Data is a lovely thing. Many is the evening I've passed in the Journal office, whistling over a warm, freshly-printed batch of documents, a fistful of various-colored highlighters, Post-It notes and paperclips standing by to help me weave raw numbers into sturdy prose. There's something so satisfying about finding a cache of information that backs up a personal theory or debunks an erroneous source, hard numbers that transform art to something closer to science. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions may be forever denied that satisfaction.
Sessions, who in May rejected the idea of treating opioid addiction with legal marijuana, saying that it's "only slightly less awful" than heroin and who has criticized the concept of manmade climate change, is unlikely to land on the right side of history, much less the right side of science. And the task force he assembled at the beginning of the Trump administration has delivered exactly bupkis by way of supporting his plans to wage war on legal cannabis, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press. Instead, the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety has basically reiterated the Obama-era "hands off" approach to state-by-state legalization of cannabis. A full report is not due to be released publicly, but the pieces the AP was able to obtain reinforce what many experts have speculated, specifically that in the absence of proof that legal cannabis is contributing to nationwide degeneracy, and not wanting to prick Sessions' balloon, they have instead come back with the legal equivalent of the noncommittal text you send your ex when he's trying to stir some drama and you're just not invested: LOL WUT ¯\_()_/¯.
Speaking of data nerdiness and documents warm from the printer, here's a short list of cannabis-related permits coming before the county planning commission this Thursday: Humboldt Cannabis Tours is seeking a special permit to create an agricultural tourism operation so visitors can check out our far-out farms, Wonderland Nursery is going for a dispensary, Humboldt Alchemy Group would like a zone reclassification for a section of the Avenue of the Giants near Phillipsville so they can put in a 1,150 square foot extraction lab, the Satori Wellness Collective wants to open a dispensary and nursery up in MackTown, and the aptly-named Hilltop Farm, LLC is pitching a 7,560 square foot cultivation scene at the very top of Humboldt Hill.
And speaking of science, why is it that with all of the random pseudo-scientific applications for cannabis that flood my email inbox and social media feeds (cannabis for your acne, cannabis for your menstrual cramps, cannabis for your Restless Legs Syndrome), I am not being bombarded with advertisements about the one thing that, anecdotally, smoking a joint is known to cure? No, I'm not talking about opiate addiction. (Whatever Sessions chooses to believe, addiction has seen a strong correlative downturn in states with legal marijuana, but that's not science, that's statistics.) I'm talking about hangovers.
We all know that those bags of "herbal cure" at the gas station counter are bullshit, but people still buy them in the hopes of erasing the previous night's terrible decisions. There's a market for this. Why aren't we seeing ads for the best strains to address nausea and aching heads? Now, granted, if you're on your way to work, getting high is not a grand idea. But if it's the weekend and you're just trying to get your laundry done without wincing, a small smoke session might help. I'm not a doctor or a drinker, so I'm relying on the testimony of my friends who still party and Johnny Cash, who in "Sunday Morning Coming Down," sang "On a Sunday morning sidewalk\I'm wishing, Lord, that I was stoned."
Like Jeff Sessions, I'm kind of an old square. (Props to the reader who called me "Humboldt's Andy Rooney." I'll take it.) But unlike Sessions, I'm willing to hear evidence that doesn't support my opinion. (Unless it's about Johnny Cash, in which case you nerds should prepare to be owned.) Check out the contact information below and get in touch if you disagree with me. Bring some numbers.
Linda Stansberry is a staff writer at the Journal. Reach her at 442-1400, extension 317, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LCStansberry.