Congressman Doug LaMalfa has posted a video of himself bulldozing illegal marijuana grows in Siskiyou County and using phrasing such as “criminal drug rings.”
The First District congressman posted his latest video on July 20 – in spite of the fact that tension between Hmong communities and Siskiyou County officials related to cannabis farming had become a statewide – or perhaps even national — flashpoint. Several earlier videos discuss serious issues like environmental damage and sewage disposal, but the bulldozing video has the markings of a political stunt. For example, LaMalfa quotes from the film “Apocalypse Now,” quipping, “I love the smell of diesel power in the afternoon. It smells like victory.”
In a Sacramento Bee story, reporter Ryan Sabalow quotes an attorney for the Hmong growers who says LaMalfa’s message is likely to “inflame the tensions.”
Ethnic Media Services reports that Asian Americans of Hmong, Cambodian, Lao and Chinese descent have settled in growing numbers in Siskiyou County to grow small cannabis plots “much as their families cultivated in Laos and Cambodia.” But outdoor cultivation is prohibited by Siskiyou County.
At a July 17 rally in Yreka, some protesters objected to Hmong farmers being described as a “cartel,” and attorneys for the farmers have argued that restrictive ordinances are depriving the community of water needed for food crops and household use. — Leslie Layton