Local Planned Parenthood employees got a bit of a scare recently, when a suspicious package prompted a call to the bomb squad and an evacuation of the Cutten clinic.
A little before noon on March 16, the U.S. Postal Service dropped a 2-foot by 2-foot package at the Planned Parenthood Northern California office. The package had been sent to an undeliverable address in Georgia and bore a return address — the Planned Parenthood clinic on Timber Falls Court — and a a name: J. Black.
Employees became alarmed and contacted the sheriff's office, which, after a deputy inspected the box, called the county's bomb squad to the scene, according to a press release. The package was returned amid the ongoing 40 Days for Life campaign, which has brought abortion protesters to the Cutten clinic in recent weeks.
From the scene, the Lost Coast Outpost snapped a picture of the sheriff's remote-driven bomb robot apparently handling the package in the parking lot of the clinic.
At the end of the day, Lt. Wayne Hanson sent a brief conclusion:
"[The robot] opened the packaged and it contained about 4 pounds of marijuana ... Was not an explosive device."
Phew, right? Well, for everyone except the original sender, who thought it was clever to put Planned Parenthood's clinic as the return address. The postal service, struggling in the era of digital communications, stands by its lofty creed: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."
But if you're sending valuables, it's best to double check your recipient's address and, for goodness' sake, print neatly.
A recent report shows that marijuana use around the nation is most prevalent among people who've never attended college. That result comes as a surprise to some, because of the college-educated hipster-stoner stereotype, a Vox columnist suggests. As German Lopez points out, people studying and writing about marijuana issues — reporters, politicians, professors — tend to be college-educated, and tend to conflate their own experiences with those of society at large. That could be furthered by the misguided belief, I would suspect, that people's first pot experience comes in the experimental college years.
But according to survey data analyzed by Carnegie Mellon University Professor Jonathan Caulkins, only one-sixth of today's marijuana market is comprised of college graduates. The largest segment of smokers — hovering around 50 percent of the market for the last decade — is people with no college education. Around one-quarter of smokers reported having attended some college. Teenagers seem to be the only group with steadily declining use between 2002 and 2013, from 13 percent to 6 percent of the marijuana market share.
As Lopez suggests, the data presents an argument for decriminalization, as current marijuana laws disproportionately target poor and minority communities — who are also pot's biggest users. But it also presents an argument against commercialization that could lead to targeted community marketing (think more liquor stores in poor neighborhoods), increasing marijuana-related addiction, intoxication and health issues, which are thought to make it more difficult for people to rise out of impoverished situations.
One solution that policy analysts are suggesting is a state-run marijuana dispensary system. That, and the survey results, poke a bit of a hole in the much-touted Northern California paradise of boutique buds slung out of upscale markets to scenesters from Humboldt to Silver Lake. Those customers certainly exist, but, as Caulkins puts it, "Most of the marijuana market is more Wal-Mart than Whole Foods."
A marijuana activist who successfully fought for decriminalization in Washington, D.C. recently got a thank you, of sorts, from the city's mayor. In a letter to pot advocate Adam Eidinger, the mayor of the nation's capital approved a specialized license plate that reads, yep, "420."