Michael Shellenberger’s book San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities came out on October 12, 2021. The author is a veteran activist and advocate of progressive policies, but he’s concluded they aren’t working in San Francisco. He blames the homelessness problem in west coast cities on widespread mental illness, drug addiction and bad policy, not on mild weather or the numerous other reasons cited by homelessness advocates.
Shellenberger casts a wide net to gain a perspective based upon a diversity of viewpoints. His book combines personal experience, deep research and numerous interviews with policy experts; individuals of various races and political persuasions; formerly homeless and incarcerated individuals; homeless advocates and relatives of those living in the streets. He recommends a new policy, Cal-Psych, which would replace the failed program from Proposition 63 (on Mental Health) and come up with a new plan for conservatorships, voluntary and involuntary mental health and addiction treatments.
His plan is bold, but is it too late? Will severely ill, violent, drug-addicted offenders be able to submit to treatment? We hope San Francisco can go back to the beautiful city it once was, but the transition will be difficult. If anything, “San Fransicko” should be a warning to other cities not to follow the lead of San Francisco. However, it appears that many Californians are also revolting against the drug-enabling policies of the Bay Area and the state.
Belief in drug use seems to be common in those arrested
The FBI arrested Tim Gionet, also called “Baked Alaska,” for his involvement in the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6. Gionet is a far-right media personality. Gionet said he was given his nickname “because he is from Alaska and that he smoked marijuana at the time.”
Libertarian urges describe extremists on both sides, as they don’t care how drug use affects others. Looking into the background of some of the recent arrestees reveals the frequent involvement of marijuana or prior marijuana arrests. In fact, anecdotal stories of lighting joints in the Capitol appeared in the news.
One man flashed a big smile and posed for cameras while holding Nancy Pelosi’s lectern. Could that smile reflect a marijuana high? It turns out that he’s from Florida and his name is Adam Johnson. He had a prior criminal history which includes “possession of marijuana and violation of probation charges.”
Another bold insurrectionist, Cleveland Meredith, came from Colorado to Washington, armed with weapons and high potency edibles. “By his own admission, the defendant is a habitual user of marijuana and has a history of mental illness.” This statement comes from the government’s case for a pretrial hearing.
Aymann Ismail, a reporter who covered the incident for Slate said, “When I was there in the riot, I saw aggressive instigators but also young people who were getting high, celebrating, and seemed to have no idea of what they’d done.”
What common policies do protesters on the left and right have in common?
Clearly protesters on both sides have diverse reasons behind their activities. Those on the far left want to get rid of police, while those involved in the Capitol insurrection included paramilitary groups and police.
The left and right have some points in common, despite their differences. Superficially, they’re very different, but delving into the issue more deeply shows deep alienation, something relieved by drug use, only to come back with a vengeance.
the opposite end of the political spectrum, they stand for: police and prison reform, concern about the housing problem, end sex trafficking, stop the endless wars abroad, challenge the two-party system and end the drug war.
Another misunderstanding of these activists and their views is that we cannot have solve housing, homelessness problems or address police and prison reform until drug use in America goes down. Drug use is going up, not down, which will lead to worse public health, and more rioting and restlessness.
Whatever initial spiritual connection comes from common drug use, it rapidly breaks down and disintegrates, as happened during the Summer of Love in 1967.
The city of Portland has been plagued with nightly violence, arson and attacks on police for three months. Last month Portland experienced the highest homicide rate in one month in the last 30 years. In fact, in each month except March, the number of shootings exceeded the previous year’s rate for that month.
How does one explain extreme changes in the city over 5 years? How much does the explosion of new marijuana stores fuel the current violence in Portland? Oregon opened commercial “recreational” marijuana stores in July 2015, and now Portland boasts 304 licensed marijuana shops.
Obviously there’s much going on that does not concern Black Lives Matter in this city that is 6 % African American and 77 % white. While COVID-19 frustrations and concern over the treatment of African Americans may have started the protests, a different force fuels nightly crimes. Anti-police sentiment runs strong, but the current violence has nothing to do with the right to protest and free speech.
Could the anti-police protests be associated with cannabis use among young adults in that city? Negative effects of marijuana include irrational fears (paranoia), impaired judgement, delusional thinking, and aggressive or violent behavior. Remember how San Francisco’s Summer of Love came to a very bad end back in 1967? History often repeats itself.
The first unit to go was the gun violence reduction unit. Portland’s fiscal year began July 1, so it’s easy to measure the outcome of disbanding the gun violence reduction unit. There were 99 shootings in July, resulting in 15 deaths. August looks to be much the same, now that people 8 people were shot in the last week.
The mayor and city council decided to reduce the police budget specifically by defunding three specific units. As schools begin, Portland’s high schools will no longer use the police department’s school resource officers. Then in January, the police department will no longer patrol the transit system. As city officials give into demands of the rioters, the more the rioters mock and take advantage of them.
Portland residents Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein explain their views of what’s happening in a series of podcasts, the Dark Horse Podcast. Only a tiny proportion of Portlanders agree with the defunding policy, but the rioters win. Seattle, another city full of pot shops, is also defunding its police, but a petition to refund the police gathered over 200,000 signatures
Marijuana stores busier and pot shop thefts explode
Cannabis sales have gone up 20% since March. Furthermore, 60 weed store thefts have occurred since May. Really? Weed was supposed to make people mellow, or so they claim.
From this article, Weed Robbery Spree Strikes Portland: Joe Russo, who co-owns a cannabis distribution company, says the sales increase makes sense. People are working less [coronavirus related job loss] and many are getting generous unemployment benefits.
“It makes sense that recreational vices are picking up,” Russo says.
Police officers speak up
Is it possible that Portland’s violent protestors deliberately loot the purveyors of their favorite drug? Are these nightly rages against the federal courthouse drug-fueled rampages? We submit the following evidence to the court of public opinion.
This below video is a press conference with some of the front lines police officers giving their perspective. The first to speak is Sargent Brent Maxey, who described a nightmarish attack on his Central Police Precinct building, and the civilian workers inside. Maxey says:
“It got to the point where they were throwing burning material into the lobby through the gaps in the windows, and blowing marijuana smoke, it was almost like a scene out of a horror movie. It was really unnerving…they had removed all the plywood, they had disabled all the exterior cameras, they started coming at the windows with hammers, they had removed some 2×4 lumber and were smashing at the windows of the precinct at what I believe was a sincere effort to get inside… by words and actions their intent was to harm us and essentially burn down the building…”.
–from Police on Portland Protests video, below
Officer Rehanna Kerriage describes many of the calls received by the downtown Portland precinct:
“consist of livability issues: camping issues, mental health, drug issues, some shootings, stabbings, protest related issues and defending police property.”
–from Police on Portland Protests video, above
We know that many drug users end up homeless and living on the street (camping issues) with deteriorating mental health issues.
Homelessness is up, too.
The homelessness population has completely changed since 2014. Back then, it wasn’t even noticeable. Are people moving to the city because of the weed and then becoming homeless?
A drug legalization lobby, spearheaded by Drug Policy Alliance, aggressively demonizes law enforcement with oft-used phrases such as, “war on drugs,” “mass incarceration,” “militarized police force,” “low level drug crimes.” Their game is to make the public believe that possession of drugs, rather than crimes committed while on drugs, lands people in jail. This year, the Drug Policy Alliance donated nearly $ 2.5 million for a ballot to decriminalize all drugs in Oregon. Drug Policy Alliance, a Soros-funded group, gave most of the $ 9.2 million used for Measure 91, the ballot to legalize pot, back in 2014.
Marijuana use is a frequent element of these mass protests the “Chaz/Chop zone” in Seattle, the Ferguson protests and the attack on the Central Portland Precinct. While it may be scientifically difficult to associate marijuana use to the mob violence breaking out in several cities, it is still important to observe and pinpoint what role marijuana use plays as a root cause of the violence.
Cannabis’ negative effects can promote some of the behaviors we witness in the triggering incidents and the follow-on protests and riots. Among those are, resisting arrest, confusing fact with fiction, attractions to violent ideologies, mood disorders, paranoia and psychosis, violent outbursts. Jeremy Christian, who committed the violent knife attack on a Portland train three years ago, was a cannabis fanatic.