Emerald Triangle Expands to More Counties and Works to Develop a Unified Cannabis Policy

CaptureThe economic and social realities that define the Emerald Triangle have expanded beyond the  three counties normally included in that designation. Now Lake, Del Norte, and Sonoma Counties have joined Humboldt, Trinity, and Mendocino. These six counties have become a cannabis region much as Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino Counties are a wine region. In March, representatives from the counties that make up the extended Emerald Triangle—–met to discus marijuana. Supervisors Estelle Fennell and Mark Lovelace from Humboldt joined with supervisors and officers from the other counties to discus how to address the economic impacts of legalized cannabis.

Then for the last few months, they’ve been working together to craft a policy statement that they hope will be adopted by each County’s Board of Supervisors and used to create a unified position that these counties can work from to influence state policy.

Below is the statement the panel created. The North Coast Counties Marijuana Policy Statement is short and easy to read. It will be discussed on Tuesday at the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors’ meeting. Take a look at it yourself:


North Coast Counties Marijuana Policy Statement


North Coast Counties have unique insight into the significant problems and opportunities posed by statewide regulation and potential legalization of adult recreational use of marijuana. Inconsistent State and Federal laws and existing ambiguities in State law have caused significant economic, environmental, and public safety impacts to North Coast Counties related to the cultivation and distribution of marijuana. We strongly encourage the adoption of comprehensive State marijuana policies that will protect local communities and governments and also respect local control.

There is a need for certain and uniform state regulation while at the same time allowing local governments the flexibility to address individual community needs. State regulation should set clear minimum guidelines and should expressly not preempt local government control. State law and policy should reflect the basic reality that economic effects, environmental impacts, and community sensitivity vary widely from rural to urban areas and from one area to another, and have a direct impact on local quality of life. It is imperative that counties retain local control to address impacts appropriately from rural to urban communities.

Policy Statements

Local Control

      • State leadership is critical to provide a comprehensive regulatory framework which clearly delineates the roles of local and state government.

      • Minimum statewide standards on a range of issues including licensing, safety, accounting, state taxation,cultivation standards, distribution and consumer standards should be developed with local input.

      • A statewide regulatory program must explicitly preserve the right of local jurisdictions to regulate items of local concern including authority to: issue business licenses and impose local taxes to produce funding streams to fully cover local costs; to enact land use regulations; and to enact other restrictions applicable to the cultivation, distribution, and sale of marijuana based on a local governing body’s determination of local needs.

      • Existing local authority to regulate or prohibit the indoor or outdoor cultivation of marijuana and the establishment of dispensaries in certain areas must be explicitly preserved.

      • The right of local jurisdictions to provide for the health, safety and welfare of their constituents must be respected within an overall state regulatory framework.

        2. Revenue & Taxation

        • Counties must have the ability to impose fees and fines to recover direct costs of local regulation and code enforcement with respect to all aspects of marijuana cultivation, sales and distribution .

        • Counties must have the option to adopt local excise and sales taxes to recover enforcement, environmental and other costs, subject to uniform statewide tax cap limits.

      • State and local marijuana related excise and sales tax limits must be set at a level that does not discourage transition to a regulated market.

      • Counties must be granted flexibility to further incentivize the transition to a regulated market, for instance, by deferring full imposition of the adopted local tax structure.

      • Marijuana, no matter its use (medical or recreational), must be subject to state and local taxation in the same manner and at the same level in order to provide regulatory certainty and avoid the difficulties inherent in establishing a dual system of administration.

3. Environmental Protection

      • Environmental protection and remediation shall be paramount in any regulatory and/or funding framework .

      • Best management practices must be developed and adopted.

      • Current environmental enforcement should remain the responsibility of existing regulatory agencies. .

      • Adequate and flexible enforcement tools must be available to local jurisdictions, including the availability of incentives to encourage responsible environmental practices.

      • Counties must receive adequate funding from the state to compensate for local environmental enforcement and remediation including legacy impacts.

  1. Economics

    • Legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use will have economic implications for North Coast Counties. To mitigate negative effects, the state must allocate a portion of state revenue to assist counties.

    • A statewide regulatory program must provide economic development assistance including job training to help North Coast counties of origin successfully rebuild their traditional resource based economies while transitioning to a fully regulated legalized marijuana industry.

    • State leadership is also necessary to address larger education and research programs beyond the purview of individual counties. Much like tobacco, the state must allocate funds to implement research, education and prevention programs, particularly for youth, to mitigate marijuana abuse and dependence .

    • To ensure that counties can differentiate their products in the marketplace a statewide chain of custody certification program is needed to allow local branding that highlights regional strains, sustainable environmental practices, responsible processing, and ethical business behavior. Chain of custody certification will increase value to local producers and encourage consumers to make responsible purchasing decisions.


North Coast Counties support a comprehensive state regulatory framework that explicitly preserves existing local control, while protecting the environment, local economies and quality of life. We welcome the opportunity to provide additional language and information that supports these policy concepts.



  • Well thought out policy statement. Many legitimate ideas although I doubt the state will provide the economic impact offsets listed in the first two bullets under Economics.


    Imagine the outcry if fines and fees were imposed to regulate your backyard squash garden? Philip Morris bought thousands of acres of land in Shasta County and an outdoor ban was imposed shortly afterwards. We can look to Washington and see how now the state grows are targeting the medical community and trying to corner the market for their own greed. One needs only to look at the current boom in Hayfork, because other counties have passed bans on outdoor cultivation.

    Sounds like a conspiracy, but the state is going to try and grab the industry and hand it over to corporations, cutting out, and going after any small farmers- out of greed.

    The answer is to make MJ lawful, and not have it regulated any other way than your local farmer’s market or fruit stand. The answer is to free the weed and keep out corp/gov greed.

    Vote against ANY type of regulation and keep California’s market’s free from corporate greed.

    • Matthew Meyer

      I’d love a reference to your source on Phillip Morris in Shasta County.

      I wish I could dismiss your whole comment as paranoid fantasy, but several parts of it do seem to align with what seems to be happening.

    • I agree. That is why I did not vote for legalization before and I will not vote for it again. I am quite fine with my medicinal and I want to keep government out of my life. This is just becoming another way for the rich to become richer on the backs of the poor, since we no longer have a middle class. Thanks Emerald Triangle for taking away our rights first, after your counties have survived off the illicit trade for years and generations. Let’s go ahead and take away the family farms and ruin what was never meant to be regulated by the state, it is a gift from God.

    • Thank You! What we are seeing is that CCV is being dominated by former mega-grow big-timers who now want to run the next game. That is why they propose the permitting of such large grows. They pose as our saviors but really what they propose is the final nail in the coffin of mom-n-pops… Meanwhile, the state is poised to take control. Legalization should only mean freedom to grow your own with zero interference. THAT is what we have been fighting for since the 60’s! I’m okay with environmental laws being enforced and protection of our creeks and fish- of course. We have a golden moment to resist this cheapened form of “legalization”…please let’s not fall for the propaganda of those who would use it to further fatten their wallets….look out for CCV/Oaksterdam types!

  • I couldn’t agree more with Skunk’s post. Spot on.

  • veteransfriend

    If you can’t grow your own outdoors in the sun, it isn’t legal.
    I understand that commerce requires regulation and in the case of value added products, taxation is inevitable.
    But this is a benign and beneficial plant, native to planet earth, and anyone should be able to grow it unfettered, for their own use.

  • Is it legal to grow your own tobacco?

    • Yes, you can buy seed online, including heirloom varieties. I know someone who grows his own.

      • Matthew Meyer

        Hell, you can grow opium poppies, San Pedro cactus, datura, Banisteriopsis caapi, Psychotria viridis, Brugmansia…as long as your intent is ornamental and not psychonautical.


      You can have a still as well! I know someone that sells flavored windshield washer fluid to skate around the bean counters.

  • I’d love to know what everyone thinks of the new rules being proposed by the NCRWQCB.. any opinions on the Tier I, Tier II and Tier III proposals?

  • What policies?
    You are kidding yourself! The Sacramento water board is going to creep up our anus the same as they did to them folks up sprawl creek.
    The general plan is still not worked out, but conflicting in every which way.
    Cal fire says to store 50000 gallons for each structure in case of fire but the fucktards in sacramento only want to allow 25000 in 2500 gallon tanks, they’ll tell you bigger tanks are obsolete.
    And no bladders yet they stuffed one right in the gap of the broken levee just south of fortuna.
    double up this year, sacramentos smelly penis is trying to creep into every crevace possible so seal the hatch.
    and also jeep in mind them over zealous sheriff’s and fish cop bitches, they think they are in hitlers army and always trying to get that golden toaster at the end of the month!




    The police state fought a WAR against alternative living regarding weed and have lost under the weight of their own debt. Now they want to stop and say, ‘ oh, we’ll just tax you or you can buy it from us ‘. Really? Lives wrecked, people murdered, property broken and stolen, children taken from parents- and the list of their crimes goes on.

    Why give in now?

    Why pay them a cent?

    When you fight a battle and the enemy starts to cut and run, you don’t sit there and yell, ‘ we won ‘.

    No, you chase the enemy and hit them in the back while they are running away.

    Making weed lawful and unregulated in California, can turn around the other states that have given into government greed. If we do this here, Washington and Colorado will understand they’ve been duped and will toss off the yoke of tyranny.

    Years back growers grew to toss off the yoke and take control of their own lives. People have gotten away from their core values and are way too quick to kiss a government ass.

    We kick ass, not kiss it.

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