Bill Weinberg's blog

Mexican cartel cultivation in California? Maybe not.

Posted on January 8th, 2013 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , .

CaliforniaFor years, police forces in the Emerald Triangle and elsewhere around backcountry California have been hyping an increasing presence in the region's forests of Mexican and Russian cannabis grow ops linked to criminal mafias and cartels based abroad. Now, refreshingly, a Los Angeles Times story of Jan. 2, "Roots of pot cultivation hard to trace," takes a dispassionate look at the question. The piece opens with a slightly lurid lead about camo-clad federal agents ready to "lock-and-load" in a stake-out on National Forest land in Kern County, fearing attack by Mexican cartel gunmen. But at the end, the piece basically tells us not to believe the hype:

Blood Ganja

The most enlightened cannabis connoisseurs—those who still have a link back to the values that defined the hippie culture—tend to be conscious consumers when it comes to food or computers or whatnot. They may buy organic tomatoes, boycott Taco Bell to support exploited farm workers in Florida, and petition Apple about the brutal conditions in their Chinese assembly plants. But do they pay as much attention to the source of their preferred smoking herb? 

Is there blood on your ganja?

Legal cannabis: environmental disaster?

Posted on November 19th, 2012 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

earthWe have noted before that the cannabis industry has a huge carbon footprint—something of a dirty little secret for the legalization movement. This is an especially relevant fact in Colorado, where Amendment 64 specifies that all legal weed must be grown indoors. Roberta Ragni in the Italian eco-journal GreenMe, asks "Marijuana Legalization: What Will It Mean for the Environment?" After quoting triumphant pot activists, Ragni lays on the inconvenient truth:

Colorado cops leery of legalization

Posted on November 17th, 2012 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

ColoradoThe Fiscal Times is enthused by the emergence of "Pot-economics" and the "The Birth of the Legal Weed Industry" in Colorado after Amendment 64. But PBS News Hour emphasizes that "State Is Anxious Over US Government's Reaction" after the Colorado vote. Note the quote from Jerry Peters of Denver's North Metro Drug Task Force:

Colorado legalization law portends corporate cannabis?

Posted on November 14th, 2012 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

ColoradoWith Colorado hoping to harvest revenue from taxes and licensing fees on newly legal cannabis, the herbal enthusiasts who fought for Amendment 64 may find their fantasies of free—or at least cheap—weed dashed by the state's new marijuana order. National Public Radio on Nov. 13 features an interview with reporter Tony Dokoupil, author of a Newsweek cover story, "The New Pot Barons." He notes the restrictive system already in place for medical marijuana in the Centennial State, and warns:

Three books reveal underground press roots of counterculture

Posted on July 4th, 2012 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

FugThree recent books each provide a prism on the matrix of the American counterculture in the 1960s underground press movement—with a particular focus on the germinal scene on New York's Lower East Side. Following the interlocking characters that passed through such institutions as the East Village Other bi-weekly and affiliated Underground Press Syndicate opens a window on a moment whose influence and significance have never received the recognition that the parallel scene across the continent in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury won.

Steve Ben Israel, NYC counter-culture legend, dead at 74

Posted on June 5th, 2012 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Steve Ben Israel, legendary thespian, veteran of the ground-breaking Living Theatre troupe, and pioneer of what he called "performance life" (as opposed to performance art), died June 4 of lung cancer at his home in New York's Greenwich Village. He was 74.

Cannabis certain winner in California's new "Emerald Triangle" congressional district

CaliforniaThanks to last year's redistricting, California now has a new Second Congressional District that some call the "Emerald Triangle District"—running from the Golden Gate to the Oregon border, through the cannabis counties of Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity. The primary is in five days, and under California's new open-primary system, the two leading vote-getters will move on to the November general election, regardless of party. In the field of 12, the most outspoken herbal advocate is Garberville's veteran Earth First! tree-hugger Andy Caffrey.

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