 job cuts
"American Idol" Crowns Kris Allen As Season 8 Champ
UN chief to visit Sri Lanka, urges humanitarian aid
UK's Brown forced to surrender on Gurkha rights
Bank of America raises $13.5 billion in stock sale
Russia could deploy missiles near Poland: officer
Green Day's "21st Century Breakdown" Hits #1 On Billboard
Obama announces landmark auto standards
Rip Torn Sentenced To Probation For DUI
Egyptian billionaire sentenced to death for murder
Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's Wife Reportedly To Take His Place On "I'm A Celebrity..."
Malawi opposition says vote rigged as president leads
Simon Cowell's Ex-Girlfriend Attacked Outside "American Idol" Studio
Four terror attack plotters nabbed in New York
Biden leaves Serbia for Kosovo
Yahoo eyes acquisitions, social media
Top Al-Qaeda suspect to face trial in New York
Capcom to unveil more iPhone titles
Children abducted from Sri Lanka camps: reports
Opera CEO says hopes firm stays independent
Hundreds rally in China over police beating
Canadian-Somali pleads guilty to Al-Qaeda support
Japan, Saudis rule roost as China flops
Couple on the run after New Zealand bank bungle
Pakistan struggles to aid 1.5 million displaced
Whaling Commission head says Japan must compromise
Home of second 'Slumdog' child star demolished
Moscow heartache the spur for Park
US intruder said Myanmar's Suu Kyi 'scared'
Taiwan dollar hits 5-mth high but c.bank caps gains
Thai auto exports plummet 45.91 pct in April
Tata raises funds to repay part of Jaguar loan
SKorean auto workers strike over layoff plans
Vietnam PM pledges economic reform
Brazil upbeat on dollar drop from China trade
NKorea's new rules for SKoreans at joint estate
One third drop in Russia trade worries Medvedev
Seoul shares fall on industry issues;brokers rise
S.Korea pension fund says to resume investing overseas
British actress Lucy Gordon found dead in Paris
Marijuana taking root in California
Sam Raimi brings comedy-laden horror to Cannes
Shock upset in 'Amercan Idol' finale as underdog wins
Director Haneke looks at roots of terror at Cannes
Wheeling and dealing for Cannes' red carpet
Scientists set back clock on origin of life
Giorgio Armani recovering after hepatitis
Wildlife pushes Kenya's marathon hero back to the track
Wartime chic? Fashion finds from occupied Paris
China, Canada, Spain on copyright piracy watch list
Greece at new risk of being pushed off euro
Bodies of missing Tenn. mom, Jo Ann Bain, and daughter found
Female Breasts Are Bigger Than Ever
AMD Trinity Accelerated Processing Units Now in Volume Production
The Avengers (2012 film), made the second biggest opening- and single-day gross of all-time
AMD to Start Production of piledriver
Ivy Bridge Quad-Core, Four-Thread Desktop CPUs
Islamists Protest Lady Gaga's Concert in Indonesia
Japan Successfully Broadcasts an 8K Signal Over the Air
ECB boosts loans to 1 trillion Euro to stop credit crunch
Egypt : Mohammed Morsi won with 52 percent
What do you call 100,000 Frenchmen with their hands up
AMD Launches AMD Embedded R-Series APU Platform
Fed Should not Ignore Emerging Market Crisis
Fed casts shadow over India, emerging markets
Why are Chinese tourists so rude? A few insights