Dear Jim and Hugh,
I agree with the statements about private security. However, having too much visible security implies you have something worth protecting inside, and with the glut of marijuana production getting legalized in many states, the price of that drug has dropped, meaning the growers who were used to a certain income are now scrambling and desperate. There have been many reported incidents of home invasions in pot growing areas, with violent outcomes, and it is likely there are many that weren’t reported because the invaders were all killed and buried.
Falling crop values and potential full legalization means these growers, used to keeping secrets and using violence in exchange for a high value crop that pays their bills, will turn to growing opium to regain that money. Just as growers did in Kashmir after the road over the Khyber Pass ruined the price of the Hashish, they made and exported via pack mule. They turned to opium, and the locals will too. Local opium warning signs will start with arrests for heroin overdose at your local emergency room. That’s the tip off. So watch for that in the local newspaper.
We’re already getting arrests and cases of burns and fires from locals making hashish oil in the Sierras, both in Truckee and in Nevada City and Grass Valley. The local pot growers are adapting for money reasons.
Legalization of marijuana will keep them out of jail, but it destroys the price and bankrupts them instead. Expect this harsher adaptation to happen in rural places all over the West and in the East, too. Opium is going to become a huge problem as rural jobs continue to evaporate and desperate people do desperate things.
Also keep in mind that the primary financial backers of the Jefferson State political movement are pot growers aiming for full and open legalization in Jefferson, complete with legal protection and limited licensing to prevent competition. They would be interested in extra favorable protections in the new government to prevent arrest by the Feds, who have officially endorsed variable enforcement of the Law, which is a particularly vile form of corruption.
While there’s going to be a lot of work for private security for rural homeowners, it is also going to attract attention from the sorts of drug related home invaders looking for quick cash or to wipe out local competition or steal product. So be careful with your OPSEC, and come up with a way to inform both the authorities and the black market drug growers that you’re not in their business and not worth hassling. If they know you have serious security because you’re paranoid rather than a competitor, even if you’re merely being adequately prepared for eventual security conditions that justify them, this is better than having a home invasion by druggies seeking your “stash” and willing to kill everyone in the house to get it.
A lot of the homesteaders in North San Juan would be wise to form a proper town and get public utilities and legal protections they just don’t have right now. They need a voice, legally, in this matter to prevent the likely rise of violence that would come with adoption of opium to replace marijuana as the local cash crop. I imagine other communities quietly surviving on drug money (Humboldt and Mendocino Counties), because those are the only jobs, should be thinking similarly. Best, InyoKern