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'Greed and Cluelessness' 

Editor:

Two hundred years ago, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that the power to tax is the power to destroy.

Unfortunately, this is what's happening currently in Humboldt County. Until recently, cannabis was considered a criminal enterprise. Now governments at all levels have become among its major stakeholders because of their taxing and regulatory power. With a combination of greed and cluelessness, they are crushing the emerging legal industry with exorbitant fees, taxes, legal costs and convoluted regulations ("Emergency No More," July 19). 

The industry needs regulation primarily to prevent and reverse environmental damage, to which authorities have long turned a blind eye. Ensuring that a safe product reaches the consumer is important but the 10,000-year history of cannabis use simply doesn't justify treating it like a poison or a threat to society. Moral opposition seeks to distinguish "good" cannabis as medicine from "bad" cannabis that's used for pleasure, simply continuing the war on (people who use) drugs, and reinforcing the least progressive elements of society.

The war on drugs was conceived as an attack on young people and minorities, and became the major policing function because the federal government was willing to pay for it. In its latest iteration, it continues to be a bureaucratic and law enforcement jobs program. California often pursues rational, forward-looking policies, but this legalization isn't one of them. To find out where Humboldt County seems to be headed, I suggest reading a history of Appalachia.

Greg Movsesyan, Fieldbrook

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