Jun 152013
 June 15, 2013

drug war marijuana doug fineThe Drug War’s Berlin Wall Is Down And So Is My Local Forest:  Here’s The Connection

I’m on my yucca-framed porch swing sipping an organic Orange Julius and watching an 8,500-acre wildfire creep towards me here on my Funky Butte Ranch near the Mexican border. Shrug. Just more climate change era chaos. I can smell and in fact feel the heat from the blaze already. Its light ash snowfall accumulating on my napping dog rather powerfully conveys the message that I’m on 41 acres surrounded by a huge ponderosa pine campfire eight miles away. My role is something like a putative marshmallow.

You’re about to learn how deeply I’m at heart an optimist. Sure, my thinking goes, if general visibility decreases to below the official Forest Service benchmark level of “teacher’s lounge,” I will have to evacuate, for the sake of my human kids’ lungs (what to do with my goat kids is another question).

On the other hand, breakfasting to the sight of a massive smoke wall boiling over my eastern butte has a lot going for it. For one thing, how many times can one say one has so breakfasted? (It’d be my second climate change evacuation, actually, the last in Alaska 15 years ago.) Also, it vastly reassures me about having awakened today, rather than to the usual hummingbird wing alarm clock at the bedside window feeder, to an altogether more motorized aerial assault underway in my remote New Mexican valley.

This explanation was literally the bright side of potentially becoming a refugee; of temporarily abandoning the moment-to-moment silence I often describe as my health plan.

Best-selling author Doug spreads his Drug Peace ideals each week in the Drug Peace Bumblebee column.   This week, he shares the story of a New Mexico healer utilizing a traditional cannabis tincture to improve the qualify of life of patients.(Photo by Michael Bowman)

Readers of Too High to Fail will know why that is. It’s because the last time this many planes and choppers encircled my valley, it was to raid my AARP member neighbor for cultivating his own herbal medicine – about a dozen cannabis plants. This prior to the launch of New Mexico’s state medical cannabis program, which would today make my neighbor’s garden totally legal.

Forget about the hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars that went into that day’s cartel-ignoring Operation Annoy a Retiree Minding His Own Business. It was only the Drug War that brought automatic weapons (instead of the usual coyotes) to my riverbed, putting my family in danger. That, in fact, was what spurred me to write Too High to Fail. So to see taxpayer-funded aircraft employed for something other than Drug War assaults reinforces my feeling that we, the American people, are winning this one.

I’m remembering the research for the book, conducted from the front lines of North America’s longest war in 2011, with fondness as the pre-order for the paperback edition begins. In examining a locavore approach to the post-Drug War economy in California’s famed Emerald Triangle, following small farmer efforts to brand themselves as Napa did with wine, I learned a lot about what sustainable community agriculture is. This (sustainable community agriculture) is the kind of industry you particularly tend to support when your homestead is imminently threatened by the “hundred year weather events” we seem to get on alternate Thursdays here in the Land of Enchantment these days.

Another way of saying this is that my final reflection on the irrefutable Drug Peace majority that has emerged nationwide and worldwide in the past year is: it will be terrific for the planet if the peace dividend from the end of the trillion dollar Drug War boondoggle includes putting independent farmers back in the field and sustainably bringing a multi-billion dollar industry aboveground. From what I’ve seen from Hawaii to North Dakota to Kentucky, America is ready.

I say this with confidence. I was far to the optimistic side of the punditsphere when, in Too High to Fail, I declared that the fall of the Drug War’s Berlin Wall was imminent. But I confess it seemed a no-brainer from the Emerald Triangle cannabis fields and strain development barns that I was studying. So as a result of stating the obvious (I mean, polls were already showing solid and growing majority support for medical cannabis in places like Kentucky, Illinois, Florida and Missouri) now I’ve become a go-to cannabis pundit because a producer can slam dunk a pitch with, “He predicted this.”

I’m not complaining. Forget about the heartland, the tipping point toward the Drug Peace now extends to the top of the old media hierarchy. I mean, you tell me. I would characterize the deciders at the Washington Post Company as accepting if not endorsing the inevitability of cannabis legalization by allowing me to publish this essay last Sunday entitled “Five Myths About Marijuana Legalization.”  In fact, they assigned it.

I even got to talk about hemp in that ditty, which is what my next book, coming out later this year, is about. More on that in a future column. Speaking of hemp, though, I think it’ll take about 100,000 paperback pre-orders  of Too High to Fail to convince my editors to issue a commemorative and forest-saving hemp edition of the book next. So you can help change policy while laughing at an in-the-field description of the Drug War’s final battles. Also there’s a fun new afterward in the paperback edition about the peace dividend we can look for when our worst policy since segregation finally ends. Seems like when a great nation makes its occasional blunder, it really goes for it. Gets it out of its system.

OK, thanks as always for your support. It’s so appreciated here on the possibly soon-to-combust Funky Butte Ranch. A strong launch helps me as a writer, but, more importantly, ending the Drug War will immediately have a direct impact on my life: It’ll keep automatic weapons out of the riverbed in which my children play.

Doug Fine, bestselling author of Too High to Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution, is one of the world’s few investigative cannabis journalists. As such, he meets folks from Hawaii to Laos who, until federal and worldwide prohibition finally ends and the professional conventions begin, are unlikely to meet one another. He’s a pollinator of Drug Peace ideas, in other words, a bumblebee. Each week in this column you’ll hear another cannabis story from around the planet. Doug’s work from five continents is at: www.dougfine.com. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

This post, and all original Drug Peace Bumblebee columns, are published each week for the National Cannabis Coalition and re-posted to TWB with special permission.  Text NCC to 420420 to stay up-to-date on important cannabis news and alerts.  Donate here to help fund the political work of NCC and keep the momentum of the cannabis community moving forward.

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About Anthony Johnson

Anthony Johnson is the executive director of the Oregon Cannabis Industry Association and director of New Approach Oregon, the PAC working to end cannabis prohibition for all adults in Oregon. In addition to helping organize the International Cannabis Business Conference & the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference, he also serves as a Board Member of the National Cannabis Coalition, working to legalize cannabis across the country and Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, an organization specifically working to end cannabis prohibition in Missouri.As President of the University of Missouri Law School ACLU Chapter, Anthony co-authored the measures that legalized medical cannabis possession and decriminalized personal possession for all adults within the city limits of Columbia, Missouri, in 2004. Following law school, Anthony practiced criminal defense for two years before working full time in the political field to help improve and protect civil liberties.You can follow Anthony on Twitter and also friend him on Facebook by following the links below as he posts mostly about civil liberties and politics with dashes of sports, music, movies and whatnot.
  • wowFAD

    Great story. I too am optimistic. Though I don’t necessarily think the WaPo is at the top of the media hierarchy — or that any one particular newspaper can be in the Information Age.
    Let’s hope Kevin Sabet isn’t on stand-by with his Thesaurus. Because, in Kevin’s universe, diction is the ultimate consideration for the morality and legality of cannabis.
    LOLOLOL.
    Keep up the good work, Doug. Kevin will be on the unemployment line within five years.

    • claygooding

      The only skill Kevin has is only a career if the position open is propaganda minister,,he won an anti-drug poster contest in High School and was trained/schooled into the ONDCP as chief policy adviser,,his new position is holding seminars trying to convince investors to open the drug treatment centers required to switch from jail cells to rehab cells,,according to the GAO he has failed at that,,,he may have a long unemployment to live through.