Letters + Opinion » The Week in Weed

Take Me to Church


A Santa Ana police officer gets the munchies. - KTLA
  • KTLA
  • A Santa Ana police officer gets the munchies.

The city of Arcata has declared victory in its war on the megawatt. In a June 16 press release, Environmental Services Director Mark Andre announced that the city's High Energy Use Tax, implemented in 2013 to discourage indoor marijuana grows, has paid off the $600,000 it cost for Pacific Gas and Electric to incorporate the tax into its utility bill collection.

The city expects to continue pulling in around $25,000 a month from the remaining 76 high energy users. That's significantly less than originally anticipated, but Mayor Michael Winkler said in a statement that the purpose of the tax is to reduce the amount of energy being used, not to collect money.

The total monthly electrical use from Arcata's 8,500 meters has dropped by more than 1.3 million kilowatt hours since the tax went into effect — the equivalent use of more than 1,400 average households.


Recent votes are fueling speculation that longtime California Sen. Dianne Feinstein is softening her previously staunch anti-medical marijuana stance.

Feinstein voted in favor of allowing veterans to use medical marijuana but, more recently, she voted against legislation that would stop federal meddling in states with medical marijuana programs. The Chronicle's Debra J. Saunders surmised in a March column that Feinstein is the "linchpin" when it comes to changing marijuana law at the federal level.


Indiana has become home to the country's First Church of Cannabis, a congregation that, according to Yahoo News, "preaches the power of pot to heal the world."

While marijuana has millions of unaffiliated followers, it apparently took the IRS until 2015 to clear a house of weed worship for nonprofit status, making it the first temple to toking in the U.S.

The church is led by a 59-year-old carpenter (ahem) named Bill Levin, who has collected more than $100,000 in an online crowdfunding campaign to lease a building.

The church's tenets range from specific (No. 8: "Do not be a 'troll' on the Internet"; No. 4: don't drink soda) to more broad panacea (No. 3: "Help others when you can"). The church's general golden-rule focus is exemplified in the No. 1 tenet: "Don't be an asshole."

Marijuana is illegal in Indiana, and, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, "Possession of even a single joint is punishable by up to a year of incarceration and a fine of up to $5,000" with a prior drug offense.


The Santa Ana Police Department is investigating several of its own officers after a video surfaced showing one of them apparently munching on marijuana edibles during a dispensary raid.

A KTLA segment featured video taken from inside the dispensary of an officer reading an apparent edible's label before taking a bite of it and giving a thumbs up to fellow officers. Officers smashed the business' doors with a battering ram on May 26 and tried to dismantle the dispensary's surveillance system. Remaining video shows them playing darts and, according to an attorney, threatening and intimidating the dispensary manager, who uses a wheelchair.

A department spokesperson told the LA Times that "it's not uncommon for officers to eat their own snacks while they are at the scene of a lengthy investigation," and added they will be tested for drugs.


The pot headline of the week comes from Alaska's JuneaEmpire.com:

As police make big marijuana bust, alleged farmer escapes in skiff, swearing.

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