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Monday Meanderings

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I do not make this stuff up, people. “Hormel is positioning Spam in China” to sell as “a cult brand…a premium product.”

Hmm. The perfect pairing, I would think, is Lafite, mixed with Coca Cola.

* * *
My home town of Oaksterdam had our wonderful annual Urban Wine Experience on Saturday down at Jack London Square, on the Estuary. It was the best one yet, with 21 wineries participating, and practically as many restaurants. All that for $40. I’m happy when Oakland has something good to talk about, instead of all the crap the media always jumps on.

* * *

Isn’t it time California flat-out legalized marijuana?

We’ve already legalized it for medical reasons. Now, since so many people smoke it anyway, and it’s not particularly a health risk, let’s just go ahead and decriminalize it. Our jails are bursting at the seams, last May the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the state to decrease the inmate population, and the most obvious way to to that is to stop busting people for possessing pot. This new measure trying to get onto the ballot would not only legalize pot, it would tax it, which sure would help with California’s budget deficit. I can’t imagine why anyone in their right mind would object to treating marijuana exactly the same way we treat alcohol.

* * *
I had mixed feelings on learning that the Seghesios have sold their family winery. I’ve followed them for a long time. As a matter of fact, Pete, Jr., was a big part of my first book, A Wine Journey along the Russian River, and his cousin, Ted, had a whole chapter in my second book, New Classic Winemakers of California. Great wines, great people, a noble family legacy. In the Press Democrat interview, Pete, Jr. sounds relieved to no longer have the burden of shouldering all that responsibility (he now “just works” there; Crimson Wine Group will run the place). But I have to believe there’s some Kübler-Rossian stages of grief going on. I wish that life was fair, and that a wonderful family winery like Seghesio could just go on an on, always getting stronger, and rewarding the stakeholders. But life isn’t fair. Pete, Jr. hit the nail on the head when he spoke of “brands stuck in the middle [that]…have large challenges.” Seghesio wasn’t big enough to command the attention of distributors, and wasn’t small enough to be a cult little niche player. All they were was a great mid-sized winery putting out some of the best Zinfandels in California. I hope and assume Crimson, which has been assembling quite an impressive little portfolio since its founding about 4 years ago, realizes what a treasure it has in Seghesio, and will invest whatever’s necessary to keep it at the top.

  1. Carlos Toledo says:

    Isn’t it time California flat-out legalized marijuana?
    We’ve already legalized it for medical reasons. Now, since so many people smoke it anyway, and it’s not particularly a health risk.

    Um, no. It is a health risk for those who smoke it and for second hand smokers as well.

    There are way too many studies showing the cannabis sativa when inhaled can and will cause harm. Should it be legalised everywhere? I guess so (not sure that dealers in poor countries would love to see the commerce in the hands of others besides them, though). Can it cause harm? No doubt.

  2. Many of my friends were surprised when I voted against California’s Proposition 19 (legalization of marijuana).
    The proposition was horribly written without a clear taxation structure, and given our state legislature’s habit of “Gut and Amend” I felt that it was more about creating a lucrative tax stream than following the people’s wishes.
    Another problem was that law enforcement has no way of determining the level to which a driver was stoned. There is no Breathalyzer for THC, only an officer’s judgement. Any halfway capable lawyer could shred that in court.
    You’re correct that those who like to smoke do so with little fear of being busted, (I caught a whiff at Willie Mays Plaza/ATT Park Saturday), and it would create a huge amount of tax revenue provided it is a flat state tax and not the individual city/county taxation initially proposed.
    You or I could draw up a workable plan on a winebar napkin. Sadly our state legislature lacks the ability to do even that simple task.

    Funny thing about SPAM. American’s think of it as poor people’s food. Our Swedish exchange student said everyone in Europe eats it and she ate it regularly when I remembered to buy it. Given my experience with Swedish cuisine I can see why.

  3. It is a regretful thing that Seghesio sold. I was with a company that was the first to bring their wine into this State. The Zin was awesome. Had a chevron with ZINFANDEL down the front label.

    In the past they had offered several wines, including chardonnay.

    Then they changed and specialized in just their awesome reds. Along with that were the price increases. (I am not complaining just stating)

    It sure would be nice to be able to go to the local big box hardware store and buy genuine HEMP rope. Hemp fiber was also used in paper. Hemp seeds are supremely nutricious. The cloth made from hemp fiber is strong too. Yes it is too bad that private industries used the power of government to eliminate a competitor.

  4. “Isn’t it time California flat-out legalized marijuana?”

    Yup, and while you’re at it, why not also legalize gambling and prostitution? Same risk, logic and lucrative tax stream applies.

  5. Ray Krause, gambling is already legal in many instances (horse racing, casinos, bingo), and revenues from taxing gamblers keep many cities afloat. As for prostitution, why not legalize it too? It’s the world’s oldest profession. Humankind has proven it wants prostitution, and no amount of policing is going to prevent it. So let’s legalize it, run it properly with health checks and licensing, and tax it like we tax other goods and services. We need money from wherever we can get it!

  6. Funny how people that openly advocate the consumption of alcohol can be so narrow minded when it comes to MJ. I’ll leave it there.

  7. As an individual adult, I would support the legalization of marijuana, but as a parent, I’ve seen the destructive side of it in my teenagers in their academics, general lack of motivation, and pretty serious mood swings. Yeah, I’ve heard it all: It’s all on the parents to ensure their kids don’t do it. Bullshit.

    MJ is incredibly accessible to kids, and parents have to deal with the consequences of them using it. It’s easy for those who don’t have kids to simply say just legalize it. I’m willing to bet that none of them have had to deal with the effects it has on kids and the strained atmosphere it creates while we try to deal with our kids who’ve used and abused it. So I’m personally thankful that there’s a legal barrier that can help me as a parent act as a deterrent.

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