Andy Fusso

What, exactly, is awareness? Is it the quality of noticing, an ability to discern among lies and delusion, versus truth and knowledge? Is it about understanding all is not just black and white – that seeming opposites can be both true and untrue at the same time?

Could we please notice for a minute, the backstory behind monied anti-cannabis interests seeking to divide our town?

We can and must name and see what is happening: a smokescreen, from people wanting to:

  • destroy our mountain environment,
  • bankrupt the county for massive, misdirected law enforcement costs (including the third try for a new jail), and
  • intimidate our courageous elected officials, while seeking to impose a minority’s religious belief on all of us.

I’m neither an advocate nor a detractor of cannabis. The truth is that it has both positive and negative aspects. And I support everyone searching for their own truth and knowledge.

My passion is to preserve and protect our mountain and its incredible value as a place of spiritual inspiration. I’m also passionate on social justice. I don’t speak anonymously, I’ll own my words.

This isn’t really about moving a zoning line the length of two RVs. It’s about our values.

Environmental Values – Trespass grows have caused huge damage to our surrounding watershed and forests, and interfered with people’s ability to enjoy the outdoors. No one wants trespass grows. Stopping them is a big reason why Prop 64 passed. Strangely, the county won’t allow its best agricultural land to be used for this agricultural purpose, and that affects the cities.

The Yreka Tea Party, State of Jefferson, the sheriff and Republican party groups coming down to fight cannabis are no friends to the environment. Last year, the Republican women’s group in Yreka actually hosted domestic terrorist Ammon Bundy as a speaker! Their issues include keeping the algae-filled Klamath Dams and preventing jobs their renewal will create, and bringing back unlimited timber, mining and water bottling resource extraction activity. The latest idea is to remove restrictions on factory hog farming. Is everyone here ok with that?

Many of us have a knee-jerk reaction when we see logging trucks carrying big trees or find fresh cuts in the forest. Yet it’s also true we all utilize timber products, and that we must sensibly manage forests so they don’t become overgrown fire dangers. We can take intelligent environmental approaches – fighting both unregulated logging and unregulated cannabis in our landscapes. My request is simple: understand this, and please do not align yourselves with those forces actively seeking to destroy the environment we love!

Follow The Money – Twice in 2016, county voters defeated sales taxes proposed to triple the size of the county jail. Now the sheriff wants to drain county reserves for a smaller one instead. Yet they still don’t have answers about staffing, operations, or what to do about the old jail and the land they bought for expansion – and they’re sending juveniles to Tehama County.

Choosing the easy fight against cannabis businesses, rather than going after domestic violence and theft, is about empire building, not keeping us safe. Meanwhile, we “can’t afford” fiber optic, and there still is no residential drug treatment facility in the county.

Law enforcement on the ground has a tough job and officers deserve our respect. Yet we need a criminal justice system – we cannot only arrest and jail our way out of our problems. That might feel good to some, but it just doesn’t work. Unjust, mass incarceration solves nothing.

We should build an adequate jail – but if the county and our citizens refuse to consider the overall economic, family, social justice, educational and treatment aspects of intervening and re-integrating offenders and the mentally ill within our community, we will just throw away our tax dollars, to no effect. Like so much, this is about the money.

Courage and Intolerance – Let’s notice the inspirational courage of the three city council members who refused to be intimidated by the well-funded mob. Let’s notice that freedom of (and from) authoritarian theocracy was a founding principle of American democracy. Let’s also notice and honor how incredibly fortunate all of us here are, to be able to wake up and view our mountain, and live in a community where people holding many different expressions of spirituality have co-existed for many years.

If one group thinks no one would ever choose to follow its beliefs without the force of government coercion, what does that say about those beliefs? Are they truly spiritual, or something else entirely? Is using a religious song to begin comment in a secular meeting an expression of piety, or instead a sacrilegious tool of intimidation? What do we really believe?

We should notice the anti-cannabis forces refuse to identify where the tens of thousands of dollars they’re spending on this came from. That tells us something. And the misinformation is astounding, whether based on cheesy Netflix offerings or made up out of thin air (er, no, cannabis farmers are not buying up land near Castle Lake…geez).

Whether cannabis is good or bad is beside the point. Losing their battle with today’s majorities, those who care nothing for our mountain still seek to build empires and coerce the rest of us. It is time for us all to just say no to that. It is time to support the city council’s wise decisions, unite and move forward.