Two remarkably different editorials in the last week. One seems to be “ghost written” by snake oil salesman extraordinaire and CCV spokespreacher Luke Bruner. It appeared in the Times-Standard last Sunday. This editorial utterly fails because it lets our County Supervisors completely off the hook. Hey Times-Standard editorial writer, since when is it the public that’s responsible for writing regulations. Wake up fool! It’s not the public that’s responsible, it’s our eighty thousand plus a year supervisors that have that responsibility.
Virginia, Rex, Ryan, Estelle and Mark have utterly failed to regulate Cannabis grows throughout our county. With mega grows proliferating across our forested lands. Now they want to let the organized mega growers write the rules and give a pass to themselves.
The Mad River Union on the other hand seems to get it and wrote a good editorial on the subject see both below:
Times-Standard: Don’t like the ordinance? Give us another
Now that the proverbial smoke has cleared, and we’ve all had a glimpse of California Cannabis Voice Humboldt’s large scale marijuana ordinance, what’s next?
As we reported earlier this week, the ordinance would regulate medical marijuana grows on parcels more than five acres in size in unincorporated areas and impose a number of requirements on growers: obtain certification from the county Agricultural Commissioner; show proof of lawful sources of water adequate to cultivate the proposed crop size; submit an operation and cultivation plan; agree to annual on-site inspection; pay a $25 licensing fee; obtain a county-issued business license or provisional license unless growing for personal use; and obtain all required state licenses.
Say what you will about CCVH’s efforts, at least they’re getting the ball rolling. And critics of the ordinance have said plenty:
- Some, such as Robert Sutherland, longtime member of the Humboldt/Mendocino Marijuana Advocacy Project, have questioned both the scale and intent of the ordinance (“Outsiders’ greed no guide for our county’s future,” Times-Standard, July 1, Page A4). As Sutherland argues, “Present consensus appears to be that grows should be no larger than 2,500 square feet of canopy area, for all marijuana grown, irrespective of destination or purpose. Ten gallons of water storage per square foot of cultivation should be required. We recognize that some standards rightfully will not fit all situations, and we respect that best practices need to prevail in those situations. No cultivation should occur on any parcel on which the owner is not in full-time residence. Every person should have the right to grow at least a small number of plants for any purpose.”
- As self-described “strange bedfellows” Natalynne DeLapp of the Environmental Protection Information Center and Mike Jani of the Humboldt Redwood Company point out (“Pot on TPZ land an invitation to disaster,” Times-Standard, July 7, Page A4), opening Humboldt County’s Timber Production Zones to legal marijuana cultivation is a dubious proposition. Offering tax breaks to the producers of the most profitable crop in the state to grow on TPZ land would indeed only serve to pump up development, further impact responsible forestry and harm wildlife, some of which is already imperiled.
- Finally, others have taken issue with what the ordinance doesn’t include. “No pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and certain chemical fertilizers should be allowed if we are going to consider our Humboldt brand marijuana any better than tobacco,” writes Uri Driscoll (“Dope growers or cannabis cultivators?”, Times-Standard, July 8, Page A4).
Fair points to consider, one and all.
CCVH may have an ordinance that’s attracting criticism like flies to a feast, but at least they have an ordinance. Critics would do well to note that November 2016 draws closer every day. If they can’t lock themselves in a room with their opponents’ proposal and throw whatever revised ordinance they can cook up at the Board of Supervisors, then the future of Humboldt County’s marijuana industry is going to be shaped by their worst fears — or worse, crafted altogether in Sacramento.
Step up and give Humboldt County voters an alternative — soon.
Mad River Union: Don’t let the cannabis industry write its own rules
California Cannabis Voice Humboldt (CCVH) has written a draft ordinance that would regulate the marijuana industry and has submitted it to the Board of Supervisors. The next step in this process should be for the supervisors to take the draft ordinance and shove it in a “public input” folder along with all the other letters and emails it has received on the topic of marijuana regulation.
Then the board should direct county staff to draft an ordinance, starting from scratch. It’s important that this process gets underway immediately. The conventional wisdom is that marijuana will be legalized in the state by the end of 2016. When this happens, Humboldt should have a clear ordinance in place dictating where and how farmers can grow cannabis.
This ordinance needs to be developed through the people’s democratic process, with full transparency, not by the industry itself.
But you can’t blame California Cannabis Voice Humboldt for trying. After all, what industry wouldn’t want to write its own rules? That’s smart business,
But from a public perspective, it’s ludicrous.
Starting the process with a draft ordinance written by CCVH would be like developing a community plan for McKinleyville starting with a draft written by developers. It’s a stinky way to start.
Instead, start the process fresh. Hold public hearings. Solicit input from everyone. Have county staff mull it over. Draft an ordinance. Let it grind its way through Planning Commission reviews, then come before the Board of Supervisors.
Input is needed from all facets of the community, including environmentalists, farmers, ranchers, educators and, yes, even pot growers. California Cannabis Voice Humboldt’s ordinance can be used as reference. There are lots of good ideas in the draft. It could be a useful tool right up there with other letters and submissions from members of the public and various public agencies.
Another reason to develop an ordinance now, and through the county process, is to guarantee that the new land use rules are subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). As is evident from the thousands of water-sucking, stream-killing, illegally graded grows dotting Humboldt’s landscape, this industry can be an environmental nightmare.
One way to combat an environmentally destructive industry is to make sure that when it becomes legit, it has to go through the CEQA process. This allows for agencies and the public to get involved and to require the industry to be more eco-friendly and mitigate its environmental damage.
But without the county pursuing its own ordinance, there’s a very real possibility that marijuana-growing laws could completely bypass CEQA.
California Cannabis Voice Humboldt could gather enough signatures to get its ordinance placed on the ballot in 2016. If this happens, the Board of Supervisors could either skip the election and pass the ordinance itself, or leave the issue up to the voters. Whether the supervisors or the voters pass the ordinance, there would be no CEQA review. That’s an awful way to start a new post-prohibition era.