Medical Marijuana Ordinance

Humboldt is one of the few counties in California on course to complete a “Medical Marijuana Land Use Ordinance” by the March 1, 2016 state deadline. Most cities and counties are “just saying no” and voting for a cannabis moratorium, which means they will default the state guidelines.

Politics is like sausage. Enjoy the final product, just never ask how it’s made. Somewhere between the will of the majority of those elected, public comment, planning commissions, and city/county staffs a medical cannabis ordinance is being crafted. Only problem is the growers don’t care. First off, they used the word “medical” on this ordinance, which is comical at best. Are you one of the estimated 3% who use cannabis for medicinal use or part of the 97% that just wanna get high? If cannabis is “medicine,” shouldn’t the price decrease massively to meet the needs of “patients?”

What good is the carrot without the stick? At last count barely 1% of the estimated 10,000 outdoor growers in Humboldt County have signed up to comply with this ordinance and why would they? As usual, the left hand ain’t talking to the right hand. The federal government fails to recognize cannabis as anything but an illegal drug so no FDA approvals for medicine; no 1099s, which means no federal income taxes being paid; and no federal tax deductions for cannabis businesses. On the local level, the proposed Humboldt County ordinance doesn’t speak to law enforcement as the sheriff is a separately elected official. For the growers it’s voluntary compliance with rules, regulations and taxes with zero ability of enforcement.

The ordinance also doesn’t mention the one person who strikes fear in the cannabis trade. Yes, I’m talking about a civil servant with a clipboard and a pen. We could enforce this ordinance, but with no money in the budget to hire inspectors, it’ll be business as usual, with the sheriff making one or two major geographic busts each year and a few complaint driven. Do the math, ten busts out of 10,000 grows. What are your odds of being caught and why would anyone pay income taxes if they are voluntary?

This ordinance allows indoor commercial grows up to 10,000 square feet. However the vast majority of indoor grows are taking place inside residential homes. May I remind you that houses are for people, not pot. We had our latest weekly hash lab explosion in a residential neighborhood because nothing goes together better than butane gas, heat and low IQs.

In the end this draft ordinance does nothing regarding plant count, water storage and most important – law and code enforcement. Without enforcement, what are we going to do with the other 99% of outlaw growers who refuse to comply with this ordinance or any laws for that matter?

Emerald contributor since April 2019


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