Trump Throws Stoners Off Train—Meanwhile, Judge Recuses Self From Benno Medical Marijuana Trial

trump-train

Writer’s Note: This story is my take on remarks made by Trump officials last week that indicate the administration may enforce federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized recreational use. My argument is that federal marijuana law has done enough damage to otherwise law-abiding citizens and should be rescinded.

In my story, exhibit No. 1 for the damage caused by federal marijuana law, is the case of James Benno and his two adult sons, currently on trial in Shasta County Superior Court for charges related to Benno’s former medical marijuana collective in Happy Valley, which was raided and destroyed by law enforcement agents in 2014. The trial, delayed for three years, has been underway for three weeks.

Just as I was finishing the story, I was contacted by James Benno, who informed me that Shasta County Superior Court Judge Stephen H. Baker has recused himself from the case. Baker has informed Benno’s attorney, Joseph Tully, that when court convenes this Tuesday morning, he will declare a mistrial. It’s an astounding develop in a case that’s been controversial from the beginning. Should Shasta County pursue a new trial? That’s the real-life issue this story is about.

Remember the good old days, before Measure A passed?

Remember the good old days, before Measure A passed?

I have a dream. One day, out here in the eastern Shasta County foothills, miles from civilization, I’ll plant a single, solitary marijuana plant outdoors, just one, without fear of reprisal from the county sheriff and code enforcement.

Sadly, despite what you might have heard about marijuana being “legal” in California, that day has not yet come. Even sadder, it may never arrive, if I’m reading remarks made last week by White House press secretary Sean Spicer correctly.

If you thought the cultural war over marijuana was finished with the election of a new kind of Republican, as I did, you may have to think again.

Spicer, in case you missed it last week between the peak of President Donald Trump’s thunderous Congressional address Wednesday night and the subsequent avalanche of yet more fake news stories alleging collusion between Russian diplomats and Trump administration officials, threw all the stoners off the Trump train.

I really did think this was going to be a different kind of Republican administration when it came to marijuana. But Spicer, by drawing a distinction between recreational and medical marijuana, and suggesting “greater enforcement” for the former is coming from the feds, did more than just reverse Trump’s stated marijuana policy during the campaign, “leave it to the states to decide.”

Spicer destroyed any notion that Trump, the wildcard maverick, might disregard both his Republican and Democrat predecessors and advocate the removal of cannabis from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act.

That’s the federal sleight-of-hand that rates marijuana on par with heroin. The CSA was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1970. Consider it a conservative reaction to the liberal excesses of the 1960s. It marked the contemporary beginning of the War on Drugs and ushered in the era of mass incarceration of marijuana and other drug offenders.

The CSA is administered by the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency. Substances that are considered by cherry-picked reports to have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical value are placed in Schedule 1. Heroin, marijuana and LSD, along with a host of other psychoactive compounds, are on the list, and it’s illegal to prescribe these substances under any circumstances.

It may come as a shocker to some medical marijuana patients in the 28 states where it’s now legal, but you’re still breaking federal law. Same goes for the stoners, I’m sorry, recreational users, lighting up in the seven states where recreational use has been approved by voters. Despite repeated attempts by both medicinal cannabis and criminal justice advocates to reschedule marijuana since the CSA’s inception, the DEA has refused to do so.

In my opinion, one of President Barack Obama’s greatest failures was not using his bully pulpit to force the DEA to reschedule marijuana. I had hoped President Trump, with all of his talk about state’s rights during the campaign, might take a look at the issue, see the immense waste of taxpayer money spent fighting the federal war on marijuana, compare it to the substantial tax revenue raised by states that have legalized marijuana, comprehend the absurdity of the federal position, and do the right thing.

The right thing being to direct incoming Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reschedule marijuana, or remove it from the schedule entirely, so it can regulated properly as legal commerce.

That, of course, will take some doing—and judging by Spicer’s comments last week, may already be impossible. Sessions is famously anti-marijuana, in the old-school Republican way. For as much as his liberal critics have called him a racist, marijuana prohibitionists are no doubt ecstatic that a guy who once joked that the KKK was “OK until I found out they smoked pot” is now the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.

Got that stoners? Folks who use marijuana recreationally are lower than klansmen on the Trump administration’s criminal totem pole. You’re on the highway to heroin, according to Spicer and Sessions, and they’re not the only ones who see it that way, even though scientific evidence indicates marijuana use reduces the rate of opiate overdoses.

Don’t let the apparent widespread acceptance of marijuana in numerous national opinion polls fool you, like the popular vote did in last year’s presidential election. A substantial number of people continue to oppose marijuana use, and the majority of them live in the red counties across the United States that voted overwhelmingly for Trump.

That includes red counties in blue states like mine, Shasta County, where thanks to the byzantine local politics of marijuana, a downtown Redding resident can grow their allotted number of plants in their backyard but I can’t grow a single plant outdoors on a 7-acre ranchette in the middle of nowhere. Frustration, thy name is Shasta County.

Correction. Frustration’s name is Schedule 1. The situation is similar in many of California’s rural counties, where conservative-leaning public officials who claim to be all about state’s rights and local control invoke federal law to override state marijuana law, with no apparent sense of irony.

Neither does there appear to be any overarching principle behind their pursuit, such as enhancing public safety. Instead, for perennially cash-strapped local law enforcement agencies, enforcing federal marijuana laws serves as a sort of welfare program.

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko admitted as much to national media back in 2010, informing the Wall Street Journal and other outlets that he was cracking down on marijuana because “that’s where the money is.”

James Benno, left, with attorney Joseph Tully and sons Logan and Jacob Benno. Photo courtesy of James Benno.

James Benno, left, with attorney Joseph Tully and sons Logan and Jacob Benno. Photo courtesy of James Benno.

One of the things the sheriff probably spent some of those federal funds on was tracking down outspoken Shasta County medical marijuana advocate James Benno, who wasn’t too hard to find, since he made no secret about the location of his medical marijuana collective in dubiously named Happy Valley.

In 2014, a squadron of unmarked vehicles from a multi-agency drug task force descended upon Benno’s property, arrested Benno and his sons and then proceeded to cart his entire operation, 99 plants, dirt, pots and all, worth millions, to a local landfill, where it was destroyed.

After three years and numerous postponements, Benno and his two sons are currently on trial in Shasta County Superior Court, facing charges that include marijuana misdemeanors and possession of unlawful weapons magazines that could send them to prison.

Benno contends he was operating under state medical marijuana guidelines and that the magazines were possessed legally. The county contends he was running an illegal marijuana farm for profit and is sticking to the weapons charges—perhaps because most of the marijuana charges have been reduced to misdemeanors due to ongoing changes in state law.

The county has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars pursuing the case in defiance of state medical marijuana law, and should it lose, it could be facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit from the Bennos. Should the county win, the Bennos could go to prison, or perhaps the county jail, presuming there’s any cell space available to hold them.

As I was writing this story, I was contacted by James Benno, who informed me that Shasta County Superior Court Judge Stephen H. Baker has recused himself and will declare a mistrial on Tuesday morning when court reconvenes.

Shasta County Superior Court Judge Stephen H. Baker's notice of recusal from the Benno mistrial.

Shasta County Superior Court Judge Stephen H. Baker’s notice of recusal from the Benno mistrial.

Can Shasta County, with its rising property crime rate and lack of jail space, among many other problems, afford to take the Bennos to a new trial? Can it afford not too?

No matter what the outcome, anyone arguing this is an efficient expenditure of county funds hasn’t done the math. It’s a pissing contest between the local Republican establishment and the emerging medical and recreational marijuana industries, which, with the exception of Shasta Lake City and its three dispensaries, recession-ridden Shasta County has chosen to ignore, including a majority of its electorate.

I haven’t been attending the trial, but I’ve made no secret about my support for the Bennos. I believe James Benno, who I’ve interviewed at length several times, was doing his utmost to comply with state medical marijuana law. Why else would he be shooting his mouth off about it in public?

I know for a fact that he has provided tens of thousands of dollars worth of free medicine to kids suffering from seizure disorders. He doesn’t drive a Mercedes Benz. For anyone else but Shasta County’s most outspoken medical marijuana proponent, this case would have been settled a long time ago, with perhaps a moderate fine.

But no. That’s not the way “we” do business here in Shasta County. “We” meaning the majority of the electorate that voted against medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, gay marriage and all the other cultural war sore points during the past several elections. Are we really that out of touch?

As the Gallup Poll noted last year, marijuana and gay marriage have enjoyed equal rises in public approval since the 1960s, to the point where a Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, declared gay marriage is “the law of the land” and the party barely grumbled.

Damn, I’m still hoping he’ll say something similar about marijuana. Anyone with a moral compass can see that keeping marijuana on Schedule 1 is wrong, and I do believe Trump has a moral compass, despite all the negative things written about him.

Trump’s comments on the issue in the past and during the campaign, which I’ll link to again here, are worth revisiting. In the past, he’s held the same libertarian position as many business executives, that the war on drugs is a failure and decriminalization is the answer. During the campaign, he took the federalist position on marijuana, leave it to the states.

Now, members of his administration are signaling they’re a difference between medical and recreational marijuana and they’re going to throw the stoners off the train.

For those of you keeping track, that’s the opposite of leaving it to the states.

It doesn’t matter that every single state that has legalized recreational marijuana has diverted substantial amounts of tax revenue to programs designed to warn people under the legal age limit about the potential harm caused by marijuana. There are some studies that do indeed indicate that marijuana may cause harm to young, developing brains, and tax funds from Prop. 64, the recreational marijuana initiative passed by state voters last year, will be directed toward further research—research that will otherwise never be done.

Regardless, marijuana remains a cultural war flashpoint. There’s a significant number of people who think making America great again means turning back the clock on marijuana decriminalization, no matter how many concessions the pro-marijuana crowd throws in.

Like the 12-step program definition of insanity, they cannot comprehend that they’re repeating the same argument and expecting different results. You just can’t throw everybody in prison. We don’t have enough money, for one. It doesn’t produce anything but ex-convicts, for another.

It remains to be seen if President Trump can break through this madness, but color me doubtful. Bigly.

But I can still dream.

Plant

R.V. Scheide
R.V. Scheide has been a northern California journalist for more than 20 years. He appreciates your comments and story ideas.
Comment Policy: We welcome your comments, with some caveats: Please keep your comments positive and civilized. If your comment is critical, please make it constructive. If your comment is rude, we will delete it. If you are constantly negative or a general pest, troll, or hater, we will ban you from the site forever. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Comments are disabled on articles older than 90 days. Thank you. Carry on.

90 Responses

  1. Matthew Meyer says:

    Nice work once again, RV.

    Why is the judge recusing himself?

  2. A. Jacoby says:

    What a pretty plant . . . . what kind of herb did you say it was? I hear it’s wonderful in meatloaf.

  3. Anita Brady says:

    Misdeeds in Shasta County Justice System, Judical malfeasance (?) and wasting taxpayer funds on a testosterone-laden “debate”????

    Makes me want to scream.

  4. Stephen Allen says:

    Long article with lots of “ammo” speculating everything from the miraculous benefits of Mary Jane to the poor people who are suffering from a “legal misunderstanding.”  Bottom line:  if one is minding his own business, being truly discreet about it and not getting greedy or verbalizing what he is doing then who’s going to know?  You can bet there is much more to this story than meets the anewscafe reader’s eyes as there usually is.  This has been going on in Shasta County for how long?  Loose lips and the pocket book will sink the ship every time.

    • Robert V Scheide says:

      Stephen Allen, there’s no question that there are shady operators out there. I’ve met many of them, seen the damage their farms do, and the way they rake in the money. In my opinion Benno isn’t one of those operators. He’s half-farmer, half-political gadfly, and he made political point, in front of the whole county, about is legal under state law collective. There’s no question in my mind he was raided for being outspoken, not because he was public enemy No. 1. I can’t remember what their bail was originally. $500,000? $1 million? That’s pedophile bail! Shasta County used Benno to send a signal. No doubt about it.

    • Joanne Lobeski Snyder says:

      You can use Google Earth on a computer to find all of the grows in Shasta and Trinity county.  The question I’ve always had is why one grow is busted, and another 1 mile away is not.

  5. Beverly Stafford says:

    I have never used marijuana nor do I plan to; however “your right to swing your fist ends at my nose” is the perfect quote here.  I don’t care what anybody else does so long as it affects only the user/perpetrator.  If we had even a fraction of what has been spent on the war on drugs – and, for that matter, the war in the Middle East – we’d have the best infrastructure in the world instead crumbling roads and dams and lousy Internet in many rural areas.   Or, knowing the whims of our elected officials who divert funds to themselves or their lobbyists or their pork barrels, they would use the $$$$ to fatten their wallets even further.

    • Robert V Scheide says:

      your right to swing your fist ends at my nose”

      Maybe that’s why the deputy hit Benno in the head with a rifle butt.

  6. Grow_Wizzard says:

    You mentioned Nixon signing the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) into law. What most people don’t know or remember is Nixon also created a “Gold Ribbon Panel” to study drugs especially “Marijuana” The Schaefer Commission was specifically selected due to their outspoken anti drug stance. After 2 years of study and over 2 million of 1970’s dollars what was the recommendation of the commission? The recommended that cannabis (Marijuana) should be declassified and regulated like tobacco and alcohol. NORML (National Or ganization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) spent 12+ years and countless millions of $$$ trying to get the Schaefer commission’s recommendations put into law. After the DEA’s own Supreme Court Judge Francis Young ruled cannabis is less toxic than potatoes and should be rescheduled to a schedule 2 controlled substance. This would allow doctors to “prescribe” cannabis. After 3 appeals won by NORML a final appeal the judge ruled that the FDA should have been involved in the law suit and dismissed the suit. Cannabis should never have been made illegal in the first place. Second, our law system relies on strict definitions not slang terms. Marijuana is a slang term for the Cannabis Sativa plant. Therefore using strict scrutiny any law against Marijuana is an illegal law. According to Thomas Jefferson any illegal law it is not only your obligation but your duty not to follow it… Peace…

    • Robert V Scheide says:

      I mentioned that in general, one of the many, many times rescheduling was recommended because of SCIENCE. Thank you for your comment!

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      If we’re being picky about nomenclature in general and Latin binomials in particular, the genus name should be capitalized, but the species name shouldn’t, and the whole name should be italicized.

      Like so:  Cannabis sativa

      There would be a legal problem with naming the plant “Cannabis sativa” in the law.  Anyone arrested (or increasingly, regulated) could claim that the plant they were growing or otherwise had in their possession was Cannabis indica.  Can of worms, opened.

      Please let us know how it turns out if you get to test your legal theory that marijuana laws are “illegal” because they use a “slang term” (or what we biologists would call the “common name,” as opposed to the “scientific name”). Good luck with that.

       

  7. cheyenne says:

    As I live here in Cheyenne, ten miles from the Colorado border, I hear a lot about marijuana.  While the Wyoming legislators did not decriminalize marijuana they have allowed the use of Cannabis oil for medical treatment, as has Utah.  Neither state is set up to administer the oil but as one legislator stated, they wanted families to bring the Cannabis oil in from Colorado without fear of state regulations, but they did caution that it was still against federal law.  I have not read or heard of grows being raided in Wyoming though there are several accounts of marijuana seizures in great quantities on Interstate 8o.  It was announced that legal MJ will not be on the 2018 ballot, mostly because the NORML groups here in Wyoming and on the federal level are still fighting over their own approaches.  But working it’s way through the legislature is a bill allowing hemp farms, just like in Colorado.

    In Colorado the legalization of marijuana has allowed the state to go after the illegal growers who have been the problem in every state.  Colorado has raided many MJ grows, mostly in Pueblo and Grand Junction, that they tied to drug cartels illegally using the MMJ allowances to grow MJ.  The state continues to allow more uses of MJ as they are looking at allowing “Pot Clubs” in Denver.  They, both Democrat and Republican, are working on rules.  Despite the Dems and the GOP fighting over certain state laws, guns and emissions, they both seem to want to stay with legal MJ, probably because of the taxes collected and the Childrens Hospital in Aurora gets grants from all over the country for MMJ research.

    I believe the problems in Shasta County are county problems, not federal.  Will Trump outlaw marijuana, I don’t think so.  As for what has been said it sounds like the Trump group is fine with MMJ and is looking at how the states, especially Colorado, are doing with recreational MJ.  When Colorado voted in legal MJ the Obama feds said they would not interfere as long as Colorado controlled MJ.  At worse I see Trump doing no different.  It really, I believe, comes down to all of California being on the same page over MJ.  California is still, despite some setbacks, the leader in the nation on many things.  If you want the feds, Trump or anyone else to declassify MJ you are going to have to get the whole state to run like Colorado.

    • R.V. Scheide says:

      I agree that Trump will probably be the same on recreational marijuana. I’m hoping for more.

  8. Steve Murray says:

    I had to chuckle when reading you think DT has a moral compass, despite all the things written about him. As if he’s just getting unfair, untrue writing done about him. DT and moral compass do not belong in the same thought process. His so called moral compass points only at himself.  DT supporters deserve exactly what’s coming. As for the rest of us….the daily train wreck that is the Trump presidency is hard to swallow, but entirely foreseen. I happen to believe marijuana should be legal and regulated, but with Sessions as AG it ain’t gonna happen on a Federal level. I wouldn’t want to live near the Bennos, but I wish them luck against unfair, unjust prosecution.

    • R.V. Scheide says:

      DT supporters may have it coming but you’re gonna get it too.

      • Steve Murray says:

        No doubt you’re correct, but I’ve been saying for a while now that those who will be hurt the worst from DTs policies will be those that supported him the most. I like to think I am somewhat immunized against Trumpworld, but I do like to buy fresh fruit and vegetables at an affordable price as well as an occasional piece of meat. If the farmers have to leave crops in the ground, or can’t staff a packing plant I will definitely be affected. DTs biggest supporters, white working class undereducated folks have no way to “immunize” themselves from Trumpworld.  They will suffer fully from his havoc. Of course, with North Korea acting out recently we may all be maximally suffering soon.

  9. Kerr, David says:

    Prop 64 allows local government to regulate marijuana growing.  Shasta county’s $100 million commercial pot growing industry and Humbolt county’s $400 million commercial pot growing industry have not brought wealth to those areas.  The public health statistics for Humboldt county  suggest that it has not brought health either.

    Your remedy is a CA Supreme Court decision that unregulated marijuana growing is a right.  Or a proposition that eliminates the right of local government to regulate marijuana growing.

    • R.V. Scheide says:

      Don’t know where you got those numbers or whether your claims about health are true. I do know that if marijuana is rescheduled federally counties would not be able to reject state law so easily.

      • Matthew Meyer says:

        The Humboldt figure comes from a study of banking in that county by Jennifer Budwig, and it’s on the low end. It’s also from 2011, so there’s likely a lot more production in Humboldt now, though falling prices may mean the overall crop value isn’t that much higher than 6 years ago.

        Here’s a news article on Budwig’s work: http://www.times-standard.com/article/zz/20111204/NEWS/111209445

        The $100 million figure is a back-of-the-envelope calculation that I made and publicized around the same time, inspired by Budwig’s work. It was based more on extrapolation from the observable gardens on Google Earth than bank receipts, but was also calculated using conservative figures.

        • Kerr, David says:

          Google Earth shows amazing detail.   I could see four tomato plants in my garden.  My car door was open.   Counting solar panels is a piece of cake.  Counting large pot grows and an estimate of $1,000 per plant is easy.

          The most recent Google Earth images were in springtime and you can count the grow bags.  Most of my pot growing neighbors use grow bags filled with soil amendments.  The previous images were from late summer when the plants were the close to harvest.

        • Robert V Scheide says:

          One solid “commercial” cannabis industry number we could look at is the tax receipts from Shasta Lake City. Someone told me the total from the three dispensaries was more than $400,000 annually. I don’t know large Shasta Lake’s budget is, but I imagine that’s a pretty good chunk. Plus there’s the jobs the dispensaries create. If you squint a little bit, you can see Shasta Lake City might just have a future. All of these other estimates are meaningless if we’re not going tap into the revenue stream.  It may not be a ton a revenue, but we need all we can get.

          • Matthew Meyer says:

            SLC brought in about 350,000 in 2015-6 from its dispensary tax on a total budget of about $6 million: http://archive.redding.com/news/local/state-of-shasta-lake-revenue-up-in-part-thanks-to-weed-staff-members-say-3e15882f-51f7-3779-e053-010-396096601.html

            This past year the tax has produced about $500,000; both figures are higher than was initially expected.

            SLC appears to be getting about 5-10% of its general fund from taxing cannabis dispensaries. If it adds the proposed cannabis oil processing facility, I’d expect that to rise.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      I do a lot of work in the counties surrounding Shasta County, including Trinity and Humboldt counties.  I’m a bit of an epicurean, so when I’m not deep in the woods, I’ll treat myself to some of the county’s nicer restaurants in the evenings (when I’m not in a brewpub).  I’ve grown accustomed to seeing large parties of well-dressed hippyish people in restaurants eating big meals with multiple bottles of fine wine, and paying cash when the bill comes.  They typically exit to a parking lot where they’ve left their this-year’s-fancy-model SUVs and pick-up trucks with a local car dealership’s license frames.

      I see strong evidence of marijuana money pouring into Humboldt and Trinity counties everywhere I go in those counties.  Nowhere is that more striking than in some of the more remote and rural areas, such as Zenia and Ketenpom.  Those places ought not to have much more than ramshackle single-wides and shacks, as is the case in much of eastern Shasta County.  Instead, I once saw an outbuilding in a back yard that I assumed was a lovely granny flat.  As I passed it I saw that it was instead the most ornate chicken coop I’d ever seen.

      The benefits from the marijuana industry in Humboldt County don’t go to everyone, but you can’t convince me that nobody benefits.

      • Robert V Scheide says:

        I’ve seen the same thing over their on the west side. The hippies are slick, latest hemp threads, $50,000 worth of tattoos, bad ass vehicles, etc. You know there’s people still making bundles on the black market shipping weed to non-legal states. Some of these people are quite shady and well-armed. Rescheduling marijuana would take those types out of the business, cause you can grow weed anywhere.

  10. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    At some point those who jumped on the Bannon Bandwagon (“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”) are going to have to check their cognitive dissonance and admit that Trump has no moral, ethical, or rational center—he’s not their champion.  Trump signs whatever his handlers put in front of him no matter how jarringly disconnected those edicts are from what he promised in the past.  The only time he appears to act as a free agent is when he gets up in the early mornings and starts tweeting his thin-skinned, unhinged-from-reality, hyper-defensive paranoid rants, when he’s the Nutburger-in-Chief.

    Many of the folks who like to think of themselves as freedom-loving types need to either jump off the Bannon Bandwagon, or embrace this truth: You’re not libertarian—not by a long-shot. Like Trump and his handlers, you’re an authoritarian supporter of the ruling Wall Street/Washington D.C. plutocracy.  More than anything, what you desire is the comfort of conformity.

    • R.V. Scheide says:

      Sure Trump is just another member of the Wall Street D.C. plutocracy. That’s why they’ve embraced him so lovingly.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        When I’m wrong, I’m wrong.  I was wrong, bigly.  I lumped Trump with his handlers, but “authoritarian supporter of the ruling Wall Street/Washington D.C. plutocracy” applies only to his handlers, not to Trump.  Trump has never been an inside member of the plutocracy.  Trump was never on their side, and they were never on his side……until he won. Trump has always been for Trump. Now that he’s the POTUS, the plutocracy has had to change up their game and ask themselves this: Can we control him?

        The answer appears to be a resounding yes we can.  Financial deregulation is in the works.  Environmental deregulation is in the works. Huge tax cuts for the wealthy are in the works.  Increased spending on the military-industrial complex is in the works.  Reversing the first steps toward a sane and affordable healthcare system is in the works (see footnote*).  Trump ran on a populist platform of (1) putting working class people back to work through protectionism and (2) fear of and exclusion/expulsion of outsiders. Since taking office, neither has been a big priority, except for the obligatory show of pissing in the wind.

        We could go position-by-position through Trump’s cabinet and other administration appointments, naming the Wall Street/D.C. insiders one-by-one, but what would that accomplish?  If it’s not obvious to you at this point……

        But in general: The Trump Administration’s Cabinet and Cabinet-level oversight of the economy is being run by an even split of Wall Street bankers/investors and D.C. career politicians and lawyers.  His defense and national security team is being run primarily by career Pentagon personnel.  And the rest of his cabinet is being run by dismantlers—people who want to privatized the functions of  government, or better yet, get rid of those functions altogether.

        As to the subject of your article: The L.A. Times reported that marijuana is the largest cash crop in California.  As reported in the Record Searchlight, marijuana has been the leading cash crop in Shasta County, bringing in more money than any other agricultural commodity.  And as you report here, the Trump Administration is weighing how hard to crack down.  A major crack-down on the production of our leading agricultural crop would likely have a sizable negative impact on our local economy—a Trumpian “eff you” as repayment for supporting him.

        Let us know when you realize that “Get on Board the Trump Train” really means “Bend Over the Trump Barrel.”

        __________________

        *I don’t personally know a single veteran beneficiary of VA healthcare who wants to give that up in favor of buying insurance on the open market like the rest of us.  They love their socialized medicine, or at least like it enough to want to keep a stranglehold on it.  Yet Obamacare—or worse, single-payer—is comm’nism.

        • Kath Surbaugh says:

          Thanks for your lucid analysis!  Easy answers are often traps — ask any skunk who has tripped a Have-A-Heart!  Don’t expect Trump to exercise restrainover the zealots he’s appointed to positions of power.  He intends them to take him as a model and thus, go wild.  So Sessions will be able to fill the private prisons with pot smokers & dealers, Perry will “get rid of of, ‘um, Energy,” the EPA will un-fund itself, and so forth.  All in the spirit of “easy answers” and “quick fixes” that powered the Trump Train/Barrel ride over Niagara.  Whoopee!

        • Robert V Scheide says:

          First of all, I think it’s still up for grabs that any one can “handle” Trump. This latest tweet storm about Obama “wiretapping” is a case in point. The whole fake news Russian thing is about to blow up in the establishment’s face, when it turns out to be true, the Obama administration got a FISA warrant to spy on a political opponent during a national election. I know you hate Breitbart, but go over there and watch the video of Mark Levine laying out the MSM sources that prove the case. It’s solid.

          As for Trump’s picks so far, I liked Flynn. The establishment got rid of him. It doesn’t bother me that a climate change denier is head of the EPA, I think we need to challenge orthodoxy, bend some rules and put people back to work. Trump’s supreme court pick will bring needed balance to the bench. The new treasury secretary seems competent and kept a straight face talking about the proposed across the board income tax cuts–hinting that the upper classes might pay in other ways. He’s full of shit like all the Wall Streeters, but what else is new? Tillerson makes an excellent Secretary of State because he understands the Russians, and as a Texas oilman represents a different sort of establishment. Sessions is old school establishment, which comes in handy for enforcing immigration law. There are so many new names it’s really hard to peg them in any over-arching club. And no one seems to be controlling Trump, not even Bannon.

          What is quite clear is that Democrats have melded with the Deep State to take down Trump while establish Republicans intend to pursue the agenda they’ve been dreaming about for years, sans any sort of meaningful immigration reform. Someone show me a list of proposed bills today, a conservative establishment wish list, with all the usual bullshit, including privatizing the VA. It remains to be seen just how far these bills will go. If they all go through and get to Trump’s desk and he signs them, then you’ll know the establishment has won.

          But I don’t think that’s what’s gonna happen. We are, or at least I am, in unexplored territory right now. I’m considering all of the stuff that’s happening right now, including the comments about marijuana, as trial balloons, set loose to gauge public opinion. They wanted my opinion on the marijuana issue? Here it is: Wake up, Mr. Sessions, and smell the cannabis.

           

           

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            Yes, Trump has proved he’s a free agent when it comes to his Twitter account, and at times when he goes off the reservation during a speech (which are increasingly scripted and orchestrated). Beyond that, the evidence suggests that he signs what he’s told to sign. His cabinet appointments were the first and strongest predictors of intentions.  Jeff Sessions as A.G.?  What could that possibly mean for growers and users of marijuana other than trouble?  Wall Street bankers and investors as head of Treasury and Commerce? That’s how we take it to the Wall Street/Washington D.C. plutocracy?

            And sure enough……

            As for climate change, scientific consensus and political policy are separate things, as they should be. Scientific consensus isn’t “orthodoxy.” It’s our current and best shared understanding of really. What to do about that reality is rightfully in the realm of political policy, and that’s one of the reasons the stakes in the election were so high.  (You paying attention, holier-than-thou dumb-ass progressives in swing states who voted for third-party candidates?)

            What’s awful about the Trump camp isn’t that they’re shifting federal policy. They won, and that’s their right. What’s awful is that they’re also gutting funding for scientific research and enforcing gag rules on government scientists, because they regard rational empiricists as enemies and evidence-based decision-making as an obstacle.

        • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

          Steve Towers, I won’t deny I’m concerned Trump is being cornered as you suggest. He is being cornered, from both sides of the establishment. What bothers me is that the Democrat side is wasting all its energy trying to prop up the fake Russian news, and while they’re occupied with that, the Republicans are gonna shove through their conservative wish list. I’m glad there seems to be a focus this week on Obamacare, because with some deft politically maneuvering, the Democrats, Republicans and Trump could actually end up fixing what’s wrong with Obamacare, i.e. there’s no single payer option available. But they’ll never get to that point if the discourse continues the same way it’s going.

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            I don’t know where you’re getting the idea that the Russian connections are “fake news,” unless you’re using the term the way Trump uses it (i.e., “news that I don’t like”).  When multiple intelligence agencies tell you that the Russians attempted to interfere with our election, you need to follow up on that. The media likewise have a duty to follow up on it.

            As for how important the Russia fiasco will turn out to be in the grand scheme of things, that remains to be seen.  Maybe it’ll turn out to be a tempest in a piss pot compared with, as you say, what happens to Obamacare.  Maybe it’ll turn out that some of Trump’s agents were in collusion with the Russians.  That would be a big effing deal.

            Here’s what’s puzzling to me:  If the Russians interfered with the election—or even if they tried ineffectually to influence it—why is Trump so resistant to a thorough investigation?  Why so dismissive of the reports issued by his intelligence agencies?  The harder Trump tries to act like it’s a non-issue that should be ignored, the more it smells like a body rotting in the crawl space.

            Trump seems to think that Russian interference in the election is theoretically bad, but if they interfered on his behalf it’s okay and not worthy of further attention.  In fact, it makes the Russians our buddies.  If Trump’s thinking is that divorced from reality, we need to know that, too.

  11. Justin says:

    You say the majority of people are for legalization, but the truth is probably that they are for MMJ which is not what is being pushed from the pro MJ crowd.

    If the pro MJ crowd really honestly want to help sick people, why cant they push for a system that allows for MJ to be included in the normal prescription drug process?  Not a system that sets up these fake doctors who give anyone with a pulse a script for their “anxiety”.  What they are pushing is a joke and a scheme to have access to recreational MJ, hence the resistance.

    The article suggests that since Beno ran his mouth, he must have been doing everything legal and above the board, one hardly demonstrates the other… I too suspect there is more to the story, but one side wont tell, and the other clearly has an agenda, you pick who is who, neither looks good for Beno.

    The bit about the new AG indicates that the pro MJ crowd has their interests aligned with the KKK, probably not the best connection to make for the advancement of MJ legalization.

    • cheyenne says:

      That is what Colorado did.  Legalized MMJ and then a couple of years later legalized, easily, recreational MJ.  The reason MJ in any form wasn’t on the Wyoming 2016 ballot was because the NORML people were split on MMJ or MJ.

  12. mike says:

    Yes indeed, Shasta Co. is that out of touch.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Well, that’s Democracy for you. Sometimes people don’t do what you think is best.

  13. Kerr, David says:

    The image above the author’s is a grow bag with a plant.  Much if not most of the marijuana grown in Shasta county is grown in soil amendments in grow bags.  Shasta county has very little prime agricultural land.  According to the county ag report, it produces timber, cattle and bee queens.  The bee queens do well here because there is little agriculture needing insecticides.

    I see water thirsty commercial marijuana moving to prime land where water thirsty tomatoes, peppers, etc are produced.   The main reason marijuana is in the Emerald  Triangle counties is that it can be hidden in the hills, like the moonshiners of old.  All of the marijuana grown in California could be grown in a fraction of the land used for commercial tomatoes.  Large scale marijuana crops could be more easily taxed and regulated for insecticide and pesticide residues.  The product could be tested for fungal spores, like the aspergillus species which have caused occasional cases of fatal invasive pulmonary aspergillosis in immunocompromised hosts (see recent Bee article).

    Commercial marijuana brings some economic benefit to the area.  Many commercial pot grower buy cars, trucks, boats, quad cycles, land, etc for cash then sell them later.  Should money laundering be a real source of wealth for a community?

  14. cheyenne says:

    In Colorado the rural counties are heavily Republican and voted for Trump.  In reality many of those rural counties and cities are looking at growing MJ in green houses.  The expense right now of growing MJ is it is mostly done in Denver warehouses where lighting is a huge expense, growing in greenhouses would definitely cut costs.  The ski resorts advertise MJ and there is a Dude ranch by Durango that advertises MJ events.  Colorado may not be the new California of the west but it is the new California of the Rockies.  Colorado choses a new governor in 2018 and there is a big battle going on between the Dems and the GOP.  Trump will be urged to not tip the state toward the Democrats.  And here in Wyoming the thought was that legal MMJ would be on the 2016 ballot and would pass.  But, as was mentioned above the NORML groups split over MMJ or MJ and not only did it not make the 2016 ballot it won’t be on the 2018 ballot.  Many of NORML’s problems are self inflicted.

    On immigration a lot of people say those immigrants take jobs Americans won’t do.  That is untrue.  Those immigrants are treated like slaves and live in shanty houses and have to buy from the company store at outrageous prices.  Americans won’t work under those slavery conditions.  If the farms and slaughter houses paid decent wages then Americans would take those jobs.  I would pay higher prices if those immigrant slaves were freed.  Saying they are better off in America than in their Latin American countries is a cop out.

    The EPA was allowed to run rough shod over anyone they felt was polluting the environment during the Obama years.  They needed to be reined in.  The EPA went after a rancher here in Wyoming, and I have read all the arguments pro and con, who built a small dam on his private property.  The EPA said that the Six Mile River he dammed would pollute the Green River.  The Green River has been polluted for centuries, back when oil came from whales and thousands of Bison roamed the land, that is why it was called the Green River.  The EPA should have spent more time on dams like the Oroville dam on the Feather River that affected 180,000 people, about a third of Wyoming’s total population.  Or the EPA should have been looking at lead pipes in urban cities, like Flint, that affected millions.

     

    • K. Beck says:

       “The EPA said that the Six Mile River he dammed would pollute the Green River.” Could you explain this sentence? If the man built a dam it would seem no water would come out. Perhaps the man was “doing something” with the water that contaminated the water, then he released the water so it went in the Green River? There are all kinds of pollutants. Many worse than Bison poop! If that is what was contaminating the Green River to begin with.

      The water problem in Flint, Michigan had nothing to do with lead water pipes per se, it had to do with the contaminated water from the Flint River that leached the lead from the pipes:

      http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/11/health/toxic-tap-water-flint-michigan/

      The water pipes were not leaching out lead until the city switched the water supply to the Flint River.

      • cheyenne says:

        Under the new EPA water rules tributaries, Six Mile River, that went to natural rivers, Green River, were added to the water safety rules.  There has been much controversy over this dam which the rancher built a pond for his stock on the ranchers own property.  Supposedly he had all the state permits before he built the dam but the EPA said he didn’t have their approval.  What story is true is up to the individual to determine.  But the EPA sued the rancher and he counter sued.  My issue is that the EPA, confirmed by some participants, started a pissing match with this rancher and it became so large and consumed time that would have been better spent on other environmental concerns that affected millions, like the Oroville dam and the drinking water for cities that still use lead pipes.  Lead is a banned substance from gasoline, paint, ammo and yet it is still used to deliver drinking water to millions.  Flint, regardless of how it happened, has us here in Cheyenne asking about our water delivery systems.  All cities with help from the EPA should be finding out about their water systems.

        • Rod says:

          “Lead is a banned substance from…paint…”

          As well as womens’ facial makeup in America.

           

  15. K. Beck says:

    Not to worry. …that so called President put someone in charge of the EPA who will do his best to wipe it out. Then we will all be on our own again. That should make you all very happy!

  16. The Old Pretender says:

    RV, you say the Russian connection is “fake news” and then expect us to give you cred on the MJ issue?  You pulled the rug out from under yourself, man.  Good luck with that.  You can’t have it both ways.  Trump supports corporatists, that means anyone with half a logical notion would know going into it that Trump would never support local MJ interests over the pharma or LE industries.  Anyone who expected different was clouded by “fake news” they choose to believe.

    • Robert V Scheide says:

      If the Russian connection isn’t Fake News, show me the evidence, The Old Pretender. You can’t because there isn’t any. I’ve always had a lukewarm embrace of Trump, but Trump-haters are gonna be in for some big surprises when members of the last administration start going to jail for manufacturing this Russian fake news. So in short, yeah you should believe me, because you don’t have any evidence to support your view.

      • The Old Pretender says:

        Whew, off the rails, RV.  If you are denying the Trump family ties to the Russian oligarchs, then I have been wrong is my assumptions of your perspective.

        • cheyenne says:

          I do not know about Russian ties to Trump but I do know, it was published in the Wyoming Tribune-eagle, that through the help of the Clinton foundation an uranium mine by Gillette was sold to the Russians.

          • The Old Pretender says:

            Not all conversations need to be brought back to the Clintons, or the Obamas, or anyone else.  Straw man arguments are for lazy politicians and Breitbart News junkies.  When Flynn is ousted for Russian contacts, when Sessions perjures himself over Russian contacts, and when Trumps sons are actively keeping Trumps business interests alive in old soviet-bloc countries, there is more than just a hint of collusion here.  Simple answer–where are the tax returns?  The orange knucklehead and his followers wanted the emails and the birth certificate, so where’s the proof the Trump family isn’t violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution?  Too much selective memory and spastic reactions about fake news will only diminish your integrity.

  17. cheyenne says:

    The only thing I have seen Trump do is try to put in an immigration ban and like his predecessors, Republican and Democrat, is not solving the perceived problem and has support and opposition.  Everything else is would, could, might.  We still have the ACA.  We still have the EPA.  We still have a divided country.  Colorado still has legal MJ and no one is taking that away.  Wyoming still has fracking and coal mining and no one is taking that away.  Like his predecessors I don’t see Trump doing half, or less, of what he said he will do.  I only hope what he does do benefits Wyoming and other rural areas.  That is why the rural areas, who feel the Democrats have forgotten them, elected Trump.  I do know what Trump has done is awakened America and I see a lot of people, especially women, becoming more involved in politics, and that is a good thing.

  18. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

    UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE: So here’s an update on the story: I went to court this morning. Judge Baker recused himself, and Judge Flynn took over proceedings. Citing a precedent, Judge Flynn says the county wants to proceed with him as the replacement judge, beginning next Tuesday. On Monday, he will hear motions from counsel, including possibly a motion to dismiss from the Bennos. Judge Flynn appeared to be saying he would deny that motion if it was made, because of the cited precedent. So, we’ll find out next Monday what happens.

  19. kerr, david says:

    Yolo county is the ideal place for commercial marijuana growing.  It has some of the best soil in the U.S.A.  You can look up the numbers for water thirsty tomato production for yourself.  Yolo county repealed its ban on outdoor marijuana growing.  It is one of the few agriculture counties which votes Democrat by a large margin, close to 2/3.  There are lots of trimmers available.   Shasta county has a looming physician shortage and Yolo county has plenty with an excellent medical school.

    Humboldt State’s
    Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research
    has published a lot of scholarly articles on the economics of marijuana.  All the plants grown in the state would fit in a small fraction of the land in Yolo county devoted to tomatoes.  Tomato production could move to the nearby Republican voting counties.  Replacing tomatoes with Marijuana would multiply the value of  Yolo agriculture by a factor of ten or more.   UC Davis ag school could do for marijuana what the UC davis oenology program did for wine.

    • kerr, david says:

      I assume 25 square ft per plant, but it still works with 36.  Yolo county has delta breezes, so on the hottest summer days it is cooled, reducing the need for  water.  Drip irrigation works even better on the well drained prime ag soil than it does in those black plastic grow bags where soil temperatures are up to 10 degrees F hotter.

      • Rod says:

        Big marijuana is legalized poisoning of an Earthy gift to mankind,  why do that?

        • kerr, david says:

          Growing marijuana in Yolo county would mean regulated pesticides instead of the unregulated use in Shasta county commercial marijuana.

          Wildfires are one of the costs of growing marijuana in the  hills above Ono where Freddie Smoke allegedly started a fire when delivering soil amendments to his grow bags.  That fire cost one human life, 20 homes and cost the State of California $25 million.  Insurance companies can raise their rates in Shasta county after paying claims for that many houses.

          Growing 100 plants ($100,000+, tax free) like the Benno operation involved a Bobcat to move soil amendments and grow bags.  Growing in the soil would mean the only input would be fertilizer, and fertilizing 100 plants would need nothing more than a wheelbarrow.

          • Rod says:

            Big MJ equates to big money, and then to more and bigger profit.  Chemical amendments to the horticulturist is poison.  Follow the big tobacco history and you’ll see the magnitude of health risks to human consumption and it’s destruction of anything medicinal as related to it’s original benefits for mankind.

            If you advocate a hemp crop, think of commercial cotton growing.  If, like myself, you advocate for the medicinal properties, organic small-scale hands on methods will be beneficial for the grower and on down the supply chain.

            I do agree with utilizing existing soils rather than manufactured.  Case in point……Back in the infancy of Shasta County cultivators, the finest soil was native lilac leafmold.  Combined with water from a small spring at 3,000 elevation filtered through volcanic soil, success could be had.

            Today, those who utilize any petroleum labor saving tools aren’t organic farmers.  Smoke 111 proves my point.

            Study the grow practices in CO today outdoors.  Row crops and chemicals are not in MMJ’s best interest.

             

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      I’m afraid David Kerr will turn out to be right. Yolo has the jump on us. They’ve got good dirt. We’re doomed!

      • kerr, david says:

        The Yolo farmers market is great.  Reminds me of the Ann Arbor farmers market.  Or Lancaster PA, or any in NJ west of the Garden State parkway.

        In Yolo  county, outdoor marijuana is legal since they repealed the ban.  That means UC Davis ag school, the county ag extension and master gardener programs can assist growers.  UC Integrated Pest Management is a great resource.  Whether it is deer, rattlesnakes, aphids or just about any garden or household pest, like Doni’s rats, google :”uc ipm and the topic.  Or just browse

        ipm.ucanr.edu

  20. cheyenne says:

    Rod, I would like to know where those outdoor grows, legal, are in Colorado.  The state has said all grows must be indoors with 24/7 security.  All the pictures, locally and nationally, show Colorado MJ indoors.  That is why the Denver warehouses are the choice for now resulting in high energy costs.  Even a lot of the illegal grows attributed to drug cartels busted in Pueblo were in rented houses.  A some what indoor/outdoor MJ grow was proposed in a closed prison on the northeastern plains but it was nixed by the residents.  Not because the residents didn’t want MJ but because they didn’t like the governor, a Democrat, who had one of his cronies buy the land in a backroom deal.  That was not in the news but was told to me by one of the residents.  Fake news, I don’t think so.  The rural cities are looking at getting into the pot business by growing in greenhouses.  And while many hope for the feds to legalize MJ they, voiced by more than a few store owners, are concerned with after the feds legalize MJ then Big Tobacco will jump in to the marketplace.  Similar to the big breweries jumping into the craft beer marketplace.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Growing marijuana indoors is a joke, especially from and industry that likes to imagine it’s “green.”

      • cheyenne says:

        RV, it may be a joke but millions of tax money is coming in while many millionaires are being made in Colorado.  That is no joke.  What I find ironic is that a state that basically starts at 4500 feet and up with bad winter weather has a thriving MJ industry while other warmer states are struggling.  Colorado made rules and the MJ growers and sellers followed them and have turned an illegal crop into a legal crop making millions.

        • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

          Oh, I know the money Colorado is raking in right now is no joke! But there’s simply no way Colorado weed can compete with outdoor weed when it comes to price point. The only reason it’s in warehouses is cause dipshits have cowered to complaints about the smell, or “we don’t want to see it,” plus the altitude in CO ain’t good for weed. Spending infinite amounts of money on electricity for a plant that requires no electricity to grow is a short-sighted plan.

           

          • Rod says:

            The carbon footprint established by indoor regulation is a point of shame in a society where natural solar energy is supposedly desired.  Is it a fee based control?  PG&E and other publicly owned utility investors are the obvious beneficiaries.  Who might they be?

            Plus, indoor tomatoes compared to homegrown are inferior food.  There’s a connection to sun grown food for all living earth species.  There’s a limit to acceptance of forced electricity consumption.  The unnatural and environmentally destructive requirement of man-made energy will soon self-destruct.

            Expecting the high cost of energy to deter cannabis cultivation is a moral and ethical sin.  It is instead a price support.  The greedy manipulation by those in control of fellow man, is a short step from hell.

             

             

          • cheyenne says:

            Actually RV, Colorado wanted a secure garden that would not be easily ripped off that was why the state wanted indoor gardens with 24/7 security.  When MMJ was first opened for business the Denver Post had several articles on MMJ.  They took pictures of the first grows and the growers said they were open for inspection by any law enforcement, city, county, state or federal.  I have never seen any complaints about smell.  Of course that is probably because the grows are inside.  As Colorado moves forward from where they started I would not be surprised to see outdoor gardens at least during summer time but they will have to be secure.  Above all else Colorado has stressed secure grows not accessible to theft.  While some stores have been robbed, by outside and inside crooks, I have not heard of one grow robbed except by LE.  But I agree the Golden Triangle of Trinity, Siskiyou and Humboldt have the best MJ.  And that is my opinion from my own testing.

    • Rod says:

      You stumped me Cheyenne,  I have no proof.  If memory is correct, the TV broadcast was a CNBC production.

      Good job with the correction!

       

  21. cheyenne says:

    Martra Development Company of Denver is planning to lease greenhouses to growers by Walsenburg.  These greenhouses are advertised as secure grow sites with ample sunshine.  Check out their website.  One small, or not so small, problem I see, they come without water rights.

  22. kerr, david says:

    Marijuana tourism will be an important part of California’s future.  Davis already is a tourism destination.  Ono is not.  Its main advantage is remoteness.

    I don’t see metro Redding reinventing itself with marijuana.  The state’s number one crop belongs in the best soils.  Marijuana will follow the path of the wine industry, with tourism a major component.  Big tobacco did not take over the wine industry and California would not welcome it.

    I see Redding shrinking as brick and mortar retailers like JC Penny, Kmart, Sears and Macy’s close.  With the decline of print newspapers, the Record Searchligh’s building on Twin view is about ten times larger than what it needs.  Gannett owns the Reno Gazette Journal, and has put its building up for sale.  The RGJ will be printed in Carson City.

    http://www.rgj.com/story/money/business/2017/03/01/reno-gazette-journal-outsource-print-operations-sell-building/98554624/

    • Matthew Meyer says:

      Hey David, much of what you say is coherent, but I wonder:

      If Yolo has such an advantage, why isn’t it the leader in wine grape cultivation as well?

      Why hassle with all those inconvenient Napa terraces when you can have flat valley land?

      One can hope the race to the bottom will eventually turn into a focus on quality, at least for a part of the market. Cooler nights, volcanic soil…all the little variables that make the difference with varieties of wine grape will give birth to cannabis terroir, too.

  23. Carter Slade says:

    Somewhat disappointed that commenters want to turn RV’s article into another Trump thing. On that note, I can’t help but think somewhere, if Trump knew, he would be laughing while lapping up the attention. He’s just that kind of guy. Not to fuel the fire but is judge Baker a Russian?  Just kidding…

    To observe, pres Trump may not help the Bennos case in the future with his semi to fully fledged wacko politics but  it’s only fair to mention he was no where near the scene of the crime when Shasta County did decide to make an example of the Bennos several years ago. Nor was Trump involved in the Prop A dog and pony show which force fed propaganda to Shasta County residents by spreading reefer madness tales of a county population being doomed by a medicinal plant that somehow has the capability of unleashing a very dangerous, and highly stoned cracken. In the end, all that happened is a lot of upstanding rural folks got screwed, a lot of city folks got used and somewhere in the middle, the Bennos are being hung out to dry.

    To James and family I say – Keep up the fight and dont let Shasta county bury this thing in the back pages. The trial outcome, win lose or draw  is important for all of us and I for one appreciate your courage. I have to believe the county is already dismayed that the case is getting attention. I’m sure they would have preferred to railroad the Benno family as quickly and quietly as possible. Nor can they be happy with the press attention that the Honorable Baker bombshell brought – perhaps a bit of a “oh shit, the gloves dont fit… ” moment but in the immortal words of Danny MaCafee, lead lawyer for Lance Corporal Dawson and Private Downy – “No matter what happens, act like you knew it was going to happen…”  Im also quite sure the county DA office is very concerned with taxpayers beginning to take a closer look at what will be gained vs what will be lost as the county continues to dig a deeper hole for themselves given the fact that Prop 64 is now in play.

    Perhaps this trial may turn out to be a Trump thing after all. Maybe Trump lackeys will come in and somehow, some way save the day.  Hell, maybe they will even ride in on white horses donated by the Bethel church. I like to think that the DA’s office is praying for something like that but the truth is – if the Bennos lose, WE THE PEOPLE lose as well…

    Thanks RV for helping to give this travesty transparency…

     

    • Rod says:

      An excellent piece of writing, Carter.  Please attempt to do more of it.

       

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Carter Slade says:  “Somewhat disappointed that commenters want to turn RV’s article into another Trump thing. “

      I’m inclined to forgive all of us readers and commenters.  Look at the headline at the top of the article.  Take a gander at the photo directly below the headline.  Read the first line of R.V.’s “Writer’s Note” preamble.

      Clearly, R.V. made it a Trump thing.  We commenters are just rising to the fly.

      • Rod says:

        Agreed.  The headline by RV distressed me too.  On the other hand it worked.  His preamble also stated…….

        “My argument is that federal marijuana law has done enough damage to otherwise law-abiding citizens and should be rescinded.”

        I especially respected his closing comment……..

        “But I can still dream.”

        RV wrote a provocative piece…intentionally I believe.  The subtle hypocrisy of the headline drew some great people to comment.

         

      • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

        I made it a Trump thing because I want the comments! The headline is total clickbait

        • Carter Slade says:

          Damn, I sure missed this one. Sorry RV. The article title content does make it fair game as a Trump thing (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  It’s just that…

          It’s just that I hate to see the Benno debacle turned into a Trump thing, on any level. I guess you could say Trump and Benno are the same thing, only different. Benno isn’t where he is because of Trump, but Trump can be the guy, in a round about way, to finish Benno off.  Further and in a stoner speak “that’s f’kd up man” sort of way, even tho Cali politics are bluer than the deep blue Pacific Ocean, Trump could also be used by Shasta County as their fall guy as the Benno case price meter continues to climb- Hey, it’s not us its him...

          RV’s story Get Benno was one on one reporting.  It was about Benno vs the County of Shasta. A this-could-happen-to-you story.  A story that when you finished reading it made you mumble “the  sorry bastards”, under your breath. Local columnist, local story, local victim…

          If folks wanna write about Trump get on board.  A dead horse can endure a fairly lengthy beating, so Ive been told. But the Benno story is my town, my neighbors, my local government and Trump doesn’t get the last word here, not really…

           

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Your welcome.

  24. Carter Slade says:

    Supplemental – The answer for Judge Baker’s recusal may lie in his past history of presiding over several large, m local court cases involving other medical marijuana collectives.  Google his name, he’s out there…Biased? Perhaps.  Outright anti? Maybe….As they say in the grow trade- “Ya reap what ya sow, man…”

  25. cheyenne says:

    I have nothing but good praise for Judge Baker.  Before he was a judge he was an attorney who several years ago represented me when I was sued, ironically by an anews commentator who will remain anonymous as we have moved on from our disagreement.   Due to his efforts the suit was dropped.  And no it wasn’t about marijuana.

  26. kerr, david says:

    In today’s Bee.  Yolo county farm to storefront tracking.

    http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/california-weed/article137856073.html

    Prop 64 takes effect in Jan 1018.  There will be a vigorous debate in the counties and cities about how to regulate it. Shasta county’s Board of Supervisors will regulate differently than Yolo.

  27. cheyenne says:

    Interesting link to Colorado on MJ.  Hope I do it right.

    thecannabist.co

     

     

  28. Horace MacGregor says:

    R.V. Scheide Jr. Thank you for an informative article. As I recall, Measure A  won by about 10%. This tells me that there is a great minority that dreams of the day that they too can plant cannabis and not have their neighbors freak out! Aren’t there more important things for these anti cannabis people  to be concerned about? In more progressive areas people are using tax revenues to improve infrastructure, not  here is Shasta County.  What really annoys me is their self righteousness in telling people how to live. Hopefully the majority of these anti cannabis people are older and as they die off the hate will go with them.

  29. Common Sense says:

    Now that Stillwater Business Park is back to a “Field of Dreams” with LCN backing out.….imagine for a moment…..Large Commercial Warehouses…….and Millions of Dollars of Tax Money flowing into the City of Redding’s Coffers-per year….Imagine the roads around the city actually being “Repaired”…….imagine money for more Police officers and more money to figure out the Transient Population….Imagine the Majority of the people off Opiates…Imagine Downtown Revitalized and helped along with some of that money so People wanted to gather downtown and felt SAFE again……oh…..imagine…….I can’t think of a better place to have ALL the Cannabis Businesses go!!…It’s away from the Schools….away from the Churches…..away from the Parks……well it’s a perfect fit I think….now onto that topic of Local Officials and Governmental folks and Cognitive Dissonance……That’s a another topic that we could go on and on about……

    IF SLC took in $425k in one year….and Redding is approx 9-10x larger…..mmmm some interesting math there…..then another $2-10 Million in Growing taxes……it would take years to get up to 10M…..but just imagine what could be done with those revenues??

    • Rod says:

      Cannabis Canyon Herbal Cooperative……a growers’ presentation to good health.

      Same-same as you say, publicly owned by legal and exemplary cultivators.  Air shipments worldwide.  A product for the 21st century.

      Shall we talk about a change in attitude?  Why not Shasta County?

       

       

       

  30. Common Sense says:

    Well at least SOME cities are going to Benefit from the Cannabis Commercial Operations getting a Green Light!…Meanwhile in Little Ol Redding……Still Water Park is back to ZERO……we don’t want a Greenhouse Manufacturer in there! Not in our backyard….and God Forbid allowing a natural plant that can bring the city MILLIONS in Tax Revenue come in!    http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-marijuana-cultivation-20160510-story.html

    Nope not here……. so I guess they will just hit the Public up for another Half Cent tax and see how it goes?…..again…..?

    The County will be LOSING 900 Jobs if that Medi-CAL cut back happens……..mmmm….guess that doesn’t matter either……..perhaps we had better try a full .1C sales tax???…… Hello!

    It reminds me of a little kid…..he has a stick……he is hitting himself with it and saying….Owch….owch….owch….Drop the Stick Johnny!…Change what you are doing if you want different RESULTS!

    The City and County Residents Need More Jobs!….Not Less……the Manufacturing could bring in hundreds of jobs once they got Rolling!…..IF….they were Accepted and allowed!!!….Tax Money…..Jobs……..lower unemployment rates….

    I just have one question I would like Answered by the Powers to be in Government locally……if and When you Say NO to this …..What is YOUR PLAN to Offset the Lost Millions of Dollars that we would have had???…Please tell us all….the Taxpayers in this area…..what are you going to do to OFFSET that LOST REVENUE?

  31. Horace MacGregor says:

    One of the image problems, I believe, is that there are  many low life cannabis users users who give all cannabis  users a bad sterotypic image. Not all low lifes are users, not all users are low lifes. Here in Shasta County people have trouble trying to separate the myth from the truth. Reefer madness lives on to the detriment of all.

  32. Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

    The Benno trial apparently ended with the jury voting not guilty on all counts except two, and the jury hung on those two counts.

    I hope the D.A.’s office will NOT use taxpayer dollars to retry on the two counts. Sure, Benno is outspoken, and he makes some people mad. That’s not reason enough to go to extraordinary lengths to put him and his sons in jail. Jail should be a place where people go because we’re afraid of them. It should not be a place where people go because they make the wrong people mad.

  33. Common Sense says:

    The two that were hung are pretty serious charges! They can’t use any Federal funds to Prosecute those charges-Cole Memo….

    Marihuana 1000 kilograms or more or 1000 or more plants3 $10/50 million 10 years to life 100 to 999 kilograms or 100 to 999 plants $5/25 million 5 to 40 years 50 to 99 kilograms or 50 to 99 plants $1/5 million Up to 20 years Under 50 kilograms4, 10 kilograms of hashish, 1 kilogram of hashish oil, or 1 to 49 plants $250,000/$1 million Up to 5 years.

    If convicted and sentenced to jail, a minimum of 85% of that sentence must be served. The higher the amount of cannabis, the more likely one is to be sentenced to jail time, as opposed to probation or alternative sentencing. Even for a defendant with multiple prior convictions, being charged with low-level offenses may lead to probation for the entire sentence of one to twelve months, with no jail time required. Possession of over 1 kg of cannabis with no prior convictions carries a sentence of six to twelve months with a possibility of probation and alternative sentencing. Over 2.5 kg with no criminal record carries a sentence of at least six months in jail; with multiple prior convictions, a sentence might be up to two years to three years in jail with no chance for probation.

    Now think for a minute if the County and the City Said yes on Prop 64….the Tax on that haul alone would have paid for this whole trial!….Just another reason to RECEIVE Money and not SPEND money fighting/Procecuting cases like this!….Then you just spend the money on the ones that are not following Prop 64.

    Well if they have to wait another 2-3 years to have a court date on those two charges this may be passed by then-  https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1227/text