Weed Inc.’s Best Argument: Extortion

I guess one needs a 50,000 ft view to be on board with California Cannabis Voice Humboldt’s (CCVH) draft ordinance, especially as a conservative.  But that is who CCVH will be depending on to pass their measure.  CCVH is it seems the best foot forward Weed Inc. can conjure up.  The group has bought Democrat Richard Marks, because they can’t legally buy Supervisor Bass herself.  It’s pretty certain that if Supevisor Bass comes on board, Supervisor Sundberg will too.  Supervisors Bohn and Fennell are already friendly for entirely different reasons.

Good reporting by Ryan Burns and LoCO earlier this week and less informative reporting by the TS today on this issue.  It seems, thankfully that Scott Greacen is, as always, the skeptical environmentalist and even EPIC’s Natalynne Delapp has her doubts.  Mark Lovelace, Planning Director Kevin Hamblin, and reporter Ryan Burns all point out how this ordinance will bypass the public process.  (btw, where is the Public Participation Working Group when one needs them?  Oh yeah, that wasn’t really about public  participation at all, it was about the public not participating – and their efforts have clearly been successful.)

So why “extortion”?  This seems to be a trend and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this sort of persuasion is what we get from a lucrative outlaw industry.  During the recent Board of Supervisor and Planning Commission meetings that loosened county regulations on legal grows, a common refrain was how expanding allowable outdoor grows saves the environment because otherwise growers will grow indoors (with associated huge electricity usage).  It’s the climate change gun to one’s head.

Now we are being persuaded: “Hey, if you all pass this, we might be able to entice a couple of growers out of the shadows.  Let’s please make this quick and easy and we’ll peer pressure some of our outlaws into the light.”

That’s the line that Richard, Matthew, Virginia, Rex, Estelle and Ryan will be selling to their conservative base (and liberal associates – see below the fold).  And truthfully, most of the financial or business conservatives won’t give a damn.  Those who will care are religious conservatives and safety/”transient” conservatives.  And this is going to be a very tough sell as I’ve written before, likely to be sold by avoiding the subject altogether.  When it’s appropriate they will lament and play tough against the homeless/drug/poverty problems in Eureka, Garberville, etc..  But when those constituents are not looking, they will quietly speak about from 50,000 ft above, Weed Inc. is a necessary change because, what choice do we have (btw, can you all donate to my next campaign?)

Weed Inc. is no different from any other money making industry from a political perspective.  In fact, we are at a juncture in history where it’s clear that conservatives really don’t care about the “rule of law” or almost anything else when money is concerned.  W. made clear that “in general money trumps *sigh* peace sometimes“.  As we in Humboldt can show, conservative’s seemingly hard and fast principle of the rule of law is similarly nothing more than a rhetorical principle that is malleable if high profit margins are at stake.

In the end it’s all about the money and I don’t know if CCVH’s well place money in Richard Mark’s lap will be enough to sell this.  It seems like right now their sense of urgency and desperation may be giving even those who might otherwise be on board with a proven boondoggle second thoughts.


Resources and Notes:

Voter-initiative strategy aims for tight time frame.  By Juniper Rose and Will Houston

“I don’t know what the final draft is going to look like, but my 50,000-foot view of this is having regulation of some kind is better than nothing, which is what we have now,” – Supervisor Sundberg.

Rushed Process Has Stakeholders Worried About Marijuana Ordinance.  By Ryan Burns.

A take from the comment section from Not a Native.

Just what kind of rhetorical misdirecting sleight of hand does it take to transform a ‘outlaw criminal involved in a violent trafficking trade’ into a ‘stakeholder’? ….

…..Bad try at misdirection. None of this is about presently legitimate 215 dispensary production.

You’re hoping no one reads the article, so I’ll quote:

“CCVH…is attempting a feat….: enticing a thriving outlaw industry”

Yeah, you read that right, “outlaw industry” not licensed and permitted 215 dispensaries.

And a further quote:

“I don’t see this proposal coming anywhere close to dealing with the black market and bad actors,” Greacen said.

So yeah, those ‘stakeholders’ being wooed are the black market outlaws. And the skeptics concerns are the outlaws won’t cooperate. Well duh, they’re outlaw criminals and outlaw criminals’ specialty is a lifestyle of disobeying rules.

“In case of revolution’s break glass”‘s CCVH

California Cannabis Voice

One of Weed Inc.’s marketing power couples – Thomas and Allison Edrington.

The Ganjier’s take on the “Cannabis Stakeholder Summit”.

One of Weed Inc.’s narratives.  How Cannabis can Reinvigorate Rural America.  One that I wished could be true, but Humboldt’s politics proves otherwise.  Weed Inc.’s base is outside the law and thus loose with many ethics that a truly sustainable future demands.

We stand at the dawn of a new era that reminds me of the physical and spiritual qualities that created America. The revitalization of small-scale, localized production is underway. The populace awakens from deep infatuation with petroleum-based mechanization as we witness a cultural rebirth. A new valuation of food, farmers, communities and the environment has recreated the original American Ethos.

Nope.  Not by your track record in Humboldt.  It’s business as usual.  I’d say less like 1776 and more like a repeat of the 1870’s robber-barrons – only in agriculture.  This, btw, is the era when the Republicans first used the wealthy elite to gain and hold power.  We are seeing this happening again here with Republican Women endorsing “legalize freedom”‘s Matt Heath..

From Google, extortion defined.

extortionFinally, Matthew Owen’s last olive branch to me via e-mail.  How much of this invitation is based in the you-scratch-my-back politics based on the Bass-Owen-Marks conservative light alliance?

Jon –

I’d recommend we set up a meeting between you and Luke to discuss Humboldt cannabis and the goals for the “good actors” (those that care about the environment and want to get permitted and pay taxes).

Legalization is coming to California, whether one is in favor or not.

There are many of us who believe (as I think you do too) that we need to regulate, control and tax this industry, just like alcohol or tobacco.

Matthew Owen


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28 thoughts on “Weed Inc.’s Best Argument: Extortion

  1. Yogi Beara says:

    Really good Jon.

    I love it that Owen is trying to rope you in as a ‘stakeholder’…and also the part you quoted..as if you are arguing against legalization, him talking down to you about it, heh.
    I musta missed my invitation to be a stakeholder, sigh. Checking my spam folder…

    All this whohaa from these usual suspects reminds me of marathon runners that take the bus and jump in with a half mile to go.

    Front or back?….for the stake.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It’s quite silly to complain of “extortion” just because people are pointing out, quite accurately, that growing indoors uses huge amounts of electricity, and that if you restrict outdoor growing, you tend to end up with more indoor growing. That’s not “extortion,” it’s simply having an intelligent, adult public policy debate where you do not ignore obvious truths just because you don’t like them.

    1. 1) a) Hi, I’m an outlaw, my job is robbing. I will break the law and rob you.
      b) I will promise not to break the law if we agree on this you leaving what now seems like an affordable $10 in your mailbox for me the 5th of each month.
      c) Quid pro quo.

      2) a) Hi, I’m an outlaw, my job is community protection. I will break the law by coordinating my colleagues to not rob or disrupt businesses that pay.
      b) I will promise not to disrupt your business if you pay thin now affordable fee.
      c) Quid pro quo.

      3) a) Hi, I’m an outlaw, I grow weed against federal laws. I often grow indoors to avoid detection of this illegal activity, knowingly adding to the harm of our climate (not to mention public safety, and other community standards).
      b) I will not grow inside if you expand the places we can grow outside so I can make a greater profit, of course I won’t admit this, I will tell you I need more area to grow my medicinal plants for personal needs. Also, now that we are considering state wide legalization I will promise to try to peer pressure my colleagues (and myself) out of the shadows.
      c) Quid pro quo.

      With adults like you making decisions, maybe we need to lower the voting age again – I don’t know, to 4?

      1. Anonymous says:

        Again, you’re just being ridiculous. I don’t grow any weed, indoor or outdoor, and don’t intend to, but I think it would be utterly absurd to try to have a rational discussion of the environmental impacts of pot growing and legalization without mentioning that indoor growing uses huge amounts of electricity, and that banning or tightly restricting outdoor growing has historically led to more indoor growing and there’s every reason to believe it would in the future as well, and that this is something we should bear in mind as we move forward with any kind of legalization. Am I engaging in “extortion?”

        When people were discussing repealing alcohol Prohibition and noted that doing so could be expected to reduce problems related to gangland violence, people being blinded by bad batches of home-made alcohol, whiskey stills exploding and so on, was this “extortion.” Should they not have mentioned any of those things?

        1. The reality is, weed is illegal. When we open this market, as we will, it will in then end be rewarding those who have broken the law.

          The path to legalization has been one thinly veiled step toward legalizing recreational use after another. I used to be on board until I happened to selfishly recognize how tied local cannabis was to libertarian and thus conservative policies.

          Listening to speaker after speaker plead for more square footage based on needing more 5 more yards of growing space (or whatever it each was requesting) so they did not contribute to climate change is so clearly another industry falsehood.

          Prohibition (ie what the rest of America knows as prohibition) is interesting. I find it coming up quite frequently when discussing weed. Peter Martin uses the term in today’s TS. Prohibition of alcohol is a different animal altogether. It was legal only years before, when we had a cultural and societal tradition of it’s consumption.

          If we are going to change the rules of the game, lets do it on our schedule (ie citizens), not theirs (outlaws). Let’s do it with society’s priorities in mind. Let’s take this huge opportunity when giving something up – giving up society’s previous “prohibition” to instill best practices based on our citizens farmers, tax payers, community members etc.

          Let’s look at the whole picture, not a rushed one with “stakeholders” set by those wanting change with the promise that if we do this, now, with planned minimization of public oversight and on a rush time schedule, please forgive me if I tend to see the parallels with other outlaws.

          1. Yogi Beara says:

            I’d pick a different word:

            Parasitic:
            this specific set of moves may actually not be extortion so much as perhaps be parasitic.
            My first and last take is that this is a opportunistic cover to piggyback those rural property owners tax and development goals onto the very necessary repeal of Prohibition (and to those that sincerely want to repeal, I do too.)….how exactly that remains to be seen, but some of these people are not about weed, repeal, or any of that..and have likely profited in any of several ways from Prohibition. Perhaps the flaws in the long piddled with Plan were intentional, but my tin foil hat got blown off in the breeze today…but considering whose thumbs were on that scale and are also involved with this….

            I suspect a continuing effort to create exemptions, gains, and benefits for the larger rural property owners….but how is that a surprise, really, duh. That’s how some of those people roll, and if they are in on this…well…leopard, spots etc…and any pro weed people in on it with them are trying to gain their good old boy support while trading away probably development or tax positions or whatever for large weed growing. How is this good for me again?..okok, safer conditions generally, right…less watershed damage..oh, right, more enforcement, ok sure, money to come flowing in from grateful growers tax and fees paid for legitimacy, right….all those cowboys greed growers will just melt away and we can walk the creeks looking for pumps and plastic, great. Plenty of trained and available inspectors and permitters to do all this will appear as needed, ok. All paid for by Big Weed no doubt. I hope that can fix the roads while they are at it.

            It should be that our goal IS Prohibition Repeal..and there are NO benefits to anyone in society at large to continue Prohibition…well, haha, other than:

            * the legal community public and private who get paid to serve the WoD
            *certain real estate investors and their ilk
            *private prison corporations and their investors and stockholders
            *prison guards and their union and their investment ticks
            *Wall Street that successfully and legally launders all that evil profit for them…speaking of ticks.
            *law enforcement agencies gaining with their cash and property seizures
            *growers who are setup and profiting from the current high price of Prohibition Weed: both medical and illegal rec weed
            *the businesses that serve them all…
            *the continuing high price of weed widely benefiting Humboldt/other rural county’s economy…until maybe, maybe not, when Prohibition ends.

            Other than those people, society at large has been screwed by Prohibition……..:
            ** poor people of any ethnicity
            ** people of color jailed 4:1 over white, so it functions as a discriminatory mechanism as well….
            **all people deprived of the benefits of weed however described.
            ** taxpayers wasting money on the overall War on Drugs, the loss of a degree of civil rights…now being superceded in ‘benefit’ by the War on T. …and the loss of respect for the rule of law.

            …So…parse it however, parasitic opportunism or extortion. The huge taxes people also try and promote as well as the complicated regulations for sales and distribution are worse, in my opinion than any problem they say they are Concerned about. It is BOTH Prohibition and Extortion…promoted by the Serious People and not just those in Humboldt. The Serious People want both…Prohibition and to tax it to spend, as well as the campaign contributions that flow from the whole exercise.

            But you are probably right, you win..you have been here longer and seen more, so this may well be extortion: …‘we who own and try to run everything will make it easier to greed grow if you agree to even better benefits to us large landowners..because OMGOMG Prohibition is Just So Bad, m’kay?
            ……
            ……butter, melting..what’s that phrase again?

            /rant.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “Let’s do it with society’s priorities in mind.”

    Such as not needlessly using gigawatts of electricity to grow a crop that grows perfectly well under the sun.

    Meanwhile, the more we delay legalization, regulation and taxation of cannabis, the more money “outlaws” make off the industry, and that’s true at the level of Mexican cartels hauling in tractor trailers of it across the border, organized crime networks distributing it, and street-level dealers peddling it, it’s true at the level of environmentally disasterous “trespass grows” that use the “chemical fence” method of broadcasting poisons all around the grow site to kill anything that might be a threat to the crop (and along with that, many things that never would) — and it’s also true at the level of (at least some) Humboldt “mega” grows that have been trashing the environment.

    Where I do agree with you is that I don’t like the rushed timeline of the CCVH initiative. Unfortunately our county elected officials (both the previous majority, and the current majority) have been asleep at the switch on this issue for years, and neither the environmental groups, nor labor, nor the HCDCC, nor anyone else has taken the lead on this issue.

    In fairness this is partially the fault of the Feds, who came down hard on Mendocino for having the temerity to try to tax and regulate grows and incentivize good growing practices and reduce unwanted environmental and social impacts (and also threatened cities like Eureka and Arcata for attempting to regulate growing and distribution within their borders). But in the wake of the Colorado and Washington legalization initiatives, the Feds are now telling states and local governments to do exactly what they threatened Mendocino officials with federal charges for doing — they’re saying fine, go ahead and tax and regulate it, and as long as you’re doing a good job of regulating it we won’t interfere. So there is now an opportunity where there wasn’t one before.

    By the way, I’m wondering if you’ve actually read the CCVH draft ordinance? I have, and it certainly doesn’t look like “planned minimumization of public oversight.”

    Here’s the heart of it:

    “The Agricultural Commissioner shall register persons who apply to the
    Department of Agriculture to engage in the lawful cultivation of marijuana (as
    defined in Section 314-47) in the unincorporated areas of Humboldt County, and
    who demonstrate that the applicant or property upon which marijuana cultivation
    will occur: (i) is located within the territorial boundaries of Humboldt County and
    is either owned by person or for which the person has lawful right of possession;
    (ii) has rights to lawful sources of water in amounts adequate for the size and
    intensity of the intended cultivation, taking into account methods used for irrigation
    and the water conservation measures to be employed; (iii) will employ
    best management practices; (iv) has a cultivation and operations plan approved by
    the Commissioner and state and county agencies, as appropriate, that meets or
    exceeds all minimum legal standards for water storage and use, water
    conservation, drainage, erosion control, runoff, pest control, watershed protection,
    protection of habitat, proper storage of fertilizers, pesticides, and other products
    used in connection with cultivation activities, processing, storage and security; (v)
    the applicant agrees to regular and random on-site inspection; (vi) has paid all
    applicable fees; (vii) agrees to continue use of best management practices as
    directed by the Commissioner; (viii) will not use chemical fertilizers, pesticides,
    fungicides, rodenticides, herbicides or other products not approved by
    Commissioner; (ix) has registered with the California Employment Development
    Department and complies with all applicable labor laws and regulations; (x) the
    area used for marijuana cultivation meets the size restrictions for the parcel(s) as
    set forth in Section 314-47; (xi) has a security plan to prevent theft during the final
    flowering stage (2 weeks before harvest) and processing; (xii) has available on-site
    secure storage and processing facilities; (xiii) workers have or will receive
    training on safety procedures and for the proper care and storage of crops to
    prevent contamination; and… (xv) has agreed
    to random sample testing of crops the presence of pesticides, herbicides,
    fungicides, mold, fungus and other biologic or chemical contaminants that pose
    risk to human health or demonstrate violations of this code or regulations
    promulgated by the Commissioner. ”

    1. It reads like a marijuana eden. I’m sorry to have spoken out of line. Planning on runnoff, water storage, registrations, best management practices, no darn fertilizers or any of the -cides not approved, registered with the CEDD paying and meeting all workers comp, minimum wage, payroll taxes, etc. A security plan to eliminate or minimize theft.

      This adult is very pleased with this above-board proposition. Anons you all give me so much faith in this process thank you.

      Please remind me exactly again why a good-government environmentalist like myself can’t just wait for the state measure, one that would bg much more conservative than this – in a good way. More taxes, more trade offs, for a greater state-wide opposition that one would find in HumCo.

      Thank you, I’ve had enough of Weed Inc further diluting a GPU that had been already re-written by Weed Inc- approved Supervisors. I want as much leverage as possible in this trade of legality for regulating and pricing your industries externalizes.

      Sorry folks, I don’t see a whole lot here to like. Like many businesses, once legal I honor your right to make a living. I would ask that you not as the community as a whole to pay for your industry’s externalities while internalizing profits. We’ve had some problems with this recently from our private sector. forgive me if I’m skeptical this private industry will be much different. Despite the fancy marketing.

      1. Anonymous says:

        “Please remind me exactly again why a good-government environmentalist like myself can’t just wait for the state measure, one that would bg much more conservative than this – in a good way. More taxes, more trade offs, for a greater state-wide opposition that one would find in HumCo.”

        First of all I wouldn’t be so sure that a statewide measure will be “more conservative…in a good way.” The largest grows this county ordinance will allow would be a little less than 1/2 acre. Colorado and Washington are both allowing much larger grows than that, and there’s little reason to believe California’s won’t too.

        Meanwhile, state taxes will come on top of this measure, it’s not one or the other. Same with state regs — if the state regs turn out to be more stringent than the county ones, the state ones will take precedence, that’s just how it works as a matter of law. On the other hand, if the state regs turn out to be less stringent than the county ones, then the county ones will be the standard that people will have to follow. And if there are areas that just aren’t addressed at all at one level or the other, then at least the regulations at the other level will be in place.

        So why wait for the state, if we can act now and make the situation better than it is now? If the state regs make the situation even better yet, great. If not, at least we’ll have our own standards in place.

        1. Sounds reasonable, and well argued from a dispassionate and disinterested anonymous individual.

          If CCVH stands to do better statewide, why the urgent and now desperate push for this potentially more stringent county regulations. Also, why would we want more stringent largely unenforceable county regulations given our already over taxed sheriff? Do you not think there will still be unregistered grows that should take precedence over registered grows that may be breaking this or that rule?

          This isn’t the whole story. I don’t know what the story involves or where the political lines are drawn on this. Does it have to do with TPZ land use or other mapping/principle permitting procedure would be one guestimate. It’s late and I don’t have time to review Ryan’s informative article on this.

          Something’s up and as much as I disagree with Kevin Hambin on so many things, I’d rather have him in on the process than, say the stakeholders that I’m not sure who defined. Public processes are slow for a reason. Part of this whole discussion started with the reasoning I heard behind the public’s best arguments for what ended up being a looser county ordinance for what I assume is 215 mj.

          I do not see any reason why good government environmentalists would be in favor of less public process. If we are counting on this BOS being more environmentally knowledgable than the State Legislture or Senate, well, I just would have to respectfully say, I disagree Ms./Mr. anon.

          1. Anonymous says:

            ” Also, why would we want more stringent largely unenforceable county regulations given our already over taxed sheriff? Do you not think there will still be unregistered grows that should take precedence over registered grows that may be breaking this or that rule?”

            Under this proposed ordinance, registered growers would agree to allow regular and random inspections, and the ordinance provides for this to be funded by fees on these registered growers. So what you would have is “x” number of registered growers that can be monitored and regulated by a few guys with clipboards, funded by fees on the industry itself, rather than the Sheriff having to send a squadron of law enforcement officers out to the scene, at taxpayers’ expense. Which leaves more law enforcement resources available to target the worst violators among the remaining unregistered grows. Seems like a win-win scenario to me.

            I actually agree, in principle, on at least part of your “process” argument. It would have been better if our County Supervisors had stepped up to the plate — years ago, ideally — to put these kinds of regulations in place. But they didn’t. Not under the previous majority, and not under this majority. This lack of leadership has created a vacuum, into which CCVH has stepped with their proposal. So while I wish the normal legislative process had been functioning well and showing forward progress with respect to this issue, or showing signs of doing so in the forseeeable future, that’s not what I’ve seen or expect to see. So for that reason I welcome CCVH’s effort and understand why they would choose to opt for a process that allows them to take their proposal directly to the voters if need be.

            I don’t think, by the way, that it’s a shoo-in that Humboldt voters will approve this measure. I think there’s a pretty good chance that it could be defeated by a “strange bedfellows” more or less accidental alliance of viscerally anti-pot cultural conservatives, sloppy/greedy and/or philosophically libertarian pot growers who don’t want to deal with all those rules and don’t want to compete with growers who are following the rules and therefore can operate more openly and efficiently, and then folks like yourself who may (misguidedly in my opinion) oppose it on environmental grounds.

            Ironically (at least for you and for your strange-bedfellow viscerally anti-pot cultural conservatives), the biggest winners if this proposal gets shot down will be the sloppy/greedy and/or philosophically libertarian pot growers, who are happy with the status quo and would like nothing more than to delay legalization/regulation/taxation as long as possible, so that they can continue to have safety in numbers being in the same illegal boat as their more responsible neighbors, and take their chances with the .001% chance they’ll get busted.

            I guess we’re about back at that point where, by applying your definition of “extortion,” I’m “extorting” you to support these regulations because if you don’t, I’m “threatening” that the worst kinds of growers will benefit.

            To which I would say, I’m not “extorting,” I’m just “exhorting,” and I’m not “threatening” anything, I’m just pointing out what I think will will be the result a particular action. I’m not saying that I’ll be the one creating that result, or that I approve of it, I’m just saying don’t ignore reality just because you don’t like it.

        2. Yogi Beara says:

          As to your assertion that state regs supercede a county’s, I think there may be more to it, that if a county has some ordinance the state cannot then change it by being stricter or less strict…but OTOH the county can’t supercede existing state regs..I have seen that discussed in fracking debates as well…so maybe yes, maybe no, and I think that might speak actually pro CCVH: to get this done now because OMGOMG the State!’

          But there are state regulations, and then there is the local interpretations and the expense of enforcing and arguing those differences…it is easier for everybody to go along sometimes.

          For example the city and county have many detailed stricter interpretations of many of the state’s UBC regs as well as state regs that they ignore…so there is local precedent for local interpretation in some laws and regs. And maybe that is limited to just thye UBC, but I really doubt it. Wiggle room is wiggle room, money talks….etc

          Perhaps an actual lawyer who knows might say..Eric maybe?

          1. Anonymous says:

            “if a county has some ordinance the state cannot then change it by being stricter or less strict”

            Nope. The state is top dog and can be stricter anytime it wants. However, it’s true that the state can *choose to* leave certain things to the discretion of counties and municipalities. Perhaps that’s the case with fracking regs, I don’t know.

      2. Anonymous says:

        “Planning on runnoff, water storage, registrations, best management practices, no darn fertilizers or any of the -cides not approved, registered with the CEDD paying and meeting all workers comp, minimum wage, payroll taxes, etc. A security plan to eliminate or minimize theft…”

        …Sorry folks, I don’t see a whole lot here to like. ”

        I just can’t wrap my head around that. Yeah, I read the paragraphs in between. But they don’t really explain why the things in the first paragraphs are not, in fact, “a whole lot to like.” I can’t see how they’re not.

        1. Because it’s wonderfully worded legal language which I have no idea what the alternatives or costs of it’s passing are. That’s why I try to hire people like Supervisor Lovelace to be the judge of these things and I trust people like Scott Greacen to figure out the potential environmental pluses and minuses

          I mean it, It sounds, great. Just as the re-written General principles sounded with no context. Again,it seems to me we have nothing to lose and everything to gain by letting this be vetted state wide.

          If we are dealing with the environmental community this industry purports to be, we should be on the same page ultimately anyway. Here’s a thought, maybe larger but fewer permitted weed grows would be where we want to head. I for one find that idea much more appealing than mom and pops each with there own security plan.

          In the mean time, we get to try to convince as many liberals as we can that we need to be as skeptical about this as our conservative brethren.

          External costs of this industry are an unknown and can’t be known until it’s legal. Let’s make sure we cover as many bases as possible. A good place to start wouldn’t be to write legislation whose regulations will be written with one goal to make them as low a bar as possible so as many outlaws as possible come in from the shadows.

          Seriously, we need a good accounting of what this deal is costing us. Environmentally, socially, financially (in public safety, increased intoxication, etc. etc. etc. ad 800 page study infinitum.

          1. Anonymous says:

            On the one hand you say there’s no way to know what the external costs of this industry are until it’s legal. On the other hand you want to wait and do 800 page studies ad infinitum. That makes no sense to me. I agree we can’t be 100% sure of any potential downsides of legalization until we pass something and see how it works out (though its worth noting that all the scaremongering about the potential for increased motor vehicle accidents, etc., in Colorado and Washington have not panned out). So we need to pass something that seems like a good start (and I think this CCVH proposal clearly qualifies as at least a very good start) and see how it works out. One thing I’m quite confident of is that the system laid out in this proposal is *much* better than the status quo. So waiting a couple more years for something — maybe better, maybe not as good, maybe a mix of some of each — to be imposed by the state both delays the possibility of contributing to learning what works well and what works less well, and also leaves us with the destructive status quo in the meantime. And that seems like a lose-lose proposition — missed opportunity for progress and learning, plus continuing all the current problems as we passively wait for our fate to be handed down to us.

            “A good place to start wouldn’t be to write legislation whose regulations will be written with one goal to make them as low a bar as possible so as many outlaws as possible come in from the shadows.”

            That just doesn’t bear any resemblance to the actual proposal. Of course we want people to “come in from the shadows,” because if none of them do, then we get the continued destructive status quo. But if that was the one and only goal, then the proposal wouldn’t be full of regulations, standards, inspections, fees, etc, as it is. It seems pretty obvious to me that the proposal attempts to meet multiple goals, including strong measures to protect the environment, to reduce unwanted community impacts (such as home invasions, etc) and at the same time not be needlessly onerous and/or punitive to the point where very few growers participate and it ends up having little to no impact.

          2. Anonymous says:

            Basically your position now seems to coming down to you don’t really know what you don’t like about this proposal, but you’re opposed to it because you’re taking your lead from Mark Lovelace and Scott Gracean and they’re apparently not satisfied. If that’s the case then I guess I’m wasting my time here, I should ignore you and just deal with those you’re take your marching orders from, because nothing I’m going to say here is going to have any effect whatsoever on your opinion, because you’ve outsourced your thinking to these others. At least it’s starting to sound that way.

  4. Anonymous says:

    “The reality is, weed is illegal. When we open this market, as we will, it will in then end be rewarding those who have broken the law.”

    Well, I agree with you that *some* folks who have been breaking the law will be “rewarded” by legalization — it will certainly “reward” cannabis consumers, who, yes, have been breaking the law. They will be able to obtain cannabis and cannabis products at stores (and/or grow some themselves) instead of paying black-market prices to black-market dealers, they will be able to use it with less stigma, they will have some assurance that the cannabis products they buy are not contaminated and are of a known potency, and, most importantly, they will not be risking fines and/or criminal prosecution, and, perhaps most importantly, the life-opportunities-narrowing criminal records that go along with the latter. But since, in my opinion, these are all things that never should have been imposed on them in the first place, it does not bother me one bit to “reward” them by removing these impositions.

    Another group of current law-breakers that you might say would be “rewarded” by legalization, are any current growers who are ready and willing to start following all the rules and regulations that apply to other agricultural and distribution operations, in addition to whatever additional taxes, fees, and regulations are applied specifically to cannabis as part of legalization legislation. Honestly, I don’t see this as much of a reward, though I guess you could say not being punished could be considered a form of reward. But basically they will not be either rewarded or punished, they will simply have the same right to follow the laws and participate in the legal industry as anyone else.

    Here are some folks who won’t be “rewarded” by legalization, and in fact will be “punished” by its effects: Ignorant and/or uncaring and/or greedy growers who trash the land and use poisons that kill wildlife and contaminate their product, and are basically really crappy farmers but are able to continue making money growing cannabis because they don’t have to compete with legal farmers and distributors. Others who will be negatively impacted by legalization are drug cartels, trespass growers, black market brokers and dealers, and of course the bloated prison-industrial complex.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “Prohibition of alcohol is a different animal altogether.”

    The parallels are not perfect, but there are far more –and much more significant — similarities than differences. As to the specific difference you brought up, it’s certainly true that compared to alcohol prohibition, cannabis prohibition has now been in effect longer, and use was not as widespread prior to it. But there certainly was a “cultural and societal tradition of it’s consumption” in this country, before cannabis prohibition. It just happened to be (or at least was believed to be) most prevalent among African-Americans and Hispanics. Does the fact that this country chose to criminalize the behavior of a smaller group of Americans, mostly minorities, make it more acceptable than when we chose to criminalize the behavior of a broader group? Not to me.

    1. One advocate for legalization I’ll listen to is Michelle Alexander. One of the benefits, I hope that will come from legalization, is a prison population that begins to look more like our country’s actual race proportions. I’m skeptical this will make a difference. Time will tell. Also, anon you know how to sell your product. Good luck, I don’t think you’ll need it.

      Why doesn’t it surprise me this thread is full of anons?

  6. For the record, these are all one anon. Anon, I have a policy of letting the reader know of those coming from one IP address. I respect your anon, but I also respect the reader’s right to know how many people are taking part and how anon’s opinions change over time.

  7. Oooh pot! Such a sexy subject, and proof that something intriguing can always be made crushingly boring by bureaucracy and legal machinations. Jon you probably can guess where I stand on the larger issue of cannabis legalization and decriminalization, seeing how I used to represent medical cannabis co-ops and worked with Matt Kumin years ago (the Director of CCV). (I have no involvement with this or anything else in the cannabis legal world, and have not for years.) I read the draft of the bill however and I have to say I see this as way more of a statement than anything that will actually directly change land use practices or enforcement in Humboldt County. So I wouldn’t necessarily be against it from a policy perspective as I see it really impacting very little absent State legalization. It would put Humboldt County in the news (the type of news some might not want) but not really accomplish much else, from my perspective as currently drafted.

    First let me describe the lay of the legal landscape, circa right now. Cannabis cultivation is decriminalized if performed on a co-operative or communal basis for the benefit of all of the 215 patient members of a defined cooperative organization. Think a “community garden” but writ large in some cases. How this turns into one grower selling large amounts of cannabis to a dispensary that then sells it to dispensary members requires a little legal creativity but not much. Those are the parameters the”legal” industry mostly works in. Practically speaking, within that status quo (and importantly absent Legalization) I do not see why a large-scale outdoor grower in SoHum would come out of the woodwork and get licensed under this scheme, primarily because I do not see anyone in Humboldt County government actively going out and citing anyone for violating this ordinance. Business as usual will continue. Enforcement against cannabis grows in grower country is mostly confined to CAMP, which is a State/Federal partnership with some cooperation from the HumCo Sheriff, but not a lot. I don’t see CAMP cooperating with a local zoning regulation ostensibly allowing large grows since planning rules and criminal culpability can be legally separated in the minds of aggressive law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. Zoning compliance and criminal law are different things. My brothel’s in-law unit could be totally permitted under my local municipal planning rules, and maybe I even have a business license, but that won’t save me from running a sex worker operation in it.

    And are Planning Dep’t folks really going to trek into the backwoods off of Bell Springs Rd. to do random spot checks on large grows to see if their paperwork is in order? Yeah I don’t think so. If I’m growing a huge crop right now, why risk telling the world I am growing over 99 plants (the fed. mandatory minimum for 5-40 years) to become “legal” if I arguably will carry the same risk of (a) random crop destruction or (b) federal jail time. The HumCo ordinance cannot limit State Law enforcement efforts since currently medical cannabis use remains “decriminalized” and not “legal,” meaning a US Attorney or CA prosecutor can still arrest first and make you defend yourself based on the compassionate use defense later. Yes, the Humboldt County DA’s office will likely not prosecute local growers, but CAMP will keep flying until we have true legalization. Until that happens this ordinance is window dressing.

    But, it’s not bad window dressing, if it does prompt anyone to decide to become a “law abiding” (i.e., properly zoned and licensed). As far as I know it is the most aggressive permissive zoning bill for cannabis grows thanks to the proposed 20,000 foot canopy, which I believe would be the largest in the State. And I think as a mostly symbolic measure it is a good idea. Rushing it through via a process developed by Walmart (most “creative” work-arounds of planning regs are created by Walmart’s lawyers) is probably not the best optics, particularly in Humboldt County. I don’t see how the indoor gun to your head stuff really works its way in here as I think that is a red herring–this will not prompt any indoor apartment growers out into the sunshine, and it does not address small scale stuff at all. If there are any large scale indoor grows going on (as far as I know) those are mostly in large greenhouses or temporary structures (mostly, again, to prevent aerial enforcement) and depending on the definition of “outdoor” they might be outdoor under the new bill anyway.

    The second point I want to make is being against any medical cannabis legislation just because a lot of folks in that community might have more of a libertarian bent. I think that’s a mistake; being against anything just because a certain political persuasion seems to inform it is a mistake, to me. Like it or not, Humboldt has a very huge cash crop that is currently generating next to nothing in tax revenue and who knows how much in actual tourism dollars, and I think it would be interesting to see if an above board, intelligent cannabis culture could grow in Humboldt County and separate itself from the current stigma and be something more positive, like the wine industry. Maybe that is wishful thinking. (And yes I know the wine industry is rife with problems, but I mean more on a cultural consciousness level.)

    Those are my unformed thoughts.

  8. Anonymous says:

    “Lovelace wanted to make sure that the county requests local control be preserved in any statewide marijuana legalization measure. “This is the year that something needs to happen,” Lovelace said. “It [legalization] is going to be on the ballot for 2016.” He recommended following the lead of the California State Association of Counties, which calls for any legislation that regulates marijuana to allow individual counties three options: 1) to adopt those regulations, 2) to modify them as they see fit, or 3) to opt out entirely.”

    http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2014/dec/2/supervisors-ratify-election-results-agree-make-cor/

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