Cannabis and our founding fathers


As Webmaster for this site and administrator of our Facebook page, I encounter some curious claims in support of commercial cannabis in Plumas. Here are a couple of doozies from the people bringing you the November ballot initiative:

One congratulated supporters for “changing history” and compared the impact of their efforts to those of the founding fathers. This person went on to say that Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson “would be proud of them” and that “they’re smiling from the heavens.”

Well, alrighty then. Before I get to this gush of hyperbole, here’s one about the right of the ballot initiative. The commenter defends our freedom to petition, as do I. But what loses me—and likely most thoughtful patriots—is the strange application of the famous passage (in added italics) at the end of the comment:

“The freedom to petition is equally as important as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and so on. In closing, a quote from some raggedy piece of hemp paper, called the Declaration of Independence, ‘In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.'”

Historical misappropriation

Who’s the prince in our Plumas cannabis debate? Who are the tyrants? The BOS? The CGRCO?

By the way, the final Declaration of Independence was written on parchment, not hemp. One or more of the working drafts may have been written on hemp, but there’s nothing raggedy about the document. What is raggedy is the misappropriation of an essential passage to push something the majority of our founding fathers would not support. It’s silly and a slap in the face of real patriots who resisted genuine tyranny.

As for the first claim about changing history: How did pro-commercial cannabis folks change history with a ballot initiative? Perhaps the grower means that they made history. It would take quite a trip to change it—or a time warp.

Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson would be proud? Franklin’s drug of choice was opium, and his overriding concern would have been for the common good of many—not for the self-interest of a few.

Jefferson was into hemp, not cannabis. Yes, he would’ve applauded bringing our issue to the vote, and he’d respect the will of the people, but proud and smiling from the heavens? Don’t be silly.

The common good

The common good are three words pro-commercial grow folks pooh-pooh as old-fashioned and/or embraced out of fear and ignorance. The founding fathers championed the common good as necessary for a happy and fulfilled people. Here’s a properly applied quote from another founding father:

“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men …” ~ John Adams

Speaking of misappropriation, several commercial cannabis freedom fighters have rattled a warning that originally likened messing with the American colonies to walking on rattlesnakes. In this misapplication, “Don’t tread on me” doesn’t make a lick of sense because we’re all Americans and rattlesnakes are part of our shared California experience.

Here’s a suggestion: Come up with your own catchy warning. Maybe something like “Don’t go against the grow, bro.”

High as a founding father’s kite

To pro-commercial cannabis folks:

Let’s get real.

When it comes to medical marijuana and caring for patients, we’re with you. When Prop. 64 passed in November 2016, some of us were caught up in the “Spirit of ’16.” However, let’s remember that our state, which routinely champions individual liberty over the common good of its citizenry, wisely empowered its counties and municipalities to regulate commercial cannabis activity.

There is no right under the warm Golden State sun that ensures your ability to enrich yourselves with commercial cannabis in Plumas County. You are right about your right to pursue your cannabis business dreams via the ballot, but please don’t drag our founding fathers into it. I hate to break it to you, but the majority of them wouldn’t be on your side anyway.

If you lose in November, it won’t be because you were deprived of any rights. It will be because the majority of voters put the welfare of Plumas and its people over your self-interest. If you think otherwise, you’re higher than Ben’s kite.

Rather than play pretend with high-sounding proclamations of their supposed support, let’s stick with our century, our leaders, and our cannabis issue. Leave the lofty and silly to those who don’t know their nation’s history or the character of its founders.

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