|Save the medical Marijuana, fire teddy! |
Sometimes the biggest signs of epochal change in society are those that are casually mentioned, five paragraphs down in a story. Such was the case with Sunday's four-alarm warehouse fire in Bayview
, where fire crews remained yesterday monitoring for flare-ups.
"Marijuana was found growing in one of the buildings," CBS5
reported, "but police Sergeant Wilfred Williams said this morning that the narcotics unit investigation found that the Marijuana is being grown legally, 'for medicinal purposes'."
Now, of course, that's a completely normal sentiment to youthful San Franciscans. But for a child of the 1960s, it is nonetheless a big, happy deal. Youngsters, I lived in a time when such an incident could not have ended happily for the growers, who would have likely faced a prison term.
Sadly, that's still the case back in the heartland. In May, fire crews in Bloomfield, Iowa
found 1,200 Marijuana plants growing in a Davis County home after
someone reported a blaze. The plants were found in pots in the attic;
authorities got a search warrant, seized the weed, and arrested the
couple who owned the home -- as well as an unfortunate tenant living on
their property in a mobile home, for good measure.
Even in supposedly cultured places like Brooklyn (incredibly, New York still
has no medical Marijuana law), the same sad story plays out. A fireman responding to a Bushwick warehouse blaze
last year spotted a pot-growing operation next door and called the
cops. Eighty to 100 plants were hauled out in trash bags; the growers
all know our city purports to be on the cutting edge. Has Marijuana enlightenment
come to the rest of California? Not all of it, of course, as the
dispensary bans and growers busts continue apace in less enlightened
sectors of the state.
But the change is
coming, or rather has already come, in the form of 1996's Proposition
215 (legalizing medical Marijuana with a doctor's recommendation) and
2005's SB 420 (with the legislature amplifying and clarifying the
original voter initiative, including clearing the way for continued
existence of storefront dispensaries).
some counties and municipalities recalcitrant when it comes to medical
Marijuana, forcing themselves to be dragged, kicking and screaming,
into the 21st Century? Yes, of course. That's what happens when 72
years of propaganda has a head-on collision with the facts. But what
you're truly seeing in places like San Diego and Sacramento are the
death throes of the old guard.
As much as I
hate to say it, some of my drug policy reform friends and associates
are bloody defeatists, forever moaning how The System is so totally
corrupt, top to bottom, that real change when it comes to drug
enforcement is forever elusive and just beyond our grasp, at least
without some cataclysmic paradigm shift.
To these people, I say: The paradigm has already shifted. Shift with it, surf on it, and let's share a smile.
In the fair City by the Bay, heroic firefighters are saving Marijuana plants.