Sharon Letts: Cannabis Subsidizes Humboldt County

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Several weeks ago, many were shaken by news that a highly respected and prominent member of the Humboldt community was taken into custody by the Humboldt County Drug Task Force for cultivation of cannabis; with child endangerment charges added, due to an indoor grow in a garage.

Seeing the sad faces in mug shots of those taken down for something voted on and legal in our county and state is always disturbing. When it’s the teary-eyed face of a dear friend, it’s devastating, and gives more questions than answers.

How could this wonderful person of such high standing be in this kind of trouble?

Humboldt: Land of Opportunity

With Northern California’s lumber and fishing industries’ heyday a distant memory, it’s no wonder cannabis stepped up to provide.

According to U.S. Census data, Humboldt County ranks midway in Median Individual Worker Income at number 52, with an average income of $22,148 posted – barely reaching the federal poverty level of $23,050.

When I arrived in Humboldt County six years ago I had only an inkling of the county’s interest in its largest the cash crop. With a background in television production, I was hired to produce a daily news broadcast by the Eureka Reporter, a now-defunct conservative rag.

At the time of hire I honestly didn’t even ask what the wage was, knowing full well it could never match my average $900 plus a week earned from television.

Nevertheless, at $13 an hour I was the envy of those who had been there much longer, making less.

Paying the Bills

It didn’t take long to realize the covert world of  cannabis a majority of co-workers lived in – above and below the administrative line.

Whether it was a small grow at home or added income garnered with trim jobs, most had to have some kind of work affiliated with the grow world to subsidize the meager wages earned.

“You have to be stupid not to make money in Humboldt County.”

The above statement was shared with me by a longtime Humboldtian with a family heritage of cannabis.

The information was meant to enlighten, but I suppose I am stupid, and have never grown or relied on trimming to make ends meet – to my downfall, I might add.

By the time I was lead feature writer at the Times-Standard, my salary dipped to $12.50 an hour. Still the envy of those working for less much longer, my financial life suffered.

The summer gas prices rocketed to five bucks a gallon, I was choosing whether to fill the tank for work, or make a car payment.

One sunny afternoon, my car was repossessed from the parking lot while I worked on yet another weekly feature.

It’s Medicine, Stupid

My bottom line; cannabis cured my cancer. As detailed in an essay published just a short while ago, I was faced with Lobular Carcinoma just a few months ago – meaning I was faced with surgery, radiation, hair loss and misery, but cannabis saved me from all of that.

And while our government does not yet fully acknowledge its benefits, on October 7, 2003, represented by the Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Patent, No. 6630507 was granted, pertaining to any and all uses and applications of cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.

I have never discussed setting up a room with anyone who wasn’t hiring an electrician for the hardwiring of the main power source. And electricians who will do the work are plentiful, no questions asked. After all, no one wants a fire in their home, and no one purposefully endangers their family.

Add the fact that residential structures are not meant to be indoor greenhouses, with power sources upped and grounded to the main feed,  the entire set-up is considered “tampered with,” regardless if a certified electrician was brought in or not.

In the case of the recent arrest, it has been confirmed an electrician was indeed contracted for the work.

Nullify It!

So, what to do when supply and demand is high, the people are healing, the state says A-OK, but the feds say no-go?

The concept of jurors judging the law, as well as the facts, is called jury nullification, and is an important part of American jurisprudence and its history.

The best example of this occurred during the time of slavery, when those who aided in escape were tried under federal law for violation of the “Fugitive Slave Act.”

But when Northern jurors opposed to the law sat in judgment of these “criminals,” they would often acquit, even when defendants admitted guilt. Legal historians credit these cases with advancing the cause of abolition of slavery.

One recent example of jury nullification took place recently in Orange County, a conservative patch of red in Southern California, when the executive director of a collective was pulled over after selling legal overages to another collective.

Juror No. 110 was the only juror to disagree with the punishment for the crime – a mandatory five years for 100 plants by federal law – and cast a “not guilty” vote, rendering the jury hung with an acquittal.

Humboldt Pride

There are bad apples in the barrel of growers that make up the Humboldt grow scene, but the arrest that took place recently is a slap in the face to good medicine and good people.

Do your homework, learn about the benefits of cannabis and hemp as a sustainable material, and nullify the negativity.

Feature writer/photographer Sharon Letts makes her home in Humboldt County. She has written for television, dailies, weeklies and national magazines, with a focus on human interest and cannabis as good medicine.

 

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24 Responses to “Sharon Letts: Cannabis Subsidizes Humboldt County”

  1. Sharon says, "According to U.S. Census data, Humboldt County ranks midway in Median Individual Worker Income at number 52, with an average income of $22,148 posted – barely reaching the federal poverty level of $23,050."

    First, there are 58 counties in California, so if Humboldt ranks 52nd, that's not "midway"; it's near the bottom. But that's not what I found. According to data accessible from the state's Franchise Tax Board, Humboldt's 2010 median income was $28,857, which ranked 43rd. (Also, median and average aren't the same thing.) Also, the federal poverty level cited here ($23,050) is for a household of four. The individual amount is $11,170. If you want to compare apples to apples, you'd do better to look at the median joint return figure, which in Humboldt County in 2010 was $54,139, ranking 33rd in the state.

    More seriously, it's irresponsible to make the extraordinary claim that cannabis cures cancer without providing extraordinary evidence. If people believe this claim, their lives may depend on its truth or falsity.

    #64686
  2. Sharon says, "According to U.S. Census data, Humboldt County ranks midway in Median Individual Worker Income at number 52, with an average income of $22,148 posted – barely reaching the federal poverty level of $23,050."

    First, there are 58 counties in California, so if Humboldt ranks 52nd, that's not "midway"; it's near the bottom. But that's not what I found. According to data accessible from the state's Franchise Tax Board, Humboldt's 2010 median income was $28,857, which ranked 43rd. (Also, median and average aren't the same thing.) Also, the federal poverty level cited here ($23,050) is for a household of four. The individual amount is $11,170. If you want to compare apples to apples, you'd do better to look at the median joint return figure, which in Humboldt County in 2010 was $54,139, ranking 33rd in the state.

    More seriously, it's irresponsible to make the extraordinary claim that cannabis cures cancer without providing extraordinary evidence. If people believe this claim, their lives may depend on its truth or falsity.

    #65936
  3. Kevin Hoover

    That's a great point. I certainly hope no one bases their medical decisions on anecdotal testimonials.

    #64687
  4. Kevin Hoover

    That's a great point. I certainly hope no one bases their medical decisions on anecdotal testimonials.

    #65942
  5. Kevin Hoover

    "What can I say about this elixir? Try it on steaks! Cleans nylons! Small craft warnings! It's great for the home! The office! On fruits!"

    #64688
  6. Kevin Hoover

    "What can I say about this elixir? Try it on steaks! Cleans nylons! Small craft warnings! It's great for the home! The office! On fruits!"

    #65943
  7. Etiwanda Schmuckler

    To learn more about jury nullification, visit the Fully Informed Jury Association at FIJA.org or call 1-800-TEL-JURY for a free Jury Power Information Kit.

    #64696
  8. Etiwanda Schmuckler

    To learn more about jury nullification, visit the Fully Informed Jury Association at FIJA.org or call 1-800-TEL-JURY for a free Jury Power Information Kit.

    #65937
  9. [...] Sharon Letts: Cannabis Subsidizes Humboldt County So, what to do when supply and demand is high, the people are healing, the state says A-OK, but the feds say no-go? [...]

    #64700
  10. Mike Greenwood

    The real problem in Arcata Eureka Mckinleyville is all the snitching going on. People ratting out their neighbors to get out of their own problems. Its despicable.

    #64708
  11. Mike Greenwood

    Further whether or not marijuana cures cancer is irrelevant, nobody has the right to dictate what we put into our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone. Cigarettes have been proven to be the opposite; causing cancer and anyone 18 and over can go buy a pack. So f*&^ off.

    #64709
  12. Marijuana And Cancer: Scientists Find Cannabis Compound Stops Metastasis In Aggressive Cancers

    Posted: 09/19/2012

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/19/marijuana-and-cancer_n_1898208.html

    http://www.endalldisease.com/harvard-study-says-marijuana-cures-cancer/

    " For three weeks, researchers injected standard doses of THC into mice that had been implanted with human lung cancer cells, and found that tumors were reduced in size and weight by about 50 percent in treated animals compared to a control group. There was also about a 60 percent reduction in cancer lesions on the lungs in these mice as well as a significant reduction in protein markers associated with cancer progression."

    But we are all just stoned lying druggies….right…

    The one that kills me is the RECREATIONAL user that lies to a doctor to get a 215 recommendation "just because they like to get high"…know anyone like that Kevin? I sure do, they even brazenly admitted to it.
    Isn't that a felony by the way?

    #64712
  13. Marijuana And Cancer: Scientists Find Cannabis Compound Stops Metastasis In Aggressive Cancers

    Posted: 09/19/2012

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/19/marijuana-and-cancer_n_1898208.html

    http://www.endalldisease.com/harvard-study-says-marijuana-cures-cancer/

    " For three weeks, researchers injected standard doses of THC into mice that had been implanted with human lung cancer cells, and found that tumors were reduced in size and weight by about 50 percent in treated animals compared to a control group. There was also about a 60 percent reduction in cancer lesions on the lungs in these mice as well as a significant reduction in protein markers associated with cancer progression."

    But we are all just stoned lying druggies….right…

    The one that kills me is the RECREATIONAL user that lies to a doctor to get a 215 recommendation "just because they like to get high"…know anyone like that Kevin? I sure do, they even brazenly admitted to it.
    Isn't that a felony by the way?

    #65944
  14. This is the article I have been waiting to see. Thank you so much posting an article that is filled with honesty. I don't think the stats are the most important part of this piece so am confused why Mr. Burn uses arbitrary evidence in attempts to take the validity from this article. When I read about the hardworking mother and influential member of our community being arrested for growing a little dope and plastered on the newspaper I was blown away. Just to let you guys know at the Arcata Eye, why do you think there is a bust everyday here in Humboldt? Cannabis is our cash crop, everyone is doing it. Mothers, fathers. grandparents… The scene is controlled by the older conservative gentleman that own many of the legitimate businesses in the community, you really think that the hippies are the ones making all the money? Cannabis has been proven to reduce the size of tumors and from many many testimonies of people battling cancer has actually helped put the cancer in remission. I don't need to continue to stress the medical benefits for cannabis those diagnosed with cancer. Talk to a cancer patient for yourself and find out the truth. Cannabis has been used as medicine for thousands of years. Believe it or not history didn't just start 70 years ago with the discrimination, racism and castration of the jazz music scene, mexican american immigrants and corporate greed (I'm not making this up.. William Randolph Hearst played a major role in the criminalization of not only cannabis but hemp as well… Why was this? Do you really think he cared about any sort of morality? "His aggressive efforts to demonize cannabis were so effective, they continue to color popular opinion today.In the early 1930's, Hearst owned a good deal of timber acreage; one might say that he had the monopoly on this market. The threatened advent of mass hemp production proved a considerable threat to his massive paper-mill holdings — he stood to lose many, many millions of dollars to the lowly hemp plant. ") Kevin Hoover, to laugh at the medical benefits of cannabis makes you look like an ignorant fool who doesn't deserve a job in the media. This is not the 1920's. I am sorry to come off as rude but if you know the history of cannabis and it's role as a medicine then you would not make these stupid comments. Talk to a cancer patient or someone with AIDS, talk to someone that has severe depression and would be dead without the use of cannabis. Talk to the ones that live with chronic pain and have been prescribed opiates by their doctors, to soon only become "Medically addicted" (A term used when the patient was taking their pain medicine legitimately but kept getting their dosages upped by their medical professionals and as a result led to a rising tolerance which led to severe addiction). There are so many instances where I have personally seen cannabis benefit an individuals life. I personally know that my quality of life would be nonexistent without the use of cannabis. Do you guys think that all this is about is money? You think every grower is just trying to get rich and cash out? Many have chosen this as a life path because they care about the ones that they are providing for. (Obviously you have cases of violent criminals getting involved which actually does happen in Humboldt quite a bit but I think that this is a direct result of cannabis being illegal, all the mom and pop growers that I personally know, and there are A LOT, are really amazing inspiring people with beautiful families, beautiful homes and beautiful hearts which seems to be the case of the director of main st.)

    #64717
  15. Kyle Jensen

    This is the article I have been waiting to see. Thank you so much posting an article that is filled with honesty. I don't think the stats are the most important part of this piece so am confused why Mr. Burn uses arbitrary evidence in attempts to take the validity from this article. When I read about the hardworking mother and influential member of our community being arrested for growing a little dope and plastered on the newspaper I was blown away. Just to let you guys know at the Arcata Eye, why do you think there is a bust everyday here in Humboldt? Cannabis is our cash crop, everyone is doing it. Mothers, fathers. grandparents… The scene is controlled by the older conservative gentleman that own many of the legitimate businesses in the community, you really think that the hippies are the ones making all the money? Cannabis has been proven to reduce the size of tumors and from many many testimonies of people battling cancer has actually helped put the cancer in remission. I don't need to continue to stress the medical benefits for cannabis those diagnosed with cancer. Talk to a cancer patient for yourself and find out the truth. Cannabis has been used as medicine for thousands of years. Believe it or not history didn't just start 70 years ago with the discrimination, racism and castration of the jazz music scene, mexican american immigrants and corporate greed (I'm not making this up.. William Randolph Hearst played a major role in the criminalization of not only cannabis but hemp as well… Why was this? Do you really think he cared about any sort of morality? "His aggressive efforts to demonize cannabis were so effective, they continue to color popular opinion today.In the early 1930's, Hearst owned a good deal of timber acreage; one might say that he had the monopoly on this market. The threatened advent of mass hemp production proved a considerable threat to his massive paper-mill holdings — he stood to lose many, many millions of dollars to the lowly hemp plant. ") Kevin Hoover, to laugh at the medical benefits of cannabis makes you look like an ignorant fool who doesn't deserve a job in the media. This is not the 1920's. I am sorry to come off as rude but if you know the history of cannabis and it's role as a medicine then you would not make these stupid comments. Talk to a cancer patient or someone with AIDS, talk to someone that has severe depression and would be dead without the use of cannabis. Talk to the ones that live with chronic pain and have been prescribed opiates by their doctors, to soon only become "Medically addicted" (A term used when the patient was taking their pain medicine legitimately but kept getting their dosages upped by their medical professionals and as a result led to a rising tolerance which led to severe addiction). There are so many instances where I have personally seen cannabis benefit an individuals life. I personally know that my quality of life would be nonexistent without the use of cannabis. Do you guys think that all this is about is money? You think every grower is just trying to get rich and cash out? Many have chosen this as a life path because they care about the ones that they are providing for. (Obviously you have cases of violent criminals getting involved which actually does happen in Humboldt quite a bit but I think that this is a direct result of cannabis being illegal, all the mom and pop growers that I personally know, and there are A LOT, are really amazing inspiring people with beautiful families, beautiful homes and beautiful hearts which seems to be the case of the director of main st.)

    #65938
  16. Kevin Hoover, I want you to know that I can put you in contact with people that are terminal and working on their bucket lists as we speak that use medical cannabis as a form of relief from all the prescription medicines that make them sick and unable to eat. I would love for you to make these smart ass comments to them and see the tears in their eyes. Have you met someone that is terminal before Kevin? Someone that has had their death date given to them? I would love to see your cold hard heart smashed by a terminal patient, maybe they could give you some light? Please email me or message me on Facebook and I can put you in contact with a friend that is going through a very hard time right now.. Maybe if you see human suffering first hand you can try to possibly understand and maybe appreciate compassion?

    #64718
  17. Kyle Jensen

    Kevin Hoover, I want you to know that I can put you in contact with people that are terminal and working on their bucket lists as we speak that use medical cannabis as a form of relief from all the prescription medicines that make them sick and unable to eat. I would love for you to make these smart ass comments to them and see the tears in their eyes. Have you met someone that is terminal before Kevin? Someone that has had their death date given to them? I would love to see your cold hard heart smashed by a terminal patient, maybe they could give you some light? Please email me or message me on Facebook and I can put you in contact with a friend that is going through a very hard time right now.. Maybe if you see human suffering first hand you can try to possibly understand and maybe appreciate compassion?

    #65939
  18. Kevin Hoover

    Kyle. A few things.

    1. I have supported cannabis legalization since I was in college in the 1970s. I have written numerous editorials advocating both legalization and medical cannabis.

    2. Yes, I do know people for whom cannabis provides the only relief. So lectures and condescension have no persuasive effect on me.

    3. Just because cannabis makes money for some doesn't mean the for-profit growers have the right to make everyone around them in their neighborhoods miserable. That's why Arcata has sensible guidelines for people to grow and buy their own without the destructive effects.

    4. i am one of the few people in Arcata who has taken the top Washington, D.C. decisionmakers to task, personally, over their reefer madness.

    http://www.arcataeye.com/2011/09/federal-cannabis-policy-evolves-or-not-–-september-24-2011/

    5. See if these two facts can co-exist in your mind: cannabis should be legal, and factories don't belong in residential neighborhoods.

    #64720
  19. Kevin Hoover

    Kyle. A few things.

    1. I have supported cannabis legalization since I was in college in the 1970s. I have written numerous editorials advocating both legalization and medical cannabis.

    2. Yes, I do know people for whom cannabis provides the only relief. So lectures and condescension have no persuasive effect on me.

    3. Just because cannabis makes money for some doesn't mean the for-profit growers have the right to make everyone around them in their neighborhoods miserable. That's why Arcata has sensible guidelines for people to grow and buy their own without the destructive effects.

    4. i am one of the few people in Arcata who has taken the top Washington, D.C. decisionmakers to task, personally, over their reefer madness.

    http://www.arcataeye.com/2011/09/federal-cannabis-policy-evolves-or-not-–-september-24-2011/

    5. See if these two facts can co-exist in your mind: cannabis should be legal, and factories don't belong in residential neighborhoods.

    #65945
  20. I shouldn't have come off so rude, I have seen some of your replies and do fully understand some of your concerns. Not all indoor gardens are "dangerous factories" though… right? I do understand that there is a serious environmental risk with the large usage of all that energy though.. (I preached environmental consciousness in a place that was not very environmentally conscious) However I have seen in my neighborhood how they can pose risks (I am not sure if methamphetamine was involved as well though?).. I am not even a grower but I have met a lot of good people that do grow, that don't pose risks to myself or the community. However there may be ones that do.. which I think is because the black market attracts the real criminals. I don't think every house in a residential area should be a grow house owned by someone out of the neighborhood because I do care about our area (I live here as well…) and want the best for it! I will also be the first to agree that certain growers that don't have any morals (The ones that will pollute the rivers, streams, the land, divert mass amounts of water, etc) should be dealt with. If cannabis were considered a more legitimate field path (Which it should be… right?) Then maybe we wouldn't have all the problems that exist in our community as a result of dangerous "transients"..

    #64732
  21. Kyle Jensen

    I shouldn't have come off so rude, I have seen some of your replies and do fully understand some of your concerns. Not all indoor gardens are "dangerous factories" though… right? I do understand that there is a serious environmental risk with the large usage of all that energy though.. (I preached environmental consciousness in a place that was not very environmentally conscious) However I have seen in my neighborhood how they can pose risks (I am not sure if methamphetamine was involved as well though?).. I am not even a grower but I have met a lot of good people that do grow, that don't pose risks to myself or the community. However there may be ones that do.. which I think is because the black market attracts the real criminals. I don't think every house in a residential area should be a grow house owned by someone out of the neighborhood because I do care about our area (I live here as well…) and want the best for it! I will also be the first to agree that certain growers that don't have any morals (The ones that will pollute the rivers, streams, the land, divert mass amounts of water, etc) should be dealt with. If cannabis were considered a more legitimate field path (Which it should be… right?) Then maybe we wouldn't have all the problems that exist in our community as a result of dangerous "transients"..

    #65946
  22. Samantha Lee

    The marijana industry here…hmm…have you ever known a person who never wants to be specific about anything, but rather prefers to exist in perpetual vagueness? That's what this industry is. Legalize it and you get the Feds off your back, you can grow in your backyard, provide cannibis therapy for seriously ill individuals without any fear at all of legal blowback, etc. Then of course you also get an entire income bottoming out, businesses folding left and right, and an entire new chapter added to the "Industries that Folded in Humboldt" book. Keep it illegal and the industry survives but risks daily raids by a schizophrenic fed, weekly grow house fires, and stagnation as far as any real (ie: non-stigmatized) medical marijuana research goes. So this is how we roll: keep it illegal to keep the prices up but bitch vociferously every time the law gets enforced (ie: yes it's illegal, but can't you just leave it alone); wax on about the family growers' honorability while simultaneously complaining about bloodthirsty polluting drug cartels (the first should be legal but keep the illegal price point, the second obliterrated or absolutely prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law); cry out for education in order to remove the stigmas associated with cannabis use while also fueling the stigma by keeping it illegal. It's wanting it both ways-ism to the nth degree up here.

    #64734
  23. Samantha Lee

    The marijana industry here…hmm…have you ever known a person who never wants to be specific about anything, but rather prefers to exist in perpetual vagueness? That's what this industry is. Legalize it and you get the Feds off your back, you can grow in your backyard, provide cannibis therapy for seriously ill individuals without any fear at all of legal blowback, etc. Then of course you also get an entire income bottoming out, businesses folding left and right, and an entire new chapter added to the "Industries that Folded in Humboldt" book. Keep it illegal and the industry survives but risks daily raids by a schizophrenic fed, weekly grow house fires, and stagnation as far as any real (ie: non-stigmatized) medical marijuana research goes. So this is how we roll: keep it illegal to keep the prices up but bitch vociferously every time the law gets enforced (ie: yes it's illegal, but can't you just leave it alone); wax on about the family growers' honorability while simultaneously complaining about bloodthirsty polluting drug cartels (the first should be legal but keep the illegal price point, the second obliterrated or absolutely prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law); cry out for education in order to remove the stigmas associated with cannabis use while also fueling the stigma by keeping it illegal. It's wanting it both ways-ism to the nth degree up here.

    #65940

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