Yesterday Rick Steves was on C-SPAN and he misrepresented marijuana legalization. For a more truthful representation of legalization, we advise our followers to listen to Luke Niforatos of Smart Approaches to Marijuana who was also on C-SPAN recently. In Steves’s home state of Washington, there’s a terrible track record of legalization violations.
At least two more child abuse deaths related to marijuana use occurred in May. In Florida, Charles Lee left a baby, aged one, alone. He went into the front yard to smoke pot with a 15-year-old and the baby drowned in a backyard pool. It is not clear what Charles Lee’s relationship is to the parents, but they had entrusted him with the child at the time.
In Salt Lake City, a father smoked pot and fell asleep on the floor. He left out a loaded gun and his two year-old shot himself. Both these incidents reflect the irresponsibility, forgetfulness and selfishness that surround using pot. Unfortunately, the victims are so young.
Drug Policy Alliance, NORML and Marijuana Policy Project are optimistic. They’re huffing and puffing now, having won 7 out of 8 states with marijuana ballots in the November election. They also smirk knowing that President-elect Trump supports states’ rights for marijuana. In 20 or 30 years, they’ll have freedom and no one else really matters. Pot lobbyists don’t explain the real picture. What if the whole country ends up just like Humboldt County?
Humboldt County Leads the Way
The oldest, strongest marijuana culture in the USA is not in Colorado, but in Humboldt County, California. Humboldt, Mendocino County and Trinity County also form this region called the Emerald Triangle. REVEAL, an online investigative platform, reported on the secretive world of sexual abuse and rapes in marijuana country. (The pop culture magazine Rolling Stone doesn’t want the public to know.) There’s politically-motivated denial and deflection, but heavy weed smokers have lots of delusions.
There were 2,000 domestic violence calls in 2015, an increase of 80% over the previous four years.* A routine domestic violence call in December led to a huge bust for guns and weed. Marijuana gained a foothold in Humboldt nearly 50 years ago, and it seems guns and weed are a way of life since that time.
See the video about the ecological damage from illicit marijuana grows
Environmentalists convinced politicians that the logging industry must stop cutting down the redwoods. So the marijuana growers found an opening and they’re clearing out the trees! Aerial views show the redwood forests pockmarked by marijuana grows. It doesn’t seem that High Times and Alternet have caught on to the irony that marijuana green is not environmentally green.
In May of 2008, approximately 1000 of gallons of red diesel overflowed from an indoor marijuana grow’s fuel room into a creek. The marijuana grower had left a valve open when pouring a larger diesel tank into a smaller one. The fuel had spread so far down the rugged stream bed when a neighbor smelled the pungent odor and investigated. He found “20 to 30 pools of red diesel” far below the spill. The environmental cleanup was a massive operation, from damage which rivals the impact of an oil spill in the ocean.
Marijuana and Fire Damages
Fires are frequent throughout California, and marijuana sometimes causes these fires, including hash oil (BHO) explosions. The massive Soberanes fire this summer uncovered several illegal marijuana sites. Marijuana growers may have started the fire.
The true irony is that when recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado, these home explosions grew more frequent, rather than less. In one week of April 2014, there were four BHO explosions. BHO fires didn’t occur in California before 2010, so liberalizing pot laws and expanding marijuana access created a new problem. (In 2010, pot was decriminalized in California.)
Murders, Suicides and Missing People
If a tv news magazine were to expose the murder, rape and sex trafficking in Humboldt, reporters may be at risk. An investigative journalism report released in September revealed that some trimmigrants and girls end up getting abused or raped. The marijuana apologists mislead by insisting that murders and rapes happen because prohibition forces growers into hiding.
There were at least 22 murders in Humboldt County in 2016. Only 134,000 people live in the county. (Often it’s difficult to distinguish murder from suicide, which occurs at a rate twice the national norm.) Humboldt reported 352 missing people in 2015, more per capita than any other county in the state.
Domestic Violence, DUIs and Humboldt’s Other Problems
Humboldt County district attorney Maggie Fleming sat down for an interview with Paul Mann of the Mad River Union recently. (The entire article is in Lost Coast Outpost.) “We see DUIs all day long in this community …. There are people who are drinking or using prescription meds or smoking marijuana or using methamphetamine or heroin and driving at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Some of our fatalities are in the middle of the day,” Fleming explained.
She listed multiple factors powering Humboldt crime: high rates of driving while intoxicated; the county’s nightmarish marijuana, drug and alcohol culture; the prevalence of domestic violence and the deep-rooted poverty that inflicts childhood trauma and impairs children’s health, often with lifelong afflictions, including criminal behavior. She definitely sees the crime is a result of the drug culture. Both those with substance abuse problems and those selling drugs for financial gain instigate the crime.
“I see firsthand how marijuana is a social and environmental disaster,” a policeman from the Emerald Triangle wrote to PopPot.org. “Youth access, abuse, transient population moving in to grow or trim, associated criminal behavior all rising.”
“Where there is pot …there are other drugs…..and all the behavior associated with lives less enabled,” he said. “The money isn’t worth the social cost to our world.”
–Emerald Triangle policeman
It’s clear that having a marijuana culture adds to the use of other drugs. Those laid back from smoking too much dope will try amphetamines to get them back up again. It also leads to rampant alcohol abuse, since booze just enhances the effect of the drugs. People think the homelessness problem in Humboldt is caused by mental illness, but one social worker in the area disagrees. He is certain that rampant drug/alcohol abuse precipitates the problem. Politicians in both parties remain clueless of how drug use creates mental health problems. Their ignorance will continue as long as it’s politically incorrect to blame pot for anything.
Seven hundred homeless children without parents or guardians in nearby Mendocino County, also part of California’s “Emerald Triangle” growing region. These street kids sometimes work on the pot farms, but basically no one has ever loved them enough to care for them. They’re likely to become drug users too, and the cycle of multi-generation drug use will continue.
Pueblo is a Warning to Other Places
Four years after Colorado legalized marijuana, the small city of Pueblo is another example of how pot commercialization can destroy life for the residents. “I can no longer allow my 13-year-old to walk the dog, one mother said. There was recently a murder 3 blocks from our house.” Pueblo failed to pass two referendums which would have closed dispensaries and growing sites in the city and county. Some people think of marijuana as an economic panacea for lost jobs in the steel industry. However, it has created a huge increase in the homeless population. Pueblo doctors recently made videos showing the damage marijuana is doing to the health care in the community.
International cartels have moved into Pueblo and bought up property for their marijuana grows. The black market is booming. Russians, Cubans, Argentinians and Cambodians have come to town. Pueblo, Boulder and Denver lead the state in percentage of high school students using pot, but in Pueblo there are more problems. Fully 12% of high school seniors have also used heroin.
Is marijuana growing also going to replace tobacco growing in Kentucky and Tennessee? Will it be a substitute for the coal mines that shut down in West Virginia and Pennsylvania? When policy is driven by knee-jerk reactions without careful planning, chaos follows.
At this time, the United States has more than half of the world’s illicit drug users. Six percent of America’s high school seniors are daily marijuana users. It appears that the legacy of drug use is going to continue creating this problem for America’s children. Humboldt County is the future of our country if we continue to believe marijuana use is perfectly harmless and normal.
Each drug has at least one quality that makes worse than all other drugs, and for marijuana it is what it does to the teen-aged brain and motivation, according to Ed Gogek, author of Marijuana Debunked.
Problems on the San Juan Islands
Kathleen Bartholomew, a nurse and a grandmother in the San Juan Islands of Washington, explains what it’s like living in an area with long-time marijuana users: “Of the 7th grade pot users, 80% received the pot from their stoner parents.”
“My own granddaughter went from being a straight-A student skipping her sophomore year in a private school to a pot-smoking 15-year-old in the public school system. Her story started in 7th grade when a few seniors taught her how to smoke marijuana at lunch,” Bartholomew explained.
Also in the San Juan Islands, a young man with mental illness issues died tragically from dehydration in jail last year. Keaton Farris suffered from bipolar disorder; a history of marijuana use would be consistent with the tragic ending. The risks for mental illness from early marijuana use cannot be adequately addressed in an environment that glorifies pot use. (His mom sold t-shirts in his honor at Seattle Hemp Fest, which doesn’t prove that Keaton used marijuana, but suggests his family had a peculiar fondness for the weed. The family has reached a settlement in the case.)
With many parents and grandparents using pot, we seem to be creating a multi-generational society of drug addiction. Drug addiction today is multi-substance addiction, making the treatment more complicated and the prognosis worse than it was in the past.
One member of AA and Narcotics Anonymous in Chico, California, explained what happens to multi-generational drug users when they try to get clean. “I need to teach them to dress, bathe and feed the baby, brush their teeth and floss, all skills they did not learn growing up. They must start life anew.” Sobriety gives them hope.
People laud the success of anti-smoking campaigns but what has really changed youth smoking rates is the lack of adults who still smoke cigarettes. It has become socially unacceptable. How can an anti-pot campaign for kids can’t work when more adults are eating pot candy, or smoking it, and it’s advertised everywhere?
Recently a father from Washington who drove recklessly and was stoned forced his 12-year-old daughter to walk home. Some of these parents really don’t seem to be aware of the trauma they may be forcing their children to experience. Traumatized children will be more inclined to abuse marijuana, alcohol and other drugs.
We need to break cycles of addiction if we are to have healthier adults who don’t follow their parents’ dysfunctional cycles. Compared to 40 or 50 years ago when alcohol was the primary problem, we now have multi-substance addiction. If we stopped substance abuse we could end about 70% of child abuse. We will have more success in rooting out problems by getting to their roots in substance abuse, not possible when we are normalizing drug use.
Finally, we need to be in compliance with international treaties, especially The Rights of the Child Treaty, and as long as we allow marijuana legalization, we are out of compliance with the treaties. For more information, read On Marijuana, edited by Pamela McColl, and Marijuana Debunked, by Ed Gogek, MD.