Let me just say right off the bat that my original source for this post is an old episode of The X-Files. And before you point out the irony of that following directly on the heels of my political admonition to "consider the source" in my last post, let me say I am already well aware of it. But when I saw the episode, I couldn't help but think about the implications for Humboldt County and its subterranean economic enterprise.
A group of Mulder's wacky conspiracy-theorist/genius friends tore a $20 bill down the side to reveal a little strip embedded in it. The TV show implied it was a government tracking advice, so that Uncle Sam would always know how much cash we have on us. Creepy, icky, nosy old government.
The implication on the show was that the strip is more than a counterfeit prevention device; rather, the implication was it's a radio-frequency implant similar to the one my old buddy John is sure has been implanted in his head.
Picture your friendly neighborhood pot grower like this lady, speeding down the highway with a cool $70K in cash in the trunk. Officer CHP on the roadside has more than a radar speed detector in his cruiser; he has another kind of gun aimed at passing motorists, showing on its screen how much each car is carrying. I, for example, was carrying a cool $17 on my way home from school today. I'm thinking this could put a hitch in our economy around here.
But is it true? Rumor debunking website Snopes.com says no. "As for the suspect strip, it is made of polyester and is inscribed with the denomination of the bill." A micro-optic strip is scheduled to go into $100s later this year, but I still don't read anything about radio frequencies.
It didn't take any fancy sci-fi devices to catch the Redway woman I mentioned above. She was speeding and the CHP pulled her over for it. I have to say if I was carrying stacks of bills and pounds of weed in my car -- basically carrying around the possibility of imprisonment and ruination -- I think I would drive like a blue-haired grandma until I reached my destination.
Then again, maybe she was a grandma.