Humboldt County residents sure love state and federal law enforcement. And rightly so. Some readers are probably too young to remember this, but 30 years back, the largest law enforcement task force in the United States — the multi-agency Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, or CAMP — was deployed in California with the goal of eliminating all marijuana growing and trafficking in the state. Tip o' the cap, fellas, for a job well done. I think we'll all agree that Humboldt County has been much better off since those brave soldiers in the War on Drugs liberated us from the satanic shrub.
Sure, we had to endure a few uncomfortable summers of being treated like Cuban militants. And now and then a nonviolent dope grower was arrested and sentenced to years in a federal prison. But that's a small price to pay for having our hills and rivers returned to the bosom of Mother Nature, and our wits freed from the prison of intoxication. As the helicopters hauled off the last remaining plants, a grateful public rejoiced. That's why, to this day, we honor the sacrifices of those brave soldiers with commemorative bumper stickers that read, "CAMP Here Any Time."
But our enemy, cannabis, was more wily and devious than we ever could have imagined. In recent years, virulent super-strains of the drug have enlisted a new generation of recruits in their quest for world domination. With promises of massive profits and transcendent highs, these malicious plants have brainwashed hundreds of victims from around the world, drawing them to the Emerald Triangle and compelling them to sow the seeds of evil with no regard for our fragile ecosystem. Meanwhile, enemy cannabis plants have infiltrated our health care system, duping unsuspecting patients with false claims of palliative effects and healing powers.
We locals have done what we can, but we're outmatched. Sheriff Mike Downey has enlisted help from wherever he can find it, and Melinda Haag, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, has waged a tireless and heroic campaign against dispensaries. But it seems that every bust gives rise to three new operations.
Last week, a desperate Humboldt County Board of Supervisors sought to quash the uprising by establishing a new ban on medical marijuana dispensaries. Let us pray the defenses hold.
But the most rousing news came late last week when the Office of National Drug Control Policy announced that Humboldt County has been added to a tremendously powerful law-enforcement stronghold called the "Northern California High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area." The designation will bring new resources and cooperation from state and federal agencies, delivering much-needed backup to weakened defenses. Yes, our state and federal law enforcement saviors have been summoned to our rescue yet again.
Roughly 60 percent of the country's population already lives in a High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, and we have it on good authority that illegal drugs are in full retreat mode. So rest easy, Humboldt. Our forests and streams will soon gleam once more with the sheen of health. Our stupefied neighbors will again be pulled from the fetid bog of marijuana addiction. Oh! And here's a bonus: This drug trafficking program deals with meth, too. One less thing to worry about!