Posts Tagged With: power


It is a given that marijuana is here to stay. Is it a good business?

I listened to the complaints. I listened to the growers and I had concerns of my own. For instance, I’d heard from a Stockton man that RJ Reynolds tobacco company was in Calaveras County, promising people seeking permits, to fund them. The deal: they fund the permit and the expensive set up for the grow. The grower could run the farm for 4 years, collect the profits and then turn over the farm to RJ Reynolds for a preset price. The corporate profile of RJ Reynolds tobacco company, with a desire to take over  the new “smoke” was  believable.

From the audience,  growers and designated speakers, both trounced RJ Reynolds interest as a false rumor.

Another guy griped, they plan to do background checks and fingerprint all the employees?  That’s ridiculous. Why don’t they do that for asparagus farmers, or furniture makers?

I don’t know that fingerprinting employees is overboard. You get fingerprinted for civil service work. Wells Fargo wants your fingerprint before they’ll cash a third-party check. Fingerprinting is quite common. I get the “Big Brother Is Watching” comparison. There are security cameras everywhere. I expect a marijuana grow should have security cameras.

Obviously Marijuana is a different crop than asparagus. Marijuana is an addictive substance. There are those who argue it isn’t.  But anyone using it and using machinery, whether on a farm or a public road presents a danger to himself and others.

Rules proposed should be strict.  If someone has a criminal background, should they be trusted to obey strict rules? I once owned a grocery store in Murphys. I sold beer and had to have a background check and a license to sell it. I was fingerprinted.  I hired a young high girl to run my store on periodic days off and she sold beer to a high school chum, a minor, and put me in jeopardy. I believe it is smart to have a background check. Cannabis growers should have permanent employees receiving minimum wages and paying taxes.  Fly by night employees, with no record of payments, or being paid in cash, is a bad idea.

In Oregon, I own a house across the road from a grower. That grower can have six plants for each registered patient. The grower is very careful because if he is caught with any infraction of the rules, his permit is yanked, his stock is confiscated, and he can never get back in the business again. That is strict. Plus, inspectors can make surprise inspections any time of the day or night. This grower plants five plants per patient on the off-chance that a card is withdrawn and he would be six plants over his allowed amount if he had a surprise inspection.

That brings up another gripe.  How can a personal grower have 99 plants for his own use?  One plant will supply a pound of marijuana, way more than enough for one person. Even six plants is more than one person needs for  personal use.  Are they subject to the same rules as a big grower? They have to be selling it or giving to their friends who in turn may sell it to their friends and minors? I believe the Callaway/Stevenot initiative will solve that problem.

At the meeting, one angry guy, who came in late, shouted out a question and he was shouted down for not following protocol. After the meeting, my friend asked him what the problem was. He explained that he has, (I think it is six plants), he paid his permit fees and found out that the landowner he rented from had to sign as the grower and his landlord didn’t want to sign. Now he is stuck with the plants, he wants to be legal, but his landlord won’t sign. It isn’t surprising that Callaway/Stevenot and crew couldn’t think of everything. I understand his dilemma.

Here is what I consider a problem. Why is it that Liquor stores must have permits and their employees are required to be over 21 to sell liquor?  Why is it that a limited number of licenses are available for bars who are dispensing spirits? If you want to open a bar, or a restaurant where you dispense hard liquor, there is a limited number of licenses allowed according to the size of the population you serve? Yet, Calaveras County accepted, from last count, over 900 applicants. This county has a small population, but a great growing area. Are we to become a Mecca for marijuana users?   Callaway said, “I don’t see how any of you are going to make any money.”

One couple my friend and I talked to, burned out by the Butte Fire. They had a wonderful tree business on their property. Their livelihood was stripped from them in one day. They’ve decided to become growers. I hope they make it. They are the type of people who will be solid citizens and help legitimize a volatile substance so it doesn’t endanger our kids and invite cartels into the process.

The illegal growers hiding in canyons don’t want regulation and they will vote it down. Our sheriff has complained he needs a law to go in and take them out. The county adopted an urgency ordinance, a temporary ordinance until the voters speak.

Electricity is a problem. Three fires were caused this past week on marijuana grows. One, while working on a generator and another while trying to hook up a well. The third fire, cause unknown. We need infrastructure, better roads, more power. Plus strict controls.

I’m a supporter of legalized cannabis with strict regulations. I suspect we’ll muddle through, but it won’t be easy. Supervisor Oliviera attended the meeting and he exhorted people to study the issues before they voted. Good advice, but it is a tough call.



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It is an exciting thought to double your income in less than a year, like Red Emerson, the billionaire owner of vast tracts of timber land in the Sierra Mountain Counties like Calaveras, Alpine, Shasta. First you do a bit of Union Busting, so the employees in place of your operations have no one to report your shoddy practices that sometimes lethally ignore safe working conditions..

It helps to get a couple of politicians in your pocket before you go to Hildalgo, Mexico and hire by contract workers willing to sign on for forest tree trimming work, for two years, at 16.47 an hour. The Department of Homeland Security and Labor unearthed documents and evidence that these men were kept in the forest as virtual prisoners, working seven days a week, sleeping  in tents on the ground, eating rotting food with no refrigeration, for which they were individually charged $120 a week, and left to drink tainted water from a nearby creek. No sanitation facilities. In one affidavit, workers were threatened by men with guns to work harder or they would be shot in the head. Check the link from the Sacramento Bee below for details.

You can check out some of the details at the link below dealing with spotted owl habitat.

Sierra Pacific Industries has clear-cut large swaths of land in Calaveras County with local activists tracing and photographing the ugly patches from the air. What we have to offer here is tourism, natural beauty, lakes and rivers. But it costs us far more to repair the damage caused by SPI in dollars and lives, than we ever get from their operation in “good jobs” and wages. Run off from clear cuts clog streams and have caused mudslides, wiping out a bridge, and so on. WE pay to have it fixed, of course.

Just because it is called “private property” does not mean that someone should have carte blanche to destroy our infrastructure and environment. Everything should and could be done in moderation with care and respect for the land. When you go to the lumber store, don’t buy boards stamped SPI. Ask your dealer where your lumber comes from and don’t reward this obscenely rich, dirty handed owner of SPI, Red Emerson who considers himself above the law. He should be fined every cent he made off those workers.


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The current issue of Smithsonian Magazine pointed out some of the wonders of discovery since the first Earth Day in 1970. Not all of them were negative. Ocean placed wind farms aren’t as damaging as many environmentalists thought they would be.  Birds are not as threatened and habitat for ocean creatures has improved under the platforms.

On the other hand, bio-fuels have turned out to be more damaging than not. Mainly because preparing them releases more methane than the burning oil would have.

And, several new and exciting species were found, an Australian dolphin, a neon gecko and several species of mice.  We think we have seen every living creature and it kind of amazes me that we have not.

Global warming has already caused food prices to increase and, that will likely get worse. Habitat loss for penguins, polar bears and smaller creatures is a difficult problem to solve, and it may be unsolvable in the end. The oceans are in bigger trouble than anyone thought possible.  And, eating meat warms the planet. Hmm. Now, that is something I personally wrangle with. More on that tomorrow.

A great result on bee colony collapse. Scientists now know with solid proof that colony collapse is caused by pesticides. And some positive progress on white nose bat syndrome fungus. The fungus is identified, it is better understood and now scientists are working diligently on a cure.

Did you know that some of our elected officials do not believe in science?  And that some religions and fanatical groups refute science. They are called Flat Earthers.  Science was always my favorite subject in school and my youngest daughter and son-in-law are both scientists and I love bragging about them.  So, if you like science, Smithsonian has a list of wonderful blogs you might like. This is only a partial list and I haven’t visited many of them:  I picked them because they sounded intriguing.

Skepcheck—Cocktail Party Physics—Real Climate—Science Made Cool—Geeks Are Sexy—Extinction Countdown—13.7: Cosmos And Culture.

And one of Smithsonian’s blogs:   Food And Think.






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I have ever attended “Magazine University”. Most editors insist their writers research a subject and know of what they speak. Shoot, I learned the ABC’s of writing, and how to flush a boyfriend down the toilet when I was younger. I learned how to decorate my bathroom, train the dog, to deal with car salesmen, produce a video, buy the best washing machine…the list is endless.  I’ve thrown thousands of them away, everybody has.  With some I can not part. Its unreasonable at my age to still be enamored of any story about the tragic Diana, or those velvety movie stars of yesteryear. I like to look back and remember old Olympic triumphs, the wonderful golfer, Ashley who died too young, or the heady times when Corazon Aquino took over in the Philippines.  And remember Michael Jackson when he was beautiful, brown and healthy rather than that pasty-white phony with a silly thin nose? Yes, I’ve saved hundreds of old magazines. I’m fessing up because I had my son, Doug build me another rack. This is number five. Its mounted from floor to ceiling and made of solid oak.

He installed it yesterday, and I started filling it this morning. Now, I save magazines about a world  in chaos, and how to protect myself in case of Nuclear Winter. I know the Sicilians are fighting the Mafia and winning.The Shriners and other Fraternal Organizations are dwindling as the young find other pursuits. Who will fill their shoes? Traditional management techniques are out and there is a renaissance in the workplace.  Wikileaks are helpful and optimists look at dirt and alarm us to a new resource literally going down the drain. In a struggling economy, thrift store shopping is for everybody. And, Oprah is Quitting?  Oh, no! I save mags about  political slug fests with the hope that the next crop  has better news for the people in this insane political climate. To keep my sanity I can always read about the best hikes in our National Forests and continually learn from the panoply of human experience. I keep as much as I can close by so I can take a cruise through the past once in awhile.

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