Note: This is verbatim from the TS. I don’t like to do this, but I would hope that they wouldn’t mind as I’d hope they would like this sentiment to get out there as much or more than they would like people to buy today’s edition. BTW, please buy a T-S today for all this… and more…
Supes: Keep new grows out of TPZ zones
Humboldt County’s Green Rush is ending. The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors ought to be responsibly managing the transition from boom to boomlet.
Statewide marijuana legalization is one election away. It makes little sense for Humboldt County to encourage the further opening of its forests to the marijuana industry when cannabis is very soon going to be grown outside of the county on larger farms closer to larger markets and larger transportation hubs — and sold in bulk for a much lower price.
Maybe we’re wrong. Maybe we’ll magically grow the infrastructure necessary to be the Budweiser of legalized bud. Or maybe Golden State marijuana consumers will insist — nay, demand — quality Humboldt weed, no matter the price.
Then again, the folks at Nielsen report that Champagne — the real stuff — only accounted for 20 percent of sparkling wine sales in the U.S. last year.
Economics and common sense, then, dictate that any responsible Board of Supervisors would discourage new cultivation in timber production zones, or TPZ land.
That’s what county staff recommends, in direct opposition to the advice of the Humboldt County Planning Commission.
Your supervisors are faced with an important choice.
The whole reason why TPZ zones exist is to promote sustainable timber management by landowners — in exchange for tax breaks. Our future tax dollars would be subsidizing further overproduction in a time when it’s going to be harder and harder for Humboldt County growers to match lower prices elsewhere.
And when it comes to environmental considerations, as both Natalynne DeLapp of the Environmental Protection Information Center and Mike Jani of Humboldt Redwood Company have written together (“Pot on TPZ land an invitation to disaster,” Times-Standard, July 7, 2015, Page A4), throwing TPZ land open to commercial marijuana production will harm both responsible forestry and wildlife.
An argument could and has been made by others that allowing more grows on TPZ land is a legitimate bid to entice more growers off the black market and into the light, but we’re not buying it. Unless everyone’s planning on growing just for the fun of it, market forces will take care of that. Maybe moonshiners were still backordering stills in 1934. You tell us.
We’re on the eve of legalization. Your supervisors have a chance to help lay the foundation for a better future here. They shouldn’t use it to allow the squandering of any more of Humboldt County’s natural legacy than has already been tarnished.
My thought: Why is this conservative BOS doing this? Shouldn’t they be hesitant to make a move based not only on conservative voices against marijuana use but liberal voices concerned about what this will mean for our environment?
What is on their mind, as the 2 DHF readers should know, is $cashmoney$. That’s what we’ve been trying to tell the citizens of this county. It’s also one of the reasons why we don’t have opponents to two of the Supervisor’s races this year and why both Democratic statewide representatives Wood and McGuire have already endorsed the incumbents – one of whom isn’t even a Democrat.
Ugh people. We have a bunch of work to do.
Also, via Richard Salzman’s Redwood Progressive email list, a highlight from an editorial yesterday.
County commercial grow ordinance: Where’s media?
We are facing the largest story of decades and I am stunned at how little media interest there has been.
The Humboldt Board of Supervisors is considering the ordinance for commercial grows. They are considering then the economic future of our entire county. This is huge!
For example: if the marijuana industry is taken over by large grows there will be greatly increased leakage. That is a technical economic term meaning the person owning the grow is likely to live elsewhere, buy his trucks elsewhere, and generally move the money out of the community rather than circulating it here.
So ends our community nonprofits, our community network, our community. Doesn’t this seem huge to you? A very large part of our community has been maintained strictly by the small growers. Hey, there’s lawyers from Sacramento here talking to the supes. The big grows want in! If you value our community call or write your supervisor immediately! They already closed the public hearing on this despite huge numbers in the audience. Backroom time! Cram your voice in there fast!
Rex Bohn <email@example.com>
Estelle Fennell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mark Lovelace <email@example.com>
Virginia Bass <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ryan Sundberg <email@example.com>
Robert Sutherland, Humboldt-Mendocino Marijuana Advocacy Project