Loraine Webb: Reasonable regulation and permits for cannabis needed

NEVADA CITY, Calif. July 25, 2016 – Dear neighbors,

I have lived in beloved Nevada County since 1980, a mere grain in the sands of time, especially in comparison to the long-timers who welcomed me so kindly when I arrived here with my 5-year-old son. Many of those old ones are gone and those few that remain are saddened to witness the level of mean-spirited divisiveness that has infected this lovely place we call home. Me too. Here is a Readers’ Digest version of our recent experience in Nevada County, California..

And yes, this is another attempt at conversation regarding Nevada County’s cannabis culture-war. I know, I know.. I’m very tired of it too.. which is why my 88-year-old mother and I will be leaving for gentler pastures if Nevada County will let us go peacefully.

For twenty-six years, though my thumbs are green and many friends extolled the medicinal virtues of this “sacred herb,” I avoided the temptation to grow cannabis. After all, though our D.A. had, every year, granted dispensation to grow a few plants, the consumption and growing of marijuana was illegal at the federal level, and I’ve long felt a deep aversion to confined spaces. I’ve also held a life-long antipathy for allowing foreign substances (alcohol, prescription drugs, LSD, etc) to affect my ability to function and reason. Though virtually every one of my peers experimented with psychoactive drugs, I did not. As a result, I’ve evolved into a clear-minded, relatively wise, virtuous, healthy and rather boring curmudgeon.

The death of a beloved uncle to cancer, then of my closest friend, led me to reevaluate this much-maligned and abused plant, as it was the only medicine that provided them relief from the tragic and torturous journey of that dread disease.

Subsequently, I began my own journey with this truly wonderful plant and am grateful for the insight, friendships and grace it has brought into my life. Though I still don’t partake of the plant socially, I’ve discovered that a few drops of high-CBD/low-THC cannabis oil before bedtime has relieved me of a number of worrisome and previously mounting “symptoms.” My dear mother, who has come to live with me these last two years, has been relieved of her arthritic pain. And she and I were astounded to witness the truly remarkable remission of diagnosed systemic lymphoma in a neighbor’s dog (who was such a gentle soul that the neighborhood cats slept with him at night) through the administration of the same CBD/THC formula. I’m sorry if you choose to disbelieve me, and I do understand. As I helplessly watched my friend’s body being eaten away by cancer, I remember thinking that the most grievous thing would be to find a remedy after her passing. For further insight, please see the remarkable video, “What If Cannabis Cured Cancer,” available for free viewing online.

I shared this video with my County Supervisor who, in response to our query regarding the rumor that Nevada County might impose a ban on outdoor cultivation, assured my mother and me, in person, that, “We see the writing on the wall. We know that it’ll be State Law soon and I see no possibility that we’ll impose a ban.” Advisedly then, my mother and I went into further debt for an expensive greenhouse, which would “permit” us to grow medicine for ourselves, two octogenarians, and a beloved cancer patient-friend. The ban and subsequent bad-faith “negotiations” have, yet again, rendered our efforts to “comply” criminal, and our investment, sour. [We paid rent to farm our 30 medicine plants (responsibly and sustainably) on an end-of-the-road, out-of-the-way private property that has never engendered any complaint, but was targeted after being discovered via over-flight. No matter how many good and dedicated officers are in service, if you think that any law enforcement agency is invulnerable to some corruption, you are naïve. When confronted with our allegation and evidence of corrupt entities within his jurisdiction, our Sheriff’s response was “But.. they’re so few.”]

The failure of the ill-advised, inadequate and poorly written Measure S gave four of our five County Supervisors the notion that they could, after all, be supported in a ban. Their hypocritical and divisive intentions were perceived for what they were and voters rallied to overwhelmingly defeat their retaliatory, lazy legislation-by-ballot. Now the pendulum-swing referendum has the Supervisors twisting on the knife of their promise to work with stakeholders, and they are failing to engage in any reasonable compromise for patients and small family farmers.

The relentless stress of all this has motivated mama and me to appraise our home and actively pursue finding a property in Oregon or Canada, as we have no desire to become martyrs to the cause of freedom-of-choice in healthcare (or anything else). There are those reading this who will cheer at the prospect of our leaving, as our Sheriff and two of our current Supervisors made it patently clear, at public forums, that “This is a culture war,” and that they were hopeful that “growers” would be forced out of the County. Their manipulations may backfire. Since this year’s medicine is already in the ground, and the Supervisors seem intent on giving this Sheriff’s department leeway to rip our beautiful plants OUT of the god-given earth, mama and I may be foiled in our intention to escape the expensive political vagueries of Nevada County. The “Powers That Be” may be stuck with us.

[Recorded at a Town-hall meeting, Supervisor Hank Weston: “No-one is going to bother you if you have a few marijuana plants among your tomatoes.” And, before witnesses at the Rood Government Center, Sheriff Royal: “If you have a small garden, we won’t even know you’re there.” From the publicly-televised Supervisors’ Chambers, Supervisor Ed Scofield: “I don’t want collective gardens like Heather’s to be hurt.” And Supervisor Nate Beason (humorously), “Someday I might need this medicine.”]

Yes, if we can, we are leaving, and Nevada County just may come to realize that you will be poorer for it. Hopefully, what you inherit in our stead will not be more of the on-going failed eradication policies of these last 10 years. Because, dear neighbors… without reasonable regulation and a permitting process that will reduce monetary value of cannabis (and environmental destruction), you’ll be inviting a hungry cartel or two to dinner, and tooled-up-and-ready tobacco companies for dessert, and phat big-pharma corporations for after-dinner drinks. The legacy of this on-going entrapment of good citizens will be a robust and persistently nasty Black Market.

And there was such an opportunity for good.

Fare ye well.

Loraine Webb
36-year Nevada County resident