A Momentary Opportunity

Sierra County has always prided itself on being at the forefront of the modern intellectual movement towards tolerance, rationalism and personal liberty. Sierra County, New Mexico, I mean.

Here in Sierra County California, there might be a few people like that, communists and democrats mostly, but everyone else likes things the way they used to be around here.

That might be why, as the rest of the world looks toward the Large Hadron Collider, folks here want a steam engine.

The Prospect has for nearly a year now predicted the coming crest of cannabis production in the state. We’ve pointed out the potential the industrial park has for making Loyalton momentarily wealthy. We have never failed to add that the opportunity will be short lived. It will exist while cannabis is in a gray area; when it becomes completely legal large corporations already set up to profit from agriculture will take over.

This isn’t hypothetical, like "people might move here and build houses." This is real; in three to six months cannabis dollars could be flowing, legally, into the county.

Note that the Prospect has never advocated the use of cannabis. That is entirely a personal decision. We’ve advocated the county making use of what resources we have to take advantage of a market opportunity.

Some people have reacted from a moral standpoint. This is a completely fabricated morality, cannabis is a plant, that’s all. It is relatively benign, and has been used since before the time of Christ for food, medicine, and fiber. There is no morality issue about cannabis use, unless it be hypocrisy regarding anyone who drinks alcohol but judges others for using ganja. People aren’t going to give that hypocrisy up easily. It’s just so pleasant to feel more righteous than others, more mainstream while they are more fringe. It isn’t just a cruel source of self-righteousness, it’s holding us back.

Currently, at the state level, there are a number of bills moving forward to bring cannabis out of the gray and into the light.

Currently, 56% of adults in California favor full legalization of cannabis. Oakland, thanks to Measure J, has been collecting $18 for every $1,000 in cannabis sales. There are legalization measures lined up for the November ballot, and the chance is good it will pass.

Even the legislature is trying to figure out how to legalize it without seeming to support its use. The Assembly Public Safety Committee has passed AB390 on to further discussion by a vote of 4-3. It’s a timid movement toward rationality, but all one can expect from a profession who made good money whipping the populace into a Drug War frenzy. The bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, said, "This is a significant vote today because it legitimizes the quest for debate… There was a time when the 'm' word never would have been brought up in Sacramento."

Currently, state senator Ron Calderon has stated he plans to enter legislation which would require the registration and taxation of all cannabis producers in the state, legal and illegal.

Calderon with cops, from his website

Calderon is no hippy, his primary concern is fiscal. If all legal growers and distributor of cannabis follow the law, it could mean $168 billion dollars with no change in cannabis legalization. His bill would not only allow increased taxation of legal cannabis producers and distributors, but would allow the state to go after illegal producers to get back tax money. The bill would require growers and distributors to get a license, which would cost major bucks. They would prepay part of their sales taxes, and would pay an excise tax similar to tobacco.

The Prospect is going to predict that Calderon’s bill is not going to pass, not because people aren’t in favor of taxing marijuana, but because his measure is too draconian. Legal and even illegal cannabis producers in the state have growing legitimate power, and they are going to use it to prevent such harsh taxation, at least for medical cannabis. Americans for Safe Access HERE  have already weighed in against the excise tax on medical cannabis. Further, the tax on illegal cannabis, which was ruled unconstitutional at the federal level in 1969, probably won’t stand up in court.

Still, Calderon is not cutting edge. There is a strong movement to legalize and tax all forms of cannabis, including hemp, in Oregon. The content of that very thoroughly researched legal work is HERE  Also, see below. 

Cities are getting skittish about all the indoor cannabis grows. As cannabis becomes increasingly legal it will move from residential settings to industrial settings. The recently opened marijuana growing superstore iGrow is located in the light industrial area around the airport in Oakland.

This is the moment for Sierra County to shake off its lethargy and relinquish its cherished but self-damaging bigotry against cannabis. We are poised to supply legal cannabis not only to North Eastern California, but to Nevadans who have medical marijuana certifications.

We have a local source of land, an industrial park with electricity generated on the spot. SPI is asking Cadillac prices for their scrubby plots, who else but a pot baron could afford those? We have unskilled and semi-skilled workers looking for employment. All that keeps Sierra County from leaping into the forefront of legal cannabis production is loving the way things used to be, but ain’t any more.

Last summer the county hauled hundreds of thousands of dollars of cannabis to the landfill. Sierra County could have seized that pot, swiftly put local 215/medical cannabis patients to trim and dry the bud (there are many in the county), and marketed it to legal dispensaries in Oakland. Local jobs went to the landfill. Loyalton’s pool went to the landfill. There was no one with any decision making authority at the county who could realize the potential of all that money going to the landfill.

Too bad. It was, after all, mostly cellulose and would burn, maybe someone could have saved it as fuel for the steam engine.



  1. The planning commission and then the county should identify and appropriately zone industrial cannabis, and identify areas in the Valley to qualify for "hemp production" for fiber and seed crops, which will one day dwarf drug cannabis as a source of legal agriculture in California.
  2. The County should put a tax on the sale of medical cannabis.
  3. The County should pass ordinances for the licensing of medical cannabis growing, clone production and sales, and medical cannabis products dispensaries. There would be fees to the health department, fees to the cops, license fees and taxes.
  4. County staff should be educated and trained.
  5. The County should publicize its new status.



From the CRRH.org website:

The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA) sets a number of constitutional findings by the people of the state of Oregon in an extensive preamble, which is fully one third of the text. Some of those findings specifically refer to the Oregon Constitution, but each Oregon constitutional provision cited is explicitly paralleled in the U.S. Constitution. We decided to rely on the Oregon Constitution since federal courts have ruled that it provides even more rights to the people than the U.S. Constitution. However, the citations we rely upon for OCTA are duplicated in the U.S. Constitution almost verbatim.

Our findings by the people of the State of Oregon are, in condensed form:

1. that cannabis prohibition denies equal protection under the law, as provided in the U.S. Constitution's 14th amendment and the Oregon Constitution's Article 1, Section 20, since it grants special privileges to alcohol users and imposes sanctions upon cannabis users;

2. cannabis prohibition violates the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 9 of the Oregon Constitution by allowing unreasonable search and seizure;

3. cannabis prohibition violates the purposes for which our constitutional government was implemented as outlined in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 1 of the Oregon Constitution;

4. cannabis prohibition denies freedom of worship, as constitutionally protected in the U.S. Constitution's 1st Amendment and Article 1, Section 3 of the Oregon Constitution, since it prohibits cannabis, which is an "herb bearing seed" given to people in the Bible at Genesis 1:29;

5. the prohibition of cannabis causes the social ills it was instituted to stop, just as alcohol Prohibition caused the same social ills from 1920 to 1933;

6. cannabis prohibition has failed, since marijuana is the largest industry in Oregon even though it is prohibited;

7. the U.S. Constitution's framers were hemp farmers and wrote of hemp's utility, which we detail;

8. many courts have recognized that cannabis prohibition is wrong, which we detail;

9. that cannabis is environmentally and economically beneficial and it was prohibited because of its industrial potential, based upon misinformation, to protect the economic interests of the few, to the detriment of the economic interests of the many;

10. cannabis prohibition by the federal government violates the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution, which says that rights not granted the federal government are retained by the state government and the people;

11. cannabis prohibition violates one's right to privacy, as guaranteed by the Ninth Amendment to the US Constitution and Article 1, Section 33 of the Oregon Constitution, which says that the people retain un-enumerated rights and those include a right to privacy; this was one of the Alaskan Supreme Court's findings in Ravin v. State (1975), which legalized personal private cultivation and possession of marijuana in Alaska.


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