Friday, January 22, 2010

Flirting with the Drug War

A FEW MONTHS AGO, I ventured into rural and rugged western Sierra County, exploring roads that were scribed on a map – skinny, wiggly roads I had yet to experience. In circumstances like these, my mind wanders into odd crevasses of dislogic and I find myself thinking about being the first person ever to see what is unfolding in front of me. Dislogic this is, because if I were the first, how could there already be this road? Still, the feeling of discovery unleashes the dopamine that excites my senses and urges me onward. It encourages me to enjoy the ride and long for the next adventure – the next unexplored road on the map.

Speaking of dope (yes, there is a very direct connection between the term “dope” and term “dopamine”): about two weeks back, an unemployed cement contractor from the Sacramento area decided to rob and secure to a table leg – or some other stick of furniture – an independent pharmacologist in the very area I had so recently discovered. Unfortunately for the contractor, within moments of the robbery, the pot farmer loosed himself, got into his pickup and chased down the thief. The ensuing road rage left the interloper dead as his own vehicle was rammed, pushed off a windy highway 49 and crashed into a tree somewhere down the canyon side.

The sheriff reported that lots of folks up on “the ridge” make their livelihood growing weed and that one should use caution when venturing out in the hinterlands, as stumbling across a plot or plantation, or surprising a grower could have violent and deadly consequences.

I thought immediately about my six-weeks-prior sojourn into the woods on a road that, for a time, simply faded into the duff.

• What might have been just to my left or my right along that route?
• What might have been just over the hill?
• Or just through those trees?
• If I stumbled upon some entrepreneur’s homestead, would the individual care that I didn’t give a rip about how he spent his time or what he did with his land?
• Or even on the public lands?
• Would he care that as a non-pot-smoker myself, I favored legalization so that he could come out from the shadows?
• Or would legalization take the profit out of his little slice of agri-business?
• In the west, do they still really shoot first and ask questions later?
• If so, did I want to risk becoming yet another casualty of the ill-advised drug wars simply so I could pretend I was a latter day Daniel Boone?

I guess I’ll continue to ride the enchanting rural roads of the Sierra until I find out.


  1. Great post Dave. After a breif conversationis with officer Biggs, I'm convinced we should legize the stuff and keep hikers and bikers safe from being casualties of a crazed campaign to keep citizens from enjoying themselves.

  2. It's tough to type on these iPhone screen keyboards so please excuse the mispelling of legalize. You get the idea I'm sure.

  3. Roger on the spelling thing, Tim; as well as the rest of your comments. Government shouldn't pick fights they cannot win. The drug war would be one (of many) example.

  4. Yep Mr. B Good story you have tagged it. Just need one bit of clarity, however, regarding the use of public land bullet. Would it be acceptable for such an agri-business entrepreneur to grow his product on the same public land where he had placed a sign disrespecting the Pres?

  5. Absolutely not, Mr. Boek, however, if riding the range and confronted by some asshole drug grower with an automatic weapon, I'd be happy to compromise to him and say, "I don't care."