Norton Lehner: Two roads parallel | TheUnion.com

Norton Lehner: Two roads parallel

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Norton Lehner

The recent half-page advertisements in The Union (April 19, 20 and 21) titled "Everybody wins!", etc., paid for by the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance, have an obvious intent to sway the citizens of Nevada County and the Board of Supervisors into believing that the cannabis culture in Nevada County will be a boon to the county.

The ads include a table of two columns, one listing the "Black Market" culture, the other listing the "Regulated Market" culture. It is clear that the Cannabis Alliance failed to recognize (or is intentionally ignoring the fact) that those who for decades ignored federal, state and local law (i.e., the Black Market) will continue to do so under any provisions of a new ordinance (i.e., the Regulated Market). These are the same people!

Their goal is to continue to produce as much of their product as possible, without regard for any ordinance passed by the Board of Supervisors. The Black Market will continue to thrive as it has in Colorado, Washington and Oregon; and in Siskiyou, Butte, Yuba and other counties in California.

Their own statement speaks volumes: "People who were once shunned as criminals taking money from the community the underground economy will surface as respectable tax-paying citizens."

Is anyone really naïve enough to believe that the people in the Black Market culture will magically change their spots and become the pillars of our society as members of the Regulated Market culture?

I doubt that the members of the Board of Supervisors are that naive. I doubt that most citizens with integrity are that naive. The only thing that will appease members of the marijuana culture is a "green light" ordinance which allows unrestricted production; or any ordinance that lacks commitment from law enforcement and our courts to strictly enforce, and penalize those who ignore it.

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The table included with the ads compares the Black Market to the Regulated Market. Looking at just a few of the comparisons discloses the idiocy of the Cannabis Alliance's reasoning:

"Black Market puts youth at risk" vs. "Regulated Market prevents youth access by tracking cannabis through the supply chain." That comparison is laughable, and contradicts everything we know about the "well-regulated" alcohol and tobacco markets.

"Trimmigrants and undocumented workers" vs. "Tax-paying, qualified workforce." The growers will continue to employ the lowest-cost workers, regardless of their immigration status.

"Butane hash labs in neighborhoods" vs. "Properly zoned and inspected manufacturing facilities." Butane labs are illegal, have always been illegal, and will continue to be illegal, and the new ordinance will not change that. But butane labs will still be with us, since those who deal in such things have no respect for the law.

In the end, the members of the Nevada County Board of Supervisors are faced with a dilemma: whether to yield to the propaganda of the cannabis culture, and open our county's doors to a culture that is failing in other states and counties; or to pass an ordinance that has teeth, and protects those of us who see the arguments of the Cannabis Alliance for what they are: utter nonsense.

The latter choice, of course, requires that members of law enforcement and our courts sign up to penalize those who would continue to ignore the law.

Norton Lehner lives in Grass Valley.