Our Damn Parents put on a Marijuana Workshop!




hutchens - reefer - mijares

Oh, I didn’t mean literally YOU, Mom and Dad; that was more of a figurative “our parents,” in reference to OC authorities (Sheriff Hutchens and School Superintendent Mijares) hosting three professional itinerant drug warriors to subject us all to a 2016-model Reefer Madness smorgasbord of scare stories.  I know, sounds like another Orange Juice Blog field trip, and indeed it was… (click for larger image)

reefer madness 2016 oc

These three traveling yarn-spinners – Project SAM‘s Dr. Kevin Sabet, the Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force‘s buffoonish Thomas Gorman, and Five Minutes of Courage‘s effervescent Jo McGuire – all of whose livelihoods depend on perpetuating prohibition – really know how to frighten while entertaining, and vice versa.   But anyone with a functioning bullshit detector had to set it on vibrate that evening to avoid the scolding stares of the rapt assemblage.

The new hobby-horse of these raconteurs is how terrible, chaotic, dangerous and decadent Colorado has become since pot legalization (not so much talk of Washington state for some reason.)  But their cherry-picking, exaggerations, and gross lack of context jumps out to the slightly critical listener.   The favored source for most of their Colorado scare stories is the rabidly prohibitionist Colorado Springs Gazette, owned by rightwing billionaire fogey Philip Anschutz.  It is fun AND educational to first read the anti-pot rants of the paper, and then the hilarious and intelligent comment section underneath, penned by sensible Coloradans.

It also spares me the trouble of debunking these four-flushers’ Colorado horror stories.  Our problem here in the OC is not them, but the fact that we have two such fanatical elected leaders who squandered taxpayer money putting on a completely one-sided show aimed at “elected school officials and local business leaders.”  OJ friend Paul Lucas got video of Hutchens’ and Mijares’ opening remarks;  allow me to fisk them a little:

It’s well-known that Sheriff Hutchens, whom Mijares later praises as an “evangelist” on this issue, is also a breast cancer survivor.  Presumably her illness and recovery didn’t entail the use of medicinal marijuana, but lots of cancer victims find it irreplaceable.   How can a cancer survivor be such a pot prohibitionist?  She’s always been nice to me, and that night she told me that “the issue is personal” to her, and she would explain why later, but I’m still waiting to hear back from her.

In any case, in the video above, you hear her listing three things “you’ll hear [pro-legalization] people say.”

  1. They’ll say, “It’ll empty out our jails.”  Hutchens counters that nobody is in HER jails for marijuana possession.  Well, that is only TECHNICALLY true.  I met plenty of guys in jail who’d gotten in trouble for something years earlier, were let out on probation or parole, and got caught up in an endless cycle of violation and incarceration just because of something as harmless as a joint (or a pocketknife in their toolbox.)  Many of them would be free and productive family members by now if it weren’t for the fact that even a tiny amount of pot is still illegal.
  2. They’ll say, “It’s gonna raise taxes, and help us with our budget.”  Hutchens counters, “I’ll tell you what, I’ll go without some other service, or I’ll pay higher taxes, if that’s what it takes to not legalize marijuana.”  Not only is that not a rebuttal, but she is speaking for YOU, OC taxpayer.  Do you agree?  (Where have you gone, Bill Hunt?)
  3. They’ll say, “It’ll put the cartels out of business.”  For one thing, these are comical strawman exaggerations of what “they’ll say,” but in fact, new reports indicate that our loosening prohibition IS hurting the Mexican cartels in the pocketbooks[Hat-tip Sotero Diaz.]  Hutchens:  “They’ll just move on to something else – what are they selling now?  Heroin.”  Hey, here’s an idea I hope I can get you all enthusiastic about:  Let’s a whole bunch of us just not do heroin!

no heroin

Then our grim-looking Superintendent of Schools begins by rallying the prohibitionist faithful:  “You will be persecuted.  You will be like the Greek philosopher Diogenes.”  Really, it’s that scary and lonely to be attached to and apologetic for the status quo?  That almost reeks of the paranoid self-pity of some white people and Christians these days.


Dr. Mijares then goes on to visibly jones for the years when he was a high-school principal who could regularly suspend or expel students for toking on a joint – ah, those were the days, my friend!   He says that when legalization comes to this state, and IF he were still raising children, he would MOVE OUT OF CALIFORNIA rather than subject them to such a decadent environment.

Well, that’s all I got, guys.  The Weekly‘s Mary Carreon was there as well and already wrote this fine report.  Our own Diane Goldstein was there and promised us something (DIANE???)  And here are a couple more good articles debunking the propaganda about Colorado’s legalization experience.  Party on, and be excellent to each other!

bill and ted lincoln

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.