Life in the cannabis capital
If you live or travel outside our county’s main cities, you probably think you’re smelling more marijuana and seeing more plastic covered ag structures. The state’s update of active cultivation licenses confirms you’re absolutely right. Today California has 3,431 active cannabis cultivation licenses for medicinal and adult recreational use; 27% of these licenses (925) are in Santa Barbara County.
As you’ve no doubt heard, residents and farmers in some parts of our county are up in arms about cannabis. Impacts are concentrated because licenses are concentrated. Among the main areas:
Buellton to Lompoc (think the world famous Sta. Rita Wine AVA) is reeling from 407 cannabis licenses. That’s 44% of all cannabis cultivation licenses in the county, and a whopping 12% of all licenses in California. Carpinteria has 284 cultivation licenses, which is 31% of all cultivation licenses the county, and 8.3% of all licenses in California.
So, three-quarters of Santa Barbara County’s marijuana cultivation and 20% of the state’s total cultivation is in either the Carpinteria or Santa Ynez/Lompoc valleys. Is that over-concentration? Does that impact other crops? Does that affect residents and workers? You betcha!
If you’d rather live in a county known for beaches and wine than pot and plastic, let the county planning commissioners know that they need to fix this over-concentration, and that they should not issue new permits until that’s accomplished. Please send a brief comment to firstname.lastname@example.org to be forwarded to the Planning Commission.
Look out, Goleta. You could be next.
Wrong message for good cause
I’m concerned about the tone of this global call for action. Of course, we need to clean up our mess and transition off fossil fuels immediately, because their monopolization of our energy supply is fueling the extreme inequality that plagues humankind. It is terrific to see so many young people demonstrating their concern for the future and leading the charge. However, how helpful is it to tell the young that they may not have a future and that there is no time left to better understand what forces are in play and what possibilities we have in response? Stampeding people into action from such a desperate mind-set will most likely be counter-productive and lead to unintended consequences.
I see humanity as a self-organizing biological system embedded in larger self-organizing systems. How likely is it that the part (humanity) can fully understand the whole (Gaia)? It is the height of ignorance and arrogance to think that we need or can fix the planet. There is a climate science consensus that pretends that there are few if any reputable scientists who question their modeling assumptions. Past cycles suggest we may be headed for a mini ice age, which is often preceded by a warming period.
The addiction monster
I read with sadness the “It’s a Wonder Drug” article of Page A6 in the Oct. 1 paper. Being on this end of a now 26-year-old son’s eight-year heroin addiction, “enabler” would be my word for this “Lazarus, resurrection-like” drug. The anguish, the 40-plus rehabs, the money that could have funded retirement, not to mention the loss of family joy and connection between our other child, our marriage, our larger family and friends … How many of these “great overdose reversals” continue the crushing cycle of the addiction monster? We all pay — taxpayers, the insured, families, employers. The “wonder” to me? Who’s accountable? Where does it end?
Opinions are part of the equation
Regarding Jim Hurst’s commentary, “Teach Facts, Not Opinions” (Voices, Sept. 29), there is much to admire about his concern for using facts to improve our educational system. However, as a former English teacher, I tried to instill in my students a healthy appreciation for facts and opinions.
It is not merely enough to rely on facts alone, for they can reveal a person’s biases as much as opinions can. When teaching students about American history, for example, do we teach only those facts that we deem important and leave out other views? And what about opinions given by learned men? I maintain that those views can be more valuable to us than some facts selected by uninformed people. Even Mr. Hurst uses a number of opinions to persuade us that facts are all important; this nation is “such a great place to live” and “spending hours in special classes is ridiculous” are two examples.
It is not enough to think that facts are good and examples are bad. What is important is to know is that facts can be credible or misleading, and opinions can be quite valuable, depending on the source. Besides, Democritus said, “Nothing exists except atoms and space; everything else is opinion.”
Buy American, think American
We Americans can do more for our country than our legislators and government ever could. We can help ourselves, by ourselves, for ourselves. A noble suggestion: Do not buy merchandise made in communist countries and from countries that do not have civil rights and respect for women. Use only natural resources and energy that come from the U.S. Don’t give into jealousy and greed by purchasing cheaper goods and services. Once again: Buy American and think American.