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Excerpt from Dreams

Marijuana vs Salmon (p. 528)

From chapter "Relationships With Other Sides"

In California, the number of marijuana plants a person can grow for medical use is regulated by each county, with the state merely determining that the number allowed can be no less than six. For many years the county where I live, Del Norte, had set the limit at one hundred plants. There are those who, believe it or not, found that number excessive. So the county Board of Supervisors, prompted by members of the church and (selective) law enforcement communities, wanted to reduce that number to six. Before the board could do that, however, it needed to hold a public hearing.

The night of the hearing was a lesson in participatory democracy. The meeting room was packed with angry growers and users, clamoring against the possibility of the Board of Supervisors taking away their medicine (or, in some cases, their pot). Had the members of the board voted that night to lower the number of plants a person can grow, they would have had a hard time escaping the room.

That was participatory democracy in action, in all its glorious messiness.

All that said, the evening broke my heart, because the room was packed to protect people’s access to marijuana, but when it comes to protecting salmon, maybe four or five people will show up.

I am unutterably saddened that people love marijuana more than they love salmon, more than they love any part of the wild world.