“[I] don't like putting people on trial for their beliefs, as long as they're nonviolent,” Justin responded when asked why he wasn't pursuing prosecution of the petty misdemeanor charges.
In other news, the House Judiciary Committee yesterday approved a bill decriminalizing adult possession of small amounts of cannabis. Senate Bill 472 has already passed through the Senate, where the penalty for possession was raised to $1,000. The House Judiciary committee revised it down to a $100 penalty for 20 grams (an ounce is 28 grams). The measure now moves to the Finance Committee.
Though Justin has not submitted testimony in opposition to any of the cannabis bills, Police Chief Darryl Perry submitted “reefer madness” testimony against SB 472, in which he claimed cannabis was linked to schizophrenia, psychosis, depression and anxiety. He ended with this dramatic line:
The negative personal and social costs would be long-lasting, and the family nit as we know it today would be a thing of the past; memories viewed only through home-made videos.
It's so bizarre how law enforcement officials and state legislators are totally freaked out about cannabis, yet ho-hum about GMO crops and their associated poisons.
Speaking of which, the World Wildlife Fund and Mexican government have issued the results of a survey that shows a 59 percent decline in migrating butterflies. The primary cause is an "explosive increase" in the use of glyphosate (Roundup) on crops genetically engineered to withstand direct applications of the herbicide, which kills milkweed, the monarchs' essential food. As the Los Angeles Times reports:
In key U.S. states where the butterfly feeds and breeds — Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, parts of Ohio and the eastern Dakotas — farmers have planted more than 120 million acres of corn and soybeans genetically modified to resist the herbicide, [Chip Taylor, director of the research group Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas] said.
Taylor said the decrease in the monarch population is more than a philosophical or aesthetic conundrum. The loss of pollinating creatures like butterflies and bees — whose populations are also collapsing because of habitat loss — can result in a loss of plant diversity across the continent, he said.
"The fruits, nuts, seeds and foliage that everything else feeds on," he said. "If we pull the monarchs out of the system, we're really pulling the rug out from under a whole lot of other species."
Hello! Wake up, people! These crops and their associated pesticides are not benign.
On a brighter note, HB 154 yesterday passed one of its two Senate committees. The measure, which Rep. Derek Kawakami co-sponsored, authorizes a two-year pilot program to test hemp's efficacy in soil remediation, as in removing the chemicals deposited by more than a century of industrial agriculture in the islands. It will also test its viability as a biofuel feed stock.
And finally, remember to vote for the KIUC board of directors. Voting ends March 25. I cast one of my three votes for Jonathan Jay, an intelligent, creative guy who promises to be a breath of fresh air on the board. One thing I really like about Jonathan, besides his wicked sense of humor, is his emphasis on reducing demand rather than figuring out new ways to constantly increase the supply.
Because non of the so-called renewable energy sources are truly green — they all have impacts. That's also true of biomass projects, especially when the feedstock is trees that are trucked for miles and chipped, a process that requires a helluva lot of fossil fuel.