Barack Obama, the captain of the U.S., speaks about marijuana legalization in “Going the Distance,” his New Yorker interview with David Remnick.

Here is part of the relevant passage:

When I [that’s Remnick] asked Obama about another area of shifting public opinion — the legalization of marijuana — he seemed even less eager to evolve with any dispatch and get in front of the issue. “As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”

Is it less dangerous? I asked.

Obama leaned back and let a moment go by. That’s one of his moves. When he is interviewed, particularly for print, he has the habit of slowing himself down, and the result is a spool of cautious lucidity. He speaks in paragraphs and with moments of revision. Sometimes he will stop in the middle of a sentence and say, “Scratch that,” or, “I think the grammar was all screwed up in that sentence, so let me start again.”

Less dangerous, he said, “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer. It’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.” What clearly does trouble him is the radically disproportionate arrests and incarcerations for marijuana among minorities… .

Geeze, Mr. Obama. Way to shame cannabis users.

Is having fun a waste of time? Is finding relief from cannabis for whatever ailment a waste of time? Is blatantly defying nonsensical federal prohibition of a most useful plant a waste of time?

Is looking cool in high school a waste of time?

I don’t think so.

Oh, Mr. O, how I wish you would come tour cannabis country this summer. You could stay at the Benbow, you could see some weed trees, some redwoods. You could go to Reggae on the River — you’d be the most VIP attendee ever.

If only Mr. O could see the beauty of an outdoor cannabis plant that’s being cultivated in a sustainable way, in a way that’s respectful of the watershed, maybe then, the next time someone asks him about legalization, he would praise cannabis revolutionaries instead of slinging shame.

The wisdom of the Camo Cowboys is spot on here. Here is a lyric from their song “Cash’s Theme,” a track on their self-titled album that’s all about living the outlaw cannabis farmer life:

The only laws I’ve broken are the ones that don’t ring true, laws without a victim of the crime. And so you’ll find me smoking a sweet puff or two. It’s OK with my conscience every time.

All of us cannabis folk are outlaws to some extent, whether growers, consumers, processors or vendors. And there is a motherlode of us cannabis folk out there. Whether you deem any given cannabis associate as an outlaw, a hero or a douchebag, well, that’s your prerogative — you have stellar judgement, of course.

I’m definitely not trying to argue that all cannabis folks are saints, but should all of us be shamed for our involvement in cannabiz?

Wherever you may be coming from with your view on cannabiz, I want you to know that the following quiz is meant for cannabis-friendly folks that might actually find a bit of humor here. After all, there are so damn many cannabis associates in Humboldt County, some that might take pride in their outlaw status.

So tell me,

What’s Your Emerald Triangle Outlaw Status?

1. You get invited to work a season on an outdoor pot farm in Northern Mendocino. The digs are solid. Do you go?

a. I can’t. I have my own outdoor pot farm to tend to this year.

b. Well, I can’t be there for the whole season. I’m doing summer school at HSU. But I can come to the farm to work a few days each month…

c. Are you kidding me? Farming weed is felonious. But I do wish the farmer a good season.

2. Hauling pounds… Have you ever?

a. Yeah, I’ve moved a lot of weight.

b. I’ve moved a few pounds here and there — nothing maj. Just locally. I’ve trimmed a lot of pounds though.

c. No. Hauling weed is felonious. But my cousin Charlie does it, and I wish him well.

3. Your friend’s neighbor just finished up a run in her garage. She asks you if you want to trim up the pounds for market at a rate of $250 per pound (she’s generous). Do you take the job?

a. Pssshhhaaaawww… I’ve got this. I can trim two pounds a day, easy. I’m a professional.

b. Nah… I’ve trimmed weed a few times. I know it pays well, but personally, I think trimming weed sucks. Thanks anyway!

c. Trim weed? [Insert sideways glance here.] I don’t think so. I’ll stick to my job at the neighborhood Italian restaurant, thank you.

4. Would you ever live in a grow house?

a. Oh, sure. I’ve lived in a few already. There was that one in Trinidad, three different grow houses in Eureka, one in Portland, and shit, I’m growing weed in my spare bedroom right now.

b. I’ve definitely been to some grow houses and I know people that live in them, but I don’t necessarily want to live in one… That is, unless the terms are favorable.

c. Grow houseā€½ (<- That’s an “interrobang.”) No thanks. Never. I don’t know how people live like that.

5. You think of a pound of weed as:

a. Your standard unit of measurement.

b. Always so exciting to behold. All I ever saw before I came to Humboldt was 1/8ths and ounces.

c. Something that belongs in the incinerator. No, that’s a joke. But seriously, don’t bring any pounds near me.

6. You think hash is:

a. Tricky business, but somebody’s got to make it. And mine is pretty bomb, I have to say.

b. Awesome! Especially that BHO stuff. Keep talking…

c. I’m sorry, are you talking about breakfast potatoes? Kidding, kidding. I don’t do hash.

7. You think medicinal cannabis is:

a. A good reason to grow in bulk — there are a lot of people that need access.

b. The best thing that ever happened to me. I’m so glad there’s decent access to medical marijuana in Humboldt.

c. OK by me, as long as medicinal cannabis users keep it low key and don’t flaunt their weed use.

8. Do you ever spend money on weed?

a. Never. Well, actually, I spend money on weed in order to earn money on weed.

b. Only if I have to.

c. Oh no, never. I only ever smoke weed like once in a blue moon, if I’m at a party or a show, or something.

The Breakdown

Mostly a’s?

Emerald Outlaw.” You are a canna-risk taker, an Emerald Outlaw. You’re down to do what you gotta do, which is to do what you do. Whatever that may be. (Maybe, like Drake, you’re just doing you right now.) But you’ve seen some shit. You’ve pushed the limits (in totally sustainable and earth-friendly ways, of course). And maybe now you want keep growing weed beyond legalization…?

Mostly b’s?

Walking the Line.” You keep one foot in the outlaw pool. You dabble (Dabs… What?) in cannabis commerce, but you haven’t given all aspects of your life to cannabiz. You’re consistently involved on some level, though maybe that was in the past. Your outlaw connections in the cannabiz have kept you afloat during some hard times. You’re down with cannabiz, fa sho.

Mostly c’s?

Vanilla Outlaw.” You’re not all about the cannabis vibe and you think Cypress Hill is some of the worst music ever recorded. But you acknowledge that cannabis has medicinal value (Who doesn’t?) and you understand and can sometimes appreciate the function of marijuana in the community. However, you prefer to leave the weed stuff to the weed peeps.


Oh, snap. I know where I stand. Where do you fall in the spectrum?


Thought y’all might like to know that the Salmonid Restoration Federation (SRF) is hosting a Workshop to Explore Water Issues and Solutions for Rural Landowners on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, at the Beginnings Octagon in Briceland.

Topics include how to navigate water rights, conserving water in a time of drought, resources for rural landowners and local and regional water conservation efforts. For more info call SRF at 923-7501.