Letters + Opinion » The Week in Weed

The Naked Truth


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This week's Republican National Convention was marked by the appearance of 100 naked women holding mirrors, a photography project by Spencer Tunick. Tunick has positioned the naked bodies of people in 70 different photoshoots across the world. In a statement prior to the RNC, Tunick said, "By holding mirrors, we hope to suggest that women are a reflection and embodiment of nature, the sun, the sky and the land."

I mention Tunick's project not just to explain to the Journal's beleaguered I.T. team what the heck is going on with my browser history (for those not afraid of rippling, dimpled white flesh and ungroomed pubic thatches, Tunick's photos are actually pretty amazing) but to juxtapose this political statement against one rolling (sorry) toward Philadelphia next week: a 51-foot joint to be held aloft by cannabis lovers outside the Democratic National Convention.

Did I say joint? Sorry, that's what the rest of the click-baity news sites are calling it. Really, it's a 51-foot balloon that looks like a joint, and it previously appeared in D.C. and New York City. Said inflatable will not be smokable, although protestors are also staging a "flash toke" at 4:20 p.m. on July 25. While the toke-in is being called "Smell the Freedom," a previous protest at the White House involved the mass consumption of edibles rather than smoking, to protect attendees from arrest. Sounds sleepy. A top priority for protestors is the de-criminalization of marijuana and its removal from the Federal Controlled Substances Act. The presumptive nominees of both parties have voiced approval of states' rights to decriminalize marijuana.

Did I say marijuana? Sorry – that's just what the rest of the country is calling it. Meanwhile, on the left coast, Gov. Jerry Brown has approved Senate Bill 837, which codifies a number of regulations around Medical Cannabis. S.B. 837, introduced in January, underwent a cosmetic overhaul in the Assembly, where all references to "Medical Marijuana" were changed to "Medical Cannabis." Cannabis, you might recall from previous columns, is the preferred alternative of some activists who dislike the allegedly racist baggage of "marijuana" or "marihuana." Said change was accomplished – to the best of our knowledge – without naked buttocks and/or inflatable props.

Meanwhile, in our corner of the world, the county is preparing to launch a pilot program that will help "track and trace" Humboldt County herb through the supply chain. The software for the tracking program is being provided for free by SICPA Product Security, LLC. It allows cultivators to stamp their products with scannable QR codes. Consumers can download a smartphone app allowing them to confirm that their weed was, indeed, grown in Humboldt, and which growing practices were used.

From a branding perspective, it's kind of a brilliant move. If canny cannabis connoisseurs in Silicon Valley are truly enamored enough with our "artisanal brand," as the county's website puts it, that they'll want to pull out their smart phones and show off their ethical-sourcing bonafides to their dates, this could be a huge success. But from a public policy perspective, with those on the front lines of reining in the Green Rush admitting that there's a horse-cart, chicken-egg effect between legalization-taxation and taxation-enforcement, how much marijuana will actually meet the track and trace program's standards for real compliance with local and state regulations is questionable. To torture a metaphor, just like RNC attendees recoiling from Tunick's muses, the track and trace program also has a "back end" problem.


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