Just across the SLO County line in Kern County, sheriff's deputies recently raided a "marijuana concentrate" lab, confiscating what the department called $9 million in cannabis products.
On Nov. 28, the sheriff was quoted in The Bakersfield Californian as saying that the lab was "highly dangerous to not only the suspects, but the public as well."
The promulgation of such blatant hogwash is common when law-enforcement agencies raid marijuana-related businesses, as our "protectors" assure us that they're keeping us safe from operations like the one in the valley.
In reality, what is really occurring is an ongoing, sustained, taxpayer-funded crusade against a product that, in its many and varied forms, has the potential to cure millions of people of serious illness, while avoiding the brutal side effects that are intrinsic in the prescription medications and procedures of the so-called "legitimate" medical field.
In fact, marijuana is commonly used to control those very side effects, such as the ones associated with cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy.
Spurred on by big oil, big pharma, and big alcohol, law enforcement agencies, funded ad infinitum by their overlord boards of supervisors and city councils, conduct raids like the one in the valley, confiscate and destroy equipment and product (without due process of law), and then they tell the public how much it has been "protected."
The press release after the valley raid said, "If any piece of equipment was to fail, or the suspects were to put the equipment together incorrectly, the operation could have caused an explosion in the building causing serious bodily injury or death."
See how much the sheriff was protecting the public?
People familiar with the Kern operation say that the facility was state of the art, so secure that people could have safely smoked inside the building, had they chosen to do so.
Meanwhile, oil spills, such as the major pipeline-rupture catastrophe north of Goleta on May 19, 2015, can cause $257 million in damage and destroy countless sea life, yet no one is arrested or charged with a crime, there's no call to "protect the public from the oil industry," and such polluters march on, unabated.
The effort by our judicial and law-enforcement systems against the marijuana industry is a crusade because it's built upon hysteria, unsubstantiated claims, and bogeyman propaganda. Chew on this fact: About half of all the homicides and assaults committed in the nation every year are committed when the offender, victim, or both have been drinking, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence!
Yet recreational users of marijuana, who cause no such damage, are forced to deal with a corrupt anti-marijuana system that makes growing, harvesting, processing, and distribution of the plant and its derivatives outrageously expensive and dangerous, because our "protectors" are doing everything they can to perpetuate those costs and dangers.
Heard about any "raids" of wineries or breweries because people use their products, then maim and kill, or drive drunk, then maim and kill? There were 37,000 deaths from drunk-driving accidents in the U.S. in 2017—that's more than 100 a day—but a study published in the American Journal of Public Health found no increase in vehicle crash fatalities in Colorado and Washington after legalization of marijuana.
Instead, taxpayers fund and seemingly congratulate efforts by their "protectors" to keep us safe from a product that is so much safer, so much more medically sound, and so much more safely entertaining than all the alcohol products ever produced.
So, read propaganda "press releases" like the one published by the Kern County Sheriff's Office after this latest "raid," then try to convince yourself that a crusade based on lies and deception is somehow keeping you "safe."
Finally, when you have problems making sense of this misguided effort, have a few drinks and forget all your troubles. Δ
Will Powers is mad about the way law enforcement treats marijuana. He writes from San Luis Obispo. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org write a letter for publication and email it to