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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chronic City: Here's Progress -- S.F. Firefighters Rescue Marijuana Grow-Op

Posted By on Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 9:30 AM

click to enlarge Save the medical Marijuana, fire teddy!
  • Save the medical Marijuana, fire teddy!

Sometimes the biggest signs of epochal change in society are those that are casually mentioned, five paragraphs down in a story. Such was the case with Sunday's four-alarm warehouse fire in Bayview, where fire crews remained yesterday monitoring for flare-ups.

"Marijuana was found growing in one of the buildings," CBS5 reported, "but police Sergeant Wilfred Williams said this morning that the narcotics unit investigation found that the Marijuana is being grown legally, 'for medicinal purposes'."

Now, of course, that's a completely normal sentiment to youthful San Franciscans. But for a child of the 1960s, it is nonetheless a big, happy deal. Youngsters, I lived in a time when such an incident could not have ended happily for the growers, who would have likely faced a prison term.

Sadly, that's still the case back in the heartland. In May, fire crews in Bloomfield, Iowa,

found 1,200 Marijuana plants growing in a Davis County home after

someone reported a blaze. The plants were found in pots in the attic;

authorities got a search warrant, seized the weed, and arrested the

couple who owned the home -- as well as an unfortunate tenant living on

their property in a mobile home, for good measure.

Even in supposedly cultured places like Brooklyn (incredibly, New York still has no medical Marijuana law), the same sad story plays out. A fireman responding to a Bushwick warehouse blaze

last year spotted a pot-growing operation next door and called the

cops. Eighty to 100 plants were hauled out in trash bags; the growers

got away.



all know our city purports to be on the cutting edge. Has Marijuana enlightenment

come to the rest of California? Not all of it, of course, as the

dispensary bans and growers busts continue apace in less enlightened

sectors of the state.

But the change is

coming, or rather has already come, in the form of 1996's Proposition

215 (legalizing medical Marijuana with a doctor's recommendation) and

2005's SB 420 (with the legislature amplifying and clarifying the

original voter initiative, including clearing the way for continued

existence of storefront dispensaries).


some counties and municipalities recalcitrant when it comes to medical

Marijuana, forcing themselves to be dragged, kicking and screaming,

into the 21st Century? Yes, of course. That's what happens when 72

years of propaganda has a head-on collision with the facts. But what

you're truly seeing in places like San Diego and Sacramento are the

death throes of the old guard.

As much as I

hate to say it, some of my drug policy reform friends and associates

are bloody defeatists, forever moaning how The System is so totally

corrupt, top to bottom, that real change when it comes to drug

enforcement is forever elusive and just beyond our grasp, at least

without some cataclysmic paradigm shift.

To these people, I say: The paradigm has already shifted. Shift with it, surf on it, and let's share a smile.

In the fair City by the Bay, heroic firefighters are saving Marijuana plants.

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Steve Elliott


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