Thar's gold in them thar hills! Well, technically it's green, not gold, but it's still worth a lot of dough! Yes, gold's still king at $1,300 an ounce, but high quality weed at $300 an ounce is nothing to sneeze at, and growing dope is a lot easier than digging for gold, just ask all the growers in California Valley (aka Cal Valley), SLO County's own little slice of lawless desert.
On Tuesday, July 26, at the urging of Sheriff Ian Parkinson, the SLO County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to have staff draft an "urgency ordinance" designed to halt all new medical marijuana grows. Parkinson pointed to the 100-plus legal grows in Cal Valley and the more than 400 legal grows countywide, intimating that his department can't police all that dank, super awesome bud.
To up the fear factor, Parkinson also conflated a couple of recent cases of illegal grows that his department had to raid in its badass S.W.A.T. gear, which seemed to confuse 4th District Supe Lynn Compton and 5th District Supe Debbie Arnold, who wouldn't know a spliff from a blunt, and who I'm guessing can't get their heads around the difference between medical marijuana for sick people and that dime bag of Mexican dirt weed that some kid tried to sell them in high school. They no doubt turned the kid into the principal. Narcs!
The wet blanket duo, along with 1st District Supe Frank "I'm Retiring So I Don't Care" Mecham, voted in favor of the urgency ordinance while 2nd District Supe Bruce Gibson and 3rd District Supe Adam Hill dissented, assuring their re-election votes from stoners and pizza delivery drivers all over the county.
During his testimony, Parkinson stuck to fear mongering, failing to mention any specific problem with these legal grow operations, but he did say that legal pot growers "are operating under the concern that we're going to come knocking on their door one day, and I cannot guarantee them we won't."
Huh? You gonna start making up your own laws, Ian?
"We need something today," Parkinson demanded. "There are no rules right now."
Well, technically there are state rules, which these legal growers are operating under. What Ian means is SLO County doesn't have its own special set of rules. County staffers are working on a permanent ordinance they hope to present in spring before the next crop of medicinal marijuana is planted, one element of which is a limit to just 100 grow licenses countywide. That'll put a lot of dope farmers out of business and make competition for the licenses fierce. Staff is also basically waiting to see what happens to Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act that will be on the ballot this November. Recreational weed for adults? Vote early and often!
Cal Valley folks seem to be split on the issue. Pot Farmer Simon Caleb of the Central Coast Growers Association urged the board to allow more than 100 licenses, saying there were plenty more growers eager to be licensed and above board. Cal Valley resident Patty "The Sky is Falling" Nolan is sure that come harvest time, members of the MS-13 Gang are going to roll into her tiny unprotected hamlet of 500 residents and rob all the pot growers.
"They just want to come over and make California Valley their new girlfriend," Nolan warned the board during public comment. "You're right"I'm pissed."
Do you mean MS-13's going to make Cal Valley its bitch? Hyperbole much, Patty?
Parkinson's got a sworn duty to protect Cal Valley's residents, farmers, and businesses, but he's basically saying his department isn't up to the job, which is the same reason he lobbied against a Nipomo brick and mortar pot dispensary. This is shaping up into a classic Western, eh? In one corner, an overwhelmed sheriff; in the other, murderous gangs hell-bent on terrorizing Cal Valley. Or maybe this is much ado about nothing and Parkinson's just scared of a crystalized leafy-green monster.
Well, hold onto your 10-gallon Stetson because things may become even more difficult for Barney Fife, er, Sheriff Parkinson if Morro Bay follows through with the idea of disbanding the Morro Bay Police Department and contracting out police services to the SLO County Sheriff's Office, making Morro Bay the only incorporated city in the county without its own police force.
Morro Bay City Manager David Buckingham issued a public memo asking for residents' feedback on the idea, to be revisited at their Aug. 9 meeting. The issue has come up mainly because turnover rates in the MBPD are high thanks to shitty pay. In Morro Bay, officers top out at $70K a year. Compare that to SLOPD officers toping out at $105K. Will Morro Bay turn into a lawless frontier town with terrific fish and chips? Mayor Jamie Irons says it's currently "just a discussion."
The good news is I've got a solution! On Aug. 10 through 14, the Single Action Shooting Society presents their 22nd annual Chorro Valley Shoot-Out SASS Western Regional Championship in Chorro Valley. This gathering of proponents of the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting™ will quick draw and blast away in bone-dry, high-fire-risk conditions in an inaccessible-to-firefighters location complete with booze and gambling during the five-day shooting competition. What could go wrong, amirite? Parkinson can show up and deputize everybody involved. Problem solved. OK, let's cowboy up, buckaroos!
The Shredder is a straight shooter, pard. Send ideas and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.