Sex abuse in the marijuana industry
October 8, 2017 7:01 AM   Subscribe

 
Ron Prose, an investigator for the Eureka Police Department, said sex traffickers know law enforcement agencies have little interest in cracking down on them.

Abuse of women is de facto decriminalized.

You almost wonder why there aren't vigilante groups.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:43 AM on October 8, 2017 [19 favorites]


That was a great piece of journalism, and chilling.
posted by mecran01 at 7:52 AM on October 8, 2017 [3 favorites]


That's depressing. The first time I visited Oregon I met a woman who said she worked for a few seasons trimming but quit because it was too dangerous. I assumed she was referring to law enforcement, but now I see how dumb that assumption was.
posted by peeedro at 8:22 AM on October 8, 2017 [7 favorites]


At this point, finding out that there isn't normalized, systematic, swept-under-the-rug harassment/abuse in any industry would be welcome news.
posted by the sobsister at 8:44 AM on October 8, 2017 [45 favorites]


A good article, though almost a year old. I’d like to see a more recent article that investigates what is being done now, and what pressure can be brought to bear on government to address the issues now that things are legalized.
posted by herda05 at 11:02 AM on October 8, 2017 [2 favorites]


Considering department of defense medical marijuana studies have shown upwards of a 70–80% reduction in incidents of suicide and domestic violence among combat vets with PTSD, I hope the newly emerging white market industry can reign in these kinds of exploitative and abusive practices. Unfortunately if the history of Prime Mushrooms and other major agricultural producers are any indication, the regulatory situation might not be all that much improved without more grassroots pressure and public vigilance.

It would be a shame though if one of the most promising medical treatments for a condition that so often disproportionally impacts women (combat PTSD related violence and other family health impacts) ended up doing just as much harm as good to women and other vulnerable people under cover of secrecy.

Really, the results of the military’s studies into medical marijuana therapy for combat PTSD haven’t gotten nearly the press they should have. I’ve had treatment for anxiety disorder related to my abandonment PTSD using more conventional medicines like anti-seizure meds approved for off-label use for anxiety and depression, and in that world, even showing a clinical efficacy in harm reduction by 10 to 12% seems to be considered a major treatment breakthrough. No drugs currently legal for anxiety and depression have ever shown anywhere even remotely close to an almost 80% reduction in suicide rates and domestic violence incidents among populations managing combat PTSD, arguably the most potent and potentially dangerous form of PTSD. So I’d hate to see it transformed by capitalism and the impulse to exploit workers and sexism into yet another potentially beneficial and prosocial product that through a lack of adequate worker safety and poor industrial regulation ends up damaging more lives than it improves.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:38 AM on October 8, 2017 [7 favorites]


I’ve had treatment for anxiety disorder related to my abandonment PTSD using more conventional medicines like anti-seizure meds approved for off-label use for anxiety and depression, and in that world, even showing a clinical efficacy in harm reduction by 10 to 12% seems to be considered a major treatment breakthrough.


I'd love to hear about any details if you're up for sharing. I've been trying to find anecdotal evidence or data. I have a medical license, because my brain is playground for hostile monkeys with short attention spans who run around with scissors in their hands, but it's a really hard thing to find hard evidence because the government as a whole isn't really into it and the people who are into it tend to be...really into it. So it's hard to find good data, and it's hard to find reliable anecdotes about dosages, strains, delivery mechanisms, or how other people titrate.

Like, if I take one of the capsule forms, I don't think it hits for two hours.

In my experience, anyway.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:43 PM on October 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


> department of defense medical marijuana studies have shown upwards of a 70–80% reduction in incidents of suicide and domestic violence among combat vets with PTSD

Alternatively...
"...controlled studies have not been conducted to evaluate the safety or effectiveness of medical marijuana for PTSD. Thus, there is no evidence at this time that marijuana is an effective treatment for PTSD."

Which is correct? A link to the study mentioned above would be most helpful.
posted by lovelyzoo at 1:37 PM on October 8, 2017 [3 favorites]


Ugh. I know some of the people in that Petrolia story a very little bit. They are fooling themselves if they think that the community can hug it all better. There is a reason young women through time and space have left villages for the big city and you people are that reason. I hope some of you read this. In some ways The Mattole is like a fucking cult with all the regular cult problems.

As far as legalizing pot and these people all going straight: no. 1- a huge percentage of this weed is exported from CA to places it's not legal and no 2. LOT of the growers are heavily into meth and other side ventures. Not in Petrolia and vestige hippy towns so much I don't think but Garberville is Meth Town USA. It's the easiest and most profitable way to invest illegal funds available to these people. And even if JP Morgan Chase set up an office there staffed with investment bankers who took cash, there are numerous families there where no one has held a straight job in four generations and half of them don't have a legal ID or SSN or definitely don't have legit SSNs. It's not like they're all going to go straight overnight.

There is a movie called Humboldt County which was pretty obviously based on Petrolia and maybe even some of the people in this story. I remember watching it with a friend from Arcata and we were like "oh hey, a documentary".
posted by fshgrl at 9:12 PM on October 8, 2017 [8 favorites]


Wow. You mean pot growers aren't actually something out of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers? Surprise surprise.

Y'know, pot growers really need to work on their PR. If this was a story about the tech or gaming industry, we'd have a dozen people in here to question this account.
posted by happyroach at 10:15 PM on October 8, 2017 [4 favorites]


Well, I have met elderly hippies who grow biodynamic pot using recycled vegetable oil for their generators, only sell locally to adults they know don't have substance abuse problems and use the money to supplement their SS and Medicaid. Four of them. So they do exist :)
posted by fshgrl at 11:03 PM on October 8, 2017 [2 favorites]


Y'know, pot growers really need to work on their PR. If this was a story about the tech or gaming industry, we'd have a dozen people in here to question this account.
posted by happyroach at 1:15 AM on October 9 [+] [!]


The inverse of eponysterical, or something?
posted by Fuzzypumper at 11:07 PM on October 8, 2017 [3 favorites]


Seems like a lot of this is due to the piecemeal way that legalization has proceeded, particularly in California. The industry has gotten huge, but at the same time it doesn't behave like a legitimate industry. It's still probably better than the previous status quo, where the police (particularly in urban areas) could arbitrarily ruin people's lives over a few grams of weed... but there seem to be some significant lessons for other states as they go about legalization in the absence of any useful Federal leadership.

The big one seems to be that the entire supply chain needs to be legalized and regulated; simply legalizing possession, but leaving importation, growing, processing, and distribution illegal, is a windfall to criminals and socially corrosive. And not providing access to financial markets and services probably pushes profits from the industry into other criminal activities rather than legitimate ones. Possession legalization solves one very specific problem, and it's better than the Nancy Reagan just-say-no status quo, but it's intellectually dishonest not to admit that it may likely exacerbate others by pouring money into a system that exists outside the law and without regulation.

Some of the regulatory infrastructure is expensive, but the upside is that -- since there's so much pent-up demand, particularly for a legal product -- the industry can likely self-fund it (just as alcohol excise taxes finance most states' alcohol regulatory infrastructure). If the first year of tax revenue from legal recreational sales were pumped into bootstrapping the regulatory framework itself, including re-tasking law enforcement from a 'drug war' focus to a regulatory-enforcement one, you could probably get the industry down to a "background radiation" level of abuse and corruption (which is not to say zero, but to the same as another comparable industry) pretty quickly. It amounts to basically having the legitimate players pay to have the illegitimate ones stamped out by the State, which is typically a pretty good deal for the legitimate ones in the long run.

It's particularly ironic that in giving municipalities the option to opt-out of legalization frameworks, presumably to appease NIMBY Reaganite leftovers, it's basically given a multibillion dollar industry an "no thanks, I don't wanna" option to just not participate in regulation if it's inconvenient.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:27 PM on October 8, 2017 [2 favorites]


Yep. The environmental impact of those farms is tremendous too. All the water, they don't have rights to it typically.
posted by fshgrl at 1:34 AM on October 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


Wow. You mean pot growers aren't actually something out of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers? Surprise surprise.

wow you mean driving markets underground instead of openly regulating them has negative impacts on the societal and personal levels and all sorts of other unintended impacts? how could we have known? it not like we tried previously tried prohibiting a substance as a nation before we realized it failed horribly.

legalization stops this.

it's terribly sad that we have ruined countless lives over close to a hundred years all because of a racist sociopath decided a plant was bad back in the 30s. these poor women are more casualties on an ever-growing list.
posted by entropicamericana at 6:43 AM on October 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


I really don't buy the connection of pot being illegal to the abuse of women in Southern Humboldt. It is one beautiful but creepy place if you are not a member of the right family. I was surprised that he got 23 years considering who he is related to. But obviously his arrogance and possibly the arrogance of his family did him in. There are more like him out there but as a result of his sentence I don't see anyone coming forward soon.

Another case coming up is the Marci Kitchens case in Fortuna. I will be shocked if she spends a day in jail even though she killed two 14 year old girls, one her own daughter. Wealthy pot growers can be just like other super rich people. They think they are the exception to the rules that everyone else has to follow. One fucked up place.
posted by cairnoflore at 9:49 AM on October 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


The connection is that the money and general lawlessness is what let's these families act like this. Local law abiding citizens do not like the trimmers or the crime or homelessness associated with the grow ops so they are disinclined to help women. There is an air of what do you expect? when someone who knowingly works for a criminal is harmed by them.
posted by fshgrl at 12:35 PM on October 9, 2017


By "general lawlessness", I would include that local law enforcement just doesn't take violence against women seriously and doesn't do their job.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 2:00 PM on October 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


There is a lot of bribe money associated with grow ops. Like, huge money.
posted by fshgrl at 9:04 PM on October 9, 2017


These days it doesn't even have to be a bribe; cops can just take the money and call it asset seizure.

What LEO would want to take down an operation that could be generating $1000s of extra, legal income a month for them? It would be like shooting your own milk cow for target practice.

And if the growers happen to commit crimes against ordinary citizens, well, crimes can be awfully hard to solve, you know?
posted by jamjam at 10:13 PM on October 9, 2017


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