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'A Resource Colony'

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Thanks for your fine coverage of the local weed economy (The Cannabis Issue, March 21). It suggests that some of weed's original spirit may survive legalization. The spirit of collaboration and cooperation, innovation for the love of it — and most important, a desire to keep it responsible to its roots in the local community.

But as your own reporting keeps reminding us, this emerging economy faces serious competition from the old ways of doing business. Based chiefly on fear and greed, the old economy killed and enslaved Native people, then sold their baskets. It clear-cut the dark and unprofitable forests, and now eco-markets the remains. The year I moved to Humboldt, fear moved a sheriff's deputy to kill a young man holding a marijuana leaf.

And now the greed.

What's that sound? I asked my wife the other day. We were standing on our back porch in Elk River. I don't know, she said. A plane?

No. It's the fans on the 30,000 square feet of greenhouses a quarter-mile south of us. Where last summer county Supervisor Rex Bohn and Planning Director John Ford assured a crowd of some 40 neighbors that noise would not be a problem. The actual owners could not be present but were said to have put millions of dollars into this and other projects. How could there be a problem?

I'm sorry for the people closer to it.

We need to stop running this county like a resource colony — where our culture and our neighborhoods are an investment opportunity. It's time to turn our economy away from the fear and greed model and toward cooperation and a collective sense of who and where we are.

Jerry Martien, Elk River


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