Weed. In marketing parlance, it’s a great name for a California municipality to have on the eve of the November 8 vote on Proposition 64, a bill to legalize the recreational use, possession, cultivation, and sale of marijuana.
This in a state that has already legalized medical marijuana and where recreational marijuana possession of up to one ounce is an infraction, similar to a traffic violation, with a $100 fine.
Wonder what Abner Weed would think of it all? He founded the town, and the local lumber mill, back in the late 1800s after discovering that the area’s strong winds were helpful in drying cut wood. By the 1940s the city boasted the world’s largest sawmill.
By the 1980s, however, what had once been a thriving logging and wood products industry was on the wane, to be replaced by a reliance on tourism. With three rivers and a few mountains nearby, Weed is also a mere 10 miles from popular Mount Shasta, a prominent northern California landmark and the second-tallest volcano in the Cascade Range. Fishing, skiing, biking and hiking are popular in the area.
The place was nearly wiped out in 2014 by the fast-moving Boles wildfire, which in a matter of hours spread to 200 acres and damaged or destroyed some 200 structures.
It has a small bit of literary fame from Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. It’s the town from which the mildly retarded Lenny and his friend George fled in Chapter 1.
That portrayal conflicts a bit with its motto: Weed Like to Welcome You.