Willie Nelson, the Border Patrol and the Teapot Party

Border Patrol agents stopped a tour bus carrying Willie Nelson and band members at a checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, Texas, 100 miles from the Mexico border, smelled weed, called the K-9s and found six ounces of wackybaccy on the bus. Nelson posted a $2,500 bond and was released four hours later.

The singer now faces 180 days in jail and $10,00 fine. Local county sheriff says he’d like to have Nelson cook and clean and maybe wear one of theose stripey outfits.

Rolling Stone reports

The arrest doesn’t sit well with Texas attorney Dick DeGuerin, a criminal defense lawyer who recently represented Tom Delay and country singer Billy Joe Shaver, and was lawyer to David Koresh during the 1993 FBI siege of the Branch Davidian ranch outside Waco, Texas. DeGuerin questions the lawfulness of the search, which he says occurred 100 miles from the Mexican border. “It needs to be contested,” he says.

“It’s supposed to be a checkpoint only for aliens, and [agents] overstep their authority all the time,” he says. “I’ve had several cases from that checkpoint and they just use the opportunity to check out anybody they want to. If you have long hair, if you’re driving a van or it looks like you’re from California or you look like a hippie, they do profiling.”

Nelson said in an email to CelebStoner.com:

There’s the Tea Party. How about the Teapot Party? Our motto: We lean a little to the left. Tax it, regulate it and legalize it. And stop the border wars over drugs. Why should the drug lords make all the money? Thousands of lives will be saved.

This is Nelson’s third arrest for pot. I hope he doesn’t pull a celebrity rehab redemption…Nah. Check out the stoners in this video.

POTUS and Pot Urge Voters to Polls

We have mid-term elections coming up Tuesday November 2, and they are pretty important, so important that POTUS Obama is appearing on the Daily Show on Wednesday October 27 to remind people to go to the polls and  vote in case they didn’t do their mail-in ballots. Please vote. It’s really sexy to know someone cares about their city, county, state and country enough to make that effort. Use your voice, mark your ballot!

Obama appeared on the Daily Show during the presidential campaign and he is pretty amusing. Daily Show host John Stewart will be Washington DC prepping for the Rally to Restore Sanity on October 30 which he’s co-hosting with fellow Comedy Central pundit Stephen Colbert at the Washington Mall. Sounds super fun!

This year’s mid-terms are important–well, golly every election is important, but anyway–because the balance in Congress could tip, with the Democratic party standing to loose seats. Which could suck if you’re a liberal/progressive. And might suck if you’re Fox News, because then what would you have to complain about?

Along with Congressional races there are four states which have marijuana on the ballot: California for Prop 19 legalization; Oregon with Measure 74 to regulate the sale and distribution of medical marijuana;  and medical marijuana initiatives in Arizona (Prop 203) and South Dakota (initiated measure 13).  Pot is a big draw in the Oregon elections, and could be a defining moment in these four states’–and our nation’s–history.

Even if you don’t live in those states, please vote. Michele Bachmann is bonkers, and as amusing as it to watch her meltdowns, like would you want her in Congress?  Christine O’Donnell gives witches a bad name, and doesn’t do much for any other group with whom she is affiliated. Heck, even Karl Rove doesn’t like her.

And governorships! Those are super important! Vote! And maybe set your betamax  to catch the Prez next Wednesday night.

CA Potheads: Vote! There’s More on the Ballot than Marijuana.

So now everyone who wishes to vote in California has registered, the legislative analyses have been mailed out and it’s time to get down to srs bsns.

Californians, it is really important to vote in this election. So fill out your mail-in ballot and leave it for the postperson if you think you can’t manage to get to the polls (gods know I am fairly langurous and prefer the simple stamp to actually leaving the house.)  There are some important races on the ballot, and if you don’t vote, you really need need to STFU about how things are being run.

Okay, along with the gubernatorial and senate races, there’s Prop 19 which should be enough to get you to the polls, ye slackers, stoners, and sybarites!  Politics make strange and sometimes hot bedfellows: There are non-smokers who are yes supporters;  wake’n'bakers who are no;  medical/215 clients and casual users who have divergent views yea vs nay; and people who are still trying to figure out what “space” with regards to a minor means–and if  passing out pot brownies at a party constitutes “personal use.”

Whether or not you are voting for legalizing pot because you are appalled at the way the war on drugs is being run and want the state to have some cash; or against it because of the patchwork of jurisdictional laws and  potential environment impact of acres of indoor growing  on non-renewable resources, figure out what works for you and go vote.

If Prop 19, which is ahead in the polls passes, United States Attorney General Eric Holder is gonna crack down in Cali. Hopefully medical won’t be impacted. I hear the cry across the land

Oh noes I’m a on list!

Prop 19 will feel the effect of whoever is elected as State Attorney General, a post now held by gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown.

Well,  Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley who is running as the Republican candidate is really opposed to CA’s 215 medical marijuana business, and even more so to Prop 19. Earlier this month, he told an audience at a UC Davis debate:

I really am strongly opposed to Proposition 19 for many reasons. I would be inclined to advise that it is unconstitutional and pre-empted by federal law.
Cooley stood with LA County Sheriff Lee Baca–IMO a hypocrite who has co-signed the thuggish cult of Scientology for decades, riding on their parade  floats and speaking at their events, despite the cult’s  clear cut violations of human rights, child labor laws, and basic human decency–on Friday October 15 when Baca said Prop 19 was superseded by federal law and if passed, would be found unconstitutional.
Proposition 19 is not going to pass, even if it passes.
As Los Angeles County District Attorney, Cooley cracked down on dispensaries from the time of the passage of 215 on. He doesn’t like pot, he doesn’t like pot being sold. And goodness knows what he would do to 215, but maybe I am just being all Cassandra on the walls of Troy again. Like I was about Holder and the Feds.
Candidate Kamala Harris–former San Francisco District Attoney whose endorsements were plastered all over HempCon by both the for and against 19 pot advocates and, per UC Davis School of Law Dean Kevin Johnson
sees herself as an attorney general who will focus on issues not just involving crime and law enforcement, per se, but also issues of environmental justice, protecting consumers and more broad issues
–took a more cautious approach on Prop 19 at the UC Davis  debate.
I believe that if it were to pass, it would be incumbent on the attorney general to convene her top lawyers and the experts on constitutional law to do a full analysis of the constitutionality of that measure … and what action, if any, should follow.
Prop 19 comes down to states’ rights, as by the way, so does AZ Prop 1070. As with AZ 1070 expect Constitutional challenges. The Drug Enforcement Agency anticipates suing if Prop 19 passes.
What will be fascinating if Prop 19 passes–and it is eight points ahead in the polls, with the LA Weekly Dennis Romero pointing about that Holder’s remarks:
Way to piss off Californians so much that we might actually pass this thing…Kiss our Golden State ass.

–is that potentially Tea Party/states rights/militia types and libertarians could cuddle up with liberals, libertines and hippies to fight for an elected initiative that runs contrary to Federal policy. Sit back, order in pizza, and start the pop corn, it’s a smoking Constitutional cause and democracy’s finest hour. Dude.

The Best of Humboldt: Love in the Devil’s Weed Patch

Humbolt Co crash

I found this on Humboldt’s Craiglist.org, along with other grow related ads. It really sums things things up–or it’s the result of a really creative copywriter! Note that the advertiser was the investor in the project…

Can you GROW better than my Ex?

He’s gone; his equipment is not. I am not a gardener, but here is what I can describe: There is a complete set-up with a black tent, a large filter, a light with a hood, a different light that looks fluorescent to me, pots, chemicals, a large tub and a pump, etc. Basically everything someone would need to get off of their feet. It has all been purchased within the last year, and has been used twice.

I have receipts for many items and it was all purchased at local hydro stores, except the tent which was purchased online. I am not desperate and will not give it away… I know I spent about $4000 but any serious offers will be considered. I am a professional person and just want all of this out of my life, I don’t need more hassle, so please don’t respond if you aren’t reasonably mature and discreet.

Farm Report #8: Whither or Wither?

Humboldt County’s marijuana crop brings in about $300-$500 million annually, while the rest of the county’s $3.6 billion dollar economy comes from cattle and dairy, education, forestry, wildlife, construction, lumber, fishing, media, non-profits, tourism, wellness, restaurants and retail.

The local community radio station KMUD gives reports of fixed wing aircraft, helicopters and law enforcement movements. They are supported by donations for the growers, as are numerous community service clinics, non-profits and businesses. One grower told me that many small businesses were opened by people who would have found a way to be successful no matter where they were. But the infusion of cash for start up didn’t hurt.

With legalization will come some problems as well as a potential economic downturn if prices don’t hold. And there’s a good chance weed won’t stay at $3,000 to $5,000/lb.

What Humboldt has going for it is a lot of what Napa and Sonoma Counties have with regards to wine, what the French call terroir, a group of vineyards (or even vines) from the same region belonging to a specific appellation and sharing the same type of soil, weather conditions, grape and wine-making knowledge, all of which combine to give its specific personality to the wine. Can branding and appellation help keep Humboldt afloat?

Humboldt weed is legendary, whether grown indoor or out. Will legalization change that? Most plants are clones, so technically, Mr. Nice or any number of varieties could spread like, well, weeds. Is appellation possible? Co-ops could be formed like the dairy co-ops, organic certification is possible, outdoor vs indoor labeling…but is that viable?

Can Humboldt create a pot tourism industry like Napa’s wine tourism industry, and to a smaller extent Los Olivos, and build on what is already there in the gorgeous county? Does it want to?

Humboldt has a strong organic food and farming base, plus wineries and breweries. Loleta Farms raises its own cows and makes their cheese right in their shop in Loleta. Loleta also has an organic bakery that uses locally grown wheat and fruit. Cypress Grove Chevre makes Humboldt Fog and other goat cheeses. Grass-fed beef is the norm; pork and lamb are also raised, and yes, I saw “meat rabbits” at the county fair, but that’s not likely to be a major retail food anytime soon. Locally grown fruit and vegetables abound. Add in an art scene, a film festival, performing arts, the Victorian homes of Ferndale, and you have a really sweet area for vacationing, an hour flight from San Francisco, two hours from LAX–when it’s not fogged in.

Can all that–combined with the ocean, rivers, and lush mountain scenery, river rafting, surfing, and eco-tourism–plus legal artisanal pot help lure tourists? We’ll see in the next year or so. There’s still a harvest to be brought in before the election, and November 2 there’s a Legalize Pot rally at the Veterans Hall.

Farm Report#7: Trimming the Workforce?

Female plants are valued in Humboldt; they produce the buds. The male plants are winnowed and yanked out. When it comes to trimming time, women are valued, too. They do most of the trimming, at about $25 an hour. Cash. Under the table.

Some people might think it’s sorta sexist that women do that work–and there is a sense that most of the trimmers hired for a harvest are young, perky and pretty, leading to grumbles among some of the older workers–but the logic was explained to me by a veteran grower:

It’s more fun and easier to sit around a bunch of women. They are in general better at removing the leaves.  And then there’s the matter of safety.  Women are less likely to organize rip-offs. It’s necessary to have a discreet work force, with some locals supervising and others who short term and not form the area.

An indoor grower gets three harvests a year, and may have the trimming done in a location away from his grow house, again for safety.  Music plays, food is supplied, and while it’s work, it’s more fun than WalMart and higher paying.  A trimming gig can cover the cost of school for a semester, a new car, a trip, or savings.

One woman I spoke to, along time Humboldt resident, had never worked in the ganja business, but after loosing her job was going to take the plunge. She said it was getting harder though to  find a gig because

the trust fund kids come up to earn money for their festival tickets, since their parents won’t give it to them

Gigs are found by word of mouth, through friends of friends, though having worked before for the same grower.

Along with the seasonal, primarily female trimmers, there are men and women who tend large grows and who perform specialized horticulture techniques. Legalization could change the pay for trimming and other related work associated with both indoor and outdoor growing.

For about $15,000 a grower can invest in a machine that turns out perfectly trimmed, standardized buds, a further encroachment on the underground labor pool.

So with legalization, whither or wither Humboldt?

Just Say Now to Sonisphere

Sonisphere, the huge heavy metal fest swings through Europe this summer with acts like Slayer, Anthrax, Motley Crue, Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop. I caught the headbang-athon here in Stockholm this rainy Saturday.

My friend Lyssa B who is crew on Leonard Cohen–he’s playing Sunday–staggered through the mud and crowds with wristbands and badges which were supposed to be for artist area. security–mostly volunteer kids– sent us to different gates where each time we were told to either go back where we’d been or given odd directions. We took a breather to watch a great set by Iggy Pop and that’s when I got to talk to Kevin from Southern California who was there for show. He had the same wristbands we did. So of course I asked him about Prop 19.

That’ll be my first election, I’ll be turning 18 in time to vote and I’m for legalization. My dad is a lawyer and I think the prisons are overcrowded and that someone getting strikes under three strikes for possession of pot is wrong. Their whole life could be ruined just for pot? That’s wrong. And so I’m really excited I get to vote!

After a great set by Iggy (with Mike Watt on bass!) and with Kevin in tow–he was quite a gentleman holding our umbrella above our heads like we were Puff Diddy– we once again tried to access the artist area since I’d wanted to ask the bands about Prop 19, but my plans were foiled by zealous though polite volunteers who weren’t sure what our credentials meant, so saying “no” just seemed safer for them. But at a certain point we went fuck it, stopped asking and somehow by strolling firmly, blithely in the rain with sunglasses on, heads down and ignoring security we ended up backstage. Literally.

yes, we were backstage. Literally.

Suddenly were behind the main stage in a no-man’s land with two clean portapotties (seriously awesome!) and a tiny pop up tent where several cool chick production assistants beckoned us over as the skies opened up. Ah, shelter! We fashioned ponchos from trash bags and tried to text and call our friend who was head of production to no avail since between the storm and tens of thousands people on their cell phones the circuits were jammed. I begged the clouds for a golf cart. Or a coffee machine. Alas there.

Despair as the rain increased. We were resigned to sitting there until..something. But ask and ye shall receive– a golf cart whizzed by and I ran out into the pelting rain.

Are you going to the production office?! Please can you take us?!

Tom the very cute golf cart dude took one look at we three drowning rats who obviously were someplace we weren’t supposed to be and said sure. Our drenched trio squeezed in, me on dashboard, and Lyssa B on Kevin’s lap as we zipped up some side road past crew catering and the rear of stalls selling food and tee shirts. Saint Tom dropped us at production where we were given rain ponchos to replace our trash bags couture, plus candy bars and coffee before being escorted to the fenced off grassy area close to the stage to watch Alice Cooper–a section we’d been sent away from at one point because–who knows why. But now we were there.

Alice so rocked. “Billion Dollar Babies” was awesome. And with real ponchos replacing our rubbish sack wear, we didn’t mind the damp. Until it started to hail, at which point we hightailed it back to production and were ferried in van by a charming tour vet named Duke. He dropped the three of us at the train station which had we hiked to would have be a 30 minute walk. In the rain.

As he drove us through the vast park Duke showed us the community gardens which have a several year waiting list for plots– and he told us the royal residence, which is also on the grounds, has 300 rooms but the newly married princess wants a bigger one. At least it will provide construction jobs.

It wasn’t the day we had envisioned but it was pretty darn fun, despite being soaked to the skin and not getting to exactly where I was trying to be. Met some nice people, managed one discussion about Prop 19 and saw parts of the festival most attendees don’t. It was a pretty rad adventure.

Tonight, Sunday, it’s Leonard Cohen followed by a few days here then on to Gothenburg for Way Out West, a citywide music fest.