Blocksburg Raid Leads to Dialogue, Writes Hezekiah Allen in Letter to the Editor
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To the Community, Over the last few days Humboldt has been paying close attention to the raids in the Blocksburg Area. One raid in particular has been especially difficult for the community.
I’m not going to try to tell you how to see it. I’m not even going to tell you how I see it. The fact is, people see it differently. And—for the first time ever—we are having a balanced and open dialogue about the elephant in the county.
In difficult times, I have found, it is often good to take a deep breath and give thanks. So, here goes…Inhale…
First and foremost, thank you to the grower and the consultant for sharing their story. Your courage in sharing your story has stimulated a robust public dialogue. I am sorry for your loss.
Thank you to the community—in advance—for coming together to support each other through this type of catastrophic event. It is so difficult as a small farmer to have your crop destroyed and still make ends meet. I am thankful that our community has persisted through decades of prohibition and I am confident that together we can make it through this transition to regulation when the raids will end.
Thanks to the media, Kym Kemp especially. The balance in the coverage is heartening. It is so good to finally be having an honest conversation about cannabis, cultivation and the commerce that supports much of Humboldt.And, a special thank you to Sheriff Mike Downey…I honestly can’t type those words without tensing up. The response to giving thanks for raids in Humboldt is physiological; it causes nausea, anxiety and ties every muscle in my body into knots (a lot like the planning department when they had to review our permits). Its not that I don’t respect law enforcement. I do. I always have. I am glad there are there in emergency situations, to deal with the most difficult, painful and traumatic things our society does to itself. But I do think policing has gotten off track. And one of the ways I think it is off track is the war on drugs, especially cannabis.I’m biased. I grew up in Humboldt County. As a young child I experienced the high of the war on drugs. In high school I was a “long haired hippy” during the timber war. I have been marginalized my whole life. And the Humboldt County Sheriff was the bogey of that marginalization. Overcoming my cultural fear, shame and inferiority is a big driving force motivating me to do the work I do to regulate cannabis. And, in overcoming those things and doing that work, I must reiterate what I said…A special thank you to Sheriff Mike Downey. Thank you for affirming your commitment to the permitting process, for reassuring growers in the county and thank you for taking the time to explain why this raid was different.Thank you to the Supervisors for being available to my friends and community to listen and hold the sheriff accountable.Giving thanks doesn’t mean I am thankful this happened. It sucks that it happened. It sucks that things like this have happened every summer all my life. Cannabis policy has sucked for a long time.
It’s not going to get better over night. But it is getting better. So in the midst of this difficult transition, thanks for letting me share a moment of gratitude with you.
And, as I give thanks the pain of having old wounds reopened fades away. The knots untie themselves and I exhale as focus returns… And, I realize that we don’t have time to dwell on gratitude. It’s time to get to work.
August 23 is coming soon. Pre-registrations have to be filed if you want to be a permitted grower. So, if you haven’t filed give thanks in advance for your participation. In closing, one last thing: I am thankful we are on this roller coaster together.