Homegrown protectionism

  Thank you for your excellent story, "The Public Land’s Big Cash Crop" (HCN, 10/31/05: The Public Lands' Big Cash Crop). As a recent transplant to Northern California, I’ve had a rapid education on the cultural impacts of this taboo plant.

The argument that if only cannabis were legalized the problem would disappear was given short coverage. If legalization were to occur, there would be a dramatic decrease in the price, because black-market forces (the risk of prosecution) would no longer restrict the supply. Ironically, what the CAMP and DEA efforts do enable is the persistence of small-scale producers in alternative communities. For many Northern California counties, income from the harvest supports everything from environmental activism and renewable energy installation to meth labs; not to mention the local economies that manage to survive and thrive despite the reductions in timber and agriculture income.

Legalization would hurt some producers in the short run, but it would force Californians to move towards more sustainable economies, and save vast resources currently spent on enforcement and incarceration.

Name withheld
Northern California