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New Age 

Get in synch, Sonoma County

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Tokey was reading a Press Democrat editorial last week with great interest—the eye-opening one in the Aug. 17 paper where the PD clearly fired up the Great Bong of Justice as it contemplated the notion that Santa Rosa could—should?—position itself as the "New Age Amsterdam" of the region as the state moves toward legalized-weed status later this year via Proposition 64.

Amsterdam, eh? Sounds good to McPuffups. The PD did not quite endorse the idea, but clearly had a contact high in considering the dank Dutch city's long and beloved status as a cannabis-friendly outpost—a big tourist draw over the years for its boutique-bud cafes.

A week later, on Aug. 24, the Press Democrat (can Tokey call you the Pot Democrat in future columns?) was at it again, as Santa Rosa city officials called for local pot growers to come out of the shadows to take full advantage of new opportunities under the state's current medical-cannabis law, and to look ahead to a possible, if not likely, future of legalized weed. The local paper of record blew out a big and really interesting news feature on that call, which has been spearheaded by Councilwoman Julie Coombs, and the story came complete with pictures and everything.

And yet it seems to McPuffups that while Santa Rosa's political class recognizes the inevitable greening of the grass, and the PD offers thoughtful if noncommittal analysis, Sonoma County is itself engaged in a weird and counterproductive game of whack-a-grow. When city officials say "Bring it," the county tends to respond with "You're busted."

McMuffups can't help but notice that every time a public contemplation of the inevitably positive financial effects of legalization in Santa Rosa takes place (and those contemplations are growing in scale and degrees of enthusiasm), then—boom!—the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office is ready to embark on yet another wild-ass, guns-drawn, plant-killing, citizen-handcuffing tirade of law enforcement overkill, under the continuing but diminishing pretext of an outright federal ban on cannabis.

The latest local victim was Jonathan Elfand and the Sonoma County Collective. The same day the PD offered its Amsterdam musings, Elfand wrote the Bohemian to say, "We had a raid on our collective farm by the Sonoma sheriff. They had seen us cultivating by air for many years as stated by them. They were alerted to our registered nonprofit and recommendations but proceeded to keep me handcuffed for hours and then chop[ped] down all our plants."

As Tokey sees it, one hand doesn't know what the other is doing in Sonoma County. It's time for the sheriff's office to read the the writing on the wall and end its pointless and costly raids and become part of the solution.

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