Dope Growers or Cannabis Cultivators?
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Humboldt County’s marijuana industry has operated in the shadows for decades, while at the same time becoming a larger and larger element in our community. It is good that the discussion as to how it would be regulated, if recreational use becomes legal, is coming forward. However the brash attempt to take over the discussion by the California Cannabis Voice Humboldt (CCVH) is simply not acceptable.Of course it is going to be awkward stepping into the light after operating in the black market for all these years, but CCVH took a wrong turn in creating an ordinance that completely ignores relevant issues already brought up by the environmental community and others. Claiming “victory” was far too premature.If we are to assume that 2016 brings a ballot measure that is successful in legalizing recreational use, there are many other factors that would need to be addressed in any relevant ordinance. Among them would be what could be allowed to be used to grow these plants that people are going to be inhaling into their lungs. Stricter than organic standards should to be set solidly in place and be palatable to the end user. 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.Also missing from the proposed ordinance is any way to pay for all the regulation and enforcement. While it was easy to recruit a lot of tax free dollars for their cause, CCVH’s efforts would have seemed more sincere if there was that kind of money put towards the huge costs associated with regulating farms and the cleanup of abandoned grows.Certainly the prospect of turning timber lands into patchwork grow sites needs to be further addressed as EPIC director Natalynne DeLapp and others have mentioned. Forest soils unsuitable for marijuana cultivation has led to massive transport of topsoil from sometimes hundreds of miles away. The diverting of scant water from creeks to ridgetops in order to feed thirsty plants is far from green as we all know.If indeed there is to be a need for large amounts of marijuana to be grown in Humboldt County, perhaps the Samoa industrial site is most suited. The county and/or the Harbor district could develop a co-op type facility where Humboldt residents could rent an area that has been converted into a greenhouse and share processing and growing equipment. Regulations and security would be rather simple to enforce. While not maybe a coastal dependent industry, it is a heavily water dependent industry and there is plenty available that is not being diverted from streams. Fox Farm is already making soils nearby and growers, excuse me cultivators, should even be able to utilize the organic byproduct from the aquaculture enterprise that may also be developed on the old industrial site.Coastal zone agriculture is an allowable use as is certain industry. This is where it would need to be determined whether it is agriculture or industry or some how both.The Humboldt “brand” could evolve from the mountain top stripping, stream water robbing, pesticide poisoning, cartel controlled dope into a converted industrial wasteland, permaculture, cooperatively produced, better than organic cannabis.The multiple research aspects of such a facility could be a very valuable component worth developing as well.High cannabinoid, low THC strains being developed for medicinal purposes would fall under different classifications as would “personal“ gardens of under say 5 plants per household per year.If dope growers actually do want to evolve into cannabis cultivators they may want to listen to what the rest of the community has to say.