Poor Amy Stewart on Prop. 19


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The November installment of North Coast Almanack -- famous writer Amy Stewart's popular and utile guide to gardening, alcohol and alcoholic gardeners -- won't be published until tomorrow. We give you a preview today.

Nov. 1: Tomorrow [today] you will be asked to make a very interesting decision. The appeal of taking an illegal operation and bringing it into the bright light of legitimate commerce is what tempts many of us to vote in favor of it. One envisions clean, well-lit, ecologically sound greenhouses and coffeehouses, frequented by tourists and staffed by tax-paying workers who enjoy the same protections and rights of all workers, so much that they hardly miss the rolls of greenbacks slipped surreptitiously in their pockets along with their share of the trimmings. Whether such a day will dawn here or in Oakland or anywhere at all is an open question.

One wonders, however, whether anyone who enjoys the dark and shifty life of an outlaw will embrace the job of running an up-front business, with its tedium of paperwork and endless quibbles over permits and contracts and finer points of law and etiquette. A rum-runner harbors no dream of operating an above-board establishment; if the rum were to run dry, smuggling some other form of contraband would prove more appealing. It is nonetheless unpleasant to live among rum-runners, which is why some of us hope to legalize their operation and let those with better business acumen take command of the high seas.


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