Press "Enter" to skip to content

The “Woke” Crowd Needs To Go Back To Sleep

This past Tuesday, May 23, the Board of Supervisors unanimously ok’d a “streamlined” Weed Ordinance intended to break the logjam of local permit applicants who’ve been stuck in-place virtually forever, or at least since the original unworkable, failed ordinance was approved over six years ago.

The County has something like $17.5 million from the state’s Local Jurisdiction Assistance Grant Program (LJAGP), created in 2021 to provide funding to local governments that have problems transitioning weed cultivators from provisional cannabis license status into state annual licenses.

Needless to repeat again but the County’s Cannabis Ordinance has been fraught with problems from its inception.

In a letter that was included in documents and reports accompanying the proposed amended ordinance, the California Department of Cannabis Control stated:

“The Department is prepared to collaboratively engage with the County to address longstanding challenges confronting the County’s legacy operators and California’s legal market. This includes assessing inefficiencies under existing procedures for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and identifying a way by which the Department could (with the County’s assistance) lead revitalized efforts to ensure timely compliance with CEQA for provisional license holders. Likewise, streamlining local permit decisions will provide greater clarity, sooner, to support enforcement of state and local law.”

I’ve heard from a number of pot farmers who’ve studied the new ordinance and believe it may prove successful in accomplishing the long delayed objective of actually issuing cultivation permits to applicants.

We’ll see.

As others have also observed, I find it amusing that a 42-page “urgency ordinance” amending the original Mendocino Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance is deemed “streamlined.”

Something not so amusing was a totally bogus claim by the spokesman for the county’s main pot lobbying organization, that the proposed ordinance’s reference to the “black market” was racially “harmful rhetoric.”

What a load of crap.

According to Michael Katz, of the Mendocino Cannabis Association, “We request the substitution of the phrase ‘unregulated market’ or ‘unlicensed market’ in place of the currently included phrase ‘black market.’ The term ‘black market’ contributes, whether intentionally or not, to structures of white supremacy and institutional racism, and we are confident that the Board would not want to support that kind of harmful rhetoric.”

These kinds of false assertions, based on not even the thinnest thread of empirical evidence or historical fact, are the stock-in-trade of the nutsy “Woke” crowd.

At best, such fabricated and misleading assertions trivialize true racial justice issues, and at worst, foster disharmony and suspicion where none exists.

You’ll find absolutely nothing in the etymology or lexicology of the phrase “black market” that even tangentially or indirectly hints at anything remotely related to racism or white supremacy.

As a degreed political scientist and historian, I can say without any fear of contradiction that all the research I’ve done found that the roots of the phrase solely and only describes the illegal trade that takes place in secret, or in the dark, hence the name “black market.” Because black-market trade occurs “off the books,” so to speak, it represents a whole sector of a country’s economy that cannot accurately be measured.

Universally, standard dictionaries define a black market as an “underground economy, or a shadow economy, or a clandestine market, or a series of transactions that has some aspect of illegality or is characterized by noncompliance with an institutional set of rules or regulatory framework. Examples include the illegal drug trade, prostitution (where prohibited), illegal currency transactions, and human trafficking.”

Other scholarly sources use the term “black” because “tax evasion or participation in a black market activity is illegal, participants attempt to hide their behavior from the government or regulatory authority. Cash is the preferred medium of exchange in illegal transactions since cash transactions are less-easily traced. Common motives for operating in black markets are to trade contraband, avoid taxes and regulations, or skirt price controls or rationing.”

As someone who is a veteran of the Civil Rights movement, as someone who as a young unionist supported and worked with Cesar Chavez’s UFW, as someone who resigned from his original, corrupt union and with others founded an international, rank and file independent airline union that was recognized a “rainbow union,” I deeply resent Woke charlatans like Katz who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about, yet chatter on incessantly.

Paraphrasing a favorite old saying, “While everyone is entitled to act foolish, Mr. Katz abuses the privilege.”

Enough said.

Cannabis factoids

Everyone knows that cannabis use is legal in California. However, cities and counties can prohibit cannabis cultivation, as well as businesses, like retail, manufacturing, and distribution. As a result, the state’s landscape is a patchwork where cannabis-related activities are either legal or prohibited.

I had always assumed that a majority of the state’s cities and counties allowed the full range of cannabis activities. I discovered that my assumption was far off the mark.

According to the state Department of Cannabis Control, two-thirds of cities and counties ban all things pot.

Here’s the breakdown:

• 69 percent of cities and counties prohibit cultivation.

• 61 percent of cities and counties do not allow any retail cannabis business.

• 66 percent of cities and counties prohibit manufacturing.

• 66 percent of cities and counties prohibit distribution.

Mendocino County and its four cities are among a distinct minority that allows all weed-related activities.

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher,, the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District, and is also chairman of the Laytonville Area Municipal Advisory Council. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:

One Comment

  1. Alessandro Machi June 2, 2023

    I have heard that indoor grown cannabis is up to five or six times more potent than outdoor grown cannabis. When the more intense cannabis is taken with other drugs that recently appear to be more intensely synthesized, the result is people who become temporarily out of their minds. While I appreciate your concern over the misappropriation of “black market”, is inside grown pot much more potent than outdoor grown pot, and if the answer is yes, than I am thankful a majority of cities are still not legalizing pot in their community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *