Plus letters to the editor
Glorious weather does wonders for the mood, so chances are most of us have been been enjoying what Mother Nature has sent our way recently. And if not, maybe it’s time to get out and have some fun. I did that last weekend when I attended the Third Annual Day of Wine And Wet Noses soiree at Skov Winery in Scotts Valley. Kudos to winery owners Annette and David Hunt for hosting what turned out to be a festive (and sunny) day, one that also raised more than $3,000 for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter and Unconditional Love Animal Rescue of San Jose. On that note, I’d like to thank the owners of the three Great Pyrenees dogs I romped with—and the parent of the Bernese Mountain Dog I wanted to take home with me. Live music was on hand, too—thanks to you, Ginger, for the dance during the set featuring Red Beans and Rice.
Another big event this coming week falls on Monday, May 14, when the county hosts the Stage 2 finish of the Amgen Tour of California. The race skipped Santa Cruz last year—although we were hosts in 2009 and 2010. This year the riders venture through Soquel Village and into Aptos for a powerful finish at the Cabrillo College campus. Dive into this week’s insert for all of the details.
In the meantime, in Downtown Santa Cruz, the big buzz is the 11th annual Santa Cruz Film Festival, which comes to life May 10. The fest runs through May 19 at various venues. In A&E (page 22), take note of all the local filmmakers whose works are featured in the festival. And, in this week’s cover story (page 14), learn more about first-time producer-writer-director Famke Janssen’s outing, Bringing Up Bobby, which screens several times during the fest’s run. Janssen shares the genesis of the film with GT. Plus: A look at the captivating documentary made by locals Kathy Bisbee and Emery Hudson, Don’t Cost Nothin To Dream, which chronicles how youths in places such as Cuba and Guatemala have been using music and singing to bring about change. Powerful.
Just as uplifting: this week’s Queer Youth Leadership Awards, which celebrates its 15th year. Congratulations to its creators and supporters. (Learn more on page 6.)
There’s more. (There’s always more.) Have a good week. See you out and about …
Enjoy the issue.
Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief
Letters to the editor
La Bahia Boondoogle
With your huge advertising issue on “Best of everything in the world,” Good Times is once again piling on Mark Stone in an effort to promote business in Santa Cruz. Like other moves, such as the “take your dog everyplace and it will increase business” law (has anyone done a survey to see if that boneheaded deregulation worked?), your position does little for the community at large.
Mark Stone should be given a medal for saving the environment rather than pillaged for opposing development. The City Council bent its own rules for a large developer, who refused to follow the rules of the Coastal Commission. The developer could have developed the La Bahia Hotel, but demanded to squeeze more profit from the project by not following environmental rules.
Santa Cruz does not need more Rittenhouse building white elephants, eight-lane freeways, businessmen writers, such as Tom Honig attacking Stone, or other monstrous developments. If developers who throw money at cultural events in Santa Cruz cannot abide by the rules, let them change their ways.
The Highs And Lows of Cannabis
Sympathetic though I am to David Bienenstock’s support for cannabis legalization (GT 5/4), I think his arguments go off the rails in at least two important places. First, he relates anecdotes about pot’s medical efficacy and states that these cases are not “outliers.” Maybe, but how does he know? That would require double-blind clinical trials. He doesn’t say whether and to what extent these studies have been done or with what results.
“Outliers” is a statistical term. Where are the statistics? Second, he states that Big Pharma opposes legalization, because they believe legal pot will reduce use of proprietary pharmaceuticals, thus reducing profits. This seems highly unlikely. Drug companies don’t fear the competition, when they can own it, hence the huge scale of consolidation in the industry in the last 30 years.
The single biggest potential drag on drug profits is probably expired patent protection. Big Pharma has neatly removed this from the equation by persuading Congress to extend patent protection for even longer, more absurd periods. It can take 20 years for some labels to go to generic status. There is nothing stopping them from owning big shares in the generics, anyway. By comparison, competition from a start-up pot industry is almost inconsequential. Also, Big Pharma is uniquely positioned to do research on the multiple potentially medically significant or beneficial alkaloids present in cannabis, of which THC is only the most familiar. Legalized pot would likely be taxed, licensed and regulated in a manner not dissimilar to that of pharmaceutical drugs or at least, of alcohol. Big money (like Big Pharma) would be better able than a small operator to negotiate the numerous regulatory, tax and other burdens from the federal government right down to city planning. This complexity, as well as significant potential profits, of course, favors big money. Why wouldn’t Big Pharma try to get in on the ground floor, by producing and distributing the product themselves? They could do it at a respectable distance by operating partly or wholly owned subsidiaries, etc, if that was needed.
Legal pot will make money for somebody. Most people aren’t going to set up a little grow in the backyard or the bathtub. They’ll buy it elsewhere. During Prohibition, Seagram’s Gin was basically a bootlegger. Now they are one of the largest companies on Earth. Wouldn’t Big Pharma want in on the game?
Best Online Comments
On ‘The Cannabis Couple’ …
Had the pleasure of meeting Elise at the serventh National Patients Out of Time conference. It was wonderful to sit down and speak with a reporter who was intelligent, knowledgeable, and completely puts you at ease, when you are not media savvy. Thank you for making the conference better by your presence.
—Kimberly Haslett, SWAPA
On ‘Homes For The Homeless’ ...
Thank you for covering this new effort. It excites me to see smart efforts that align public financial interest with saving lives. From a policy point of view, it doesn’t get any clearer than that.
Sibley Verbeck Simon