‘The Beginning of a Better Model’: Supervisor Fennell Talks Cannabis (Part 2)

This article first appeared in the Emerald Tribune. (Follow them on Facebook for more cannabis news.) The following article is reprinted here with their gracious permission.

Estelle Fennell

Estelle Fennell [Photo from Emerald Tribune]

We sat down with second district Supervisor Estelle Fennell to discuss the state of cannabis in the county and beyond. This is part two, part one can be read here.Emerald Tribune: Do you ever worry about the negative economic impacts that may come from shutting down illegal grows?

Estelle Fennell:I see it as rebalancing. I remember the last time I talked with The Emerald Tribune, we discussed changing the course of a very large ship midstream. That’s what we’re doing right now.

It all depends on how you look at it. I have a positive and optimistic outlook. I think that once the state is issuing licenses, and the dispensaries can only buy and sell permitted cannabis, that the price of products will rise, and permitted farms will have an advantage over the black market.

As far as the economy goes, it’s amazing to see how many jobs have been created because of the legalization of cannabis. Every contractor in Humboldt County is busy. There’s a tremendous amount of activity happening, just tied to those people who are trying to get a permit.

I think that in the long run, we should stabilize and actually be healthier. That’s my goal. I know that it’s difficult for some people, who are maybe small, and think that is too expensive to get involved. One of the things that’s happened, both as a result of AUMA, and now as a result of a revamped ordinance, is that there’s allowance for smaller zoning clearance operations. I think that over time, people will begin to understand that it’s not as costly as it seems.

We’re trying to make it as user-friendly as possible. A lot of people are not used to dealing with the government. They’re not used to dealing with going into a permitting process.

This might be a bit of a controversial statement here, but when has that ever stopped me: some people thought that they had to go to consultants, because it was too complicated, and some consultants did not come through as well as they might have. They charged a lot of money, and they didn’t get to the finish line. I think that’s a concern. But as we flesh things out and the state fleshes things out, it’ll be a little easier. There are models that people can come up with.

I’ve heard one idea now from several people. It used to be, somebody who was growing medicinal marijuana would grow it, cure it, process it, bring it to market, and do all of those things.

The idea now is, people who are good at cultivating could cultivate, and people who are good at retail, or cooking, can do that arm of it. People can manufacture, and there can be cooperatives, and I think that that may wind up to be the model for some of the Mom and Pop’s.

Maybe there will be a central location where the processing happens. That will be good for the roads, and also for carpal tunnel syndrome. But the bottom line is that there are ways for people to find a niche. The industry will have many different facets.

We’re making a regulated world out of an unregulated world. Some people are not business people. Some people don’t understand that when you establish a small business, you don’t make much money the first couple of years.

That’s a very long answer to your concern. It is one that’s been bandied about by people in the community, that this is the end. I don’t think it has to be the end, but that it could be the beginning of a better model.

We do have a plan in mind. You have to be realistic about the elephant that has been in the room for a long time. There was a lot of cash in Humboldt County, and that cash supported a lot of businesses, without any acknowledgement of where it came from.

To turn that around and be successful, because of this change in the law, could be very healthy. I’d love it if we can get to a time when we don’t go on Google Earth and see a whole bunch of bald spots on the side of a mountain, because people went out there to cut down trees and grow illegally.

It seems really overwhelming when you look at the ordinance. You open up a page and it references section 55. You go to that section and it says you have to go to the appendix of the zoning ordinance. I get lost, and I’m used to reading this kind of stuff. How could anybody sitting out in the hills think this is going to be easy?

But it isn’t as complicated as it looks on paper. Depending on what you envision and what business model you would like to pursue, there will be a way to do it.

There’s been a number of advocacy groups that are really interested in helping their neighbors and their community to make it through this. I go to events, and people take me aside and tell me about their worries. I’m looking forward to when we pass this new ordinance, because it’ll open up opportunities for people that couldn’t do this before.

I’d love to see a time when a section of the housing in our rural areas was not taken up for indoor growing. We need housing. We need workforce housing. The plants should be out in the sun, and the people should be in the houses! So hopefully we will make that happen.

Emerald Tribune:Tell us about the Track and Trace pilot program.

Estelle Fennell:The state, in its wisdom, decided that they are going to do one model statewide. We participate in that, but Humboldt County and others around us decided that we needed our own Track and Trace program, too. The state uses software called Excella, and it’s easy for Humboldt County’s program, SICPA, to use the same data.

I’m very proud of Humboldt for this. I really like SICPA, and I really like the model that we came up with. It’s very helpful to the county, and it’s also helpful to the cultivator.

I’m even happier now than when we first made that decision. SICPA is a known entity, they know what it’s like in Humboldt County, they’ve already worked with cultivators on this model. Their model makes it possible to also strengthen the Humboldt brand.

Humboldt County products will feature a special stamp with a QR code. You can take your phone and scan it to learn where the product came from. If the grower allows it, you can see what the garden looks like, what the family looks like, what the end product looks like, what it was like to grow that plant.

Law enforcement officers can quickly verify who’s permitted, and who has a right to be taking what product to market. From the retailer’s perspective, they can see that it actually did come from Humboldt County, and display it appropriately.

We’re right now in the process of coming up with the Humboldt stamp. There will be a small fee for doing the State and County systems, but I think it will be well worth the money.

When legalization began rolling out around a year ago, there were some outfits that popped up out of nowhere, calling themselves Humboldt products. Thanks to Senator McGuire and Assemblyman Wood working with the state legislature, now there’s a provision in state law that prohibits that. You can’t take the name of a county and put it on your product, unless you’re actually growing in that county.

One example was a vape pen called hmbldt. That name will be illegal, starting in January. It won’t be acceptable to use the name of Humboldt, or something that appears to imply the name. It would be the same for Mendocino with MNDCN, or Trinity with TRNTY.

We are beginning to see a lot of manufacturing and processing and packaging at a local level. Product is being pre-packaged down to the joints and the cigarettes and other products, and the more broken down the products are, the greater their value in the long run. It’s called a value-added product.

If somebody has a pound of marijuana and it’s not broken up into different products, like lotions or cookies, then the only thing that gets the stamp is that pound. If it’s broken up into quarters or cigarettes, each one of those gets a stamp.

If that pound goes outside of Humboldt County and is then broken up, those value-added products won’t get the Humboldt stamp. So that is an incentive for people to locate their manufacturing businesses, their processing and packaging and distribution businesses, in Humboldt County. That’s another important part of Track and Trace.

We have had overwhelming support from the industry for actually going that extra step with SICPA. When they did the pilot program, products that had the Humboldt branding got priority placement in the dispensaries down south.

Humboldt is recognized as a brand, and so this gives people the ability to take advantage of that before it goes away. Obviously the industry will do more branding, but the counties stamp is branding in and of itself.

Emerald Tribune:What should cannabis growers in the second district keep in mind?

Estelle Fennell:I think cannabis growers in the second district and Humboldt in general should keep in mind that we are really working on making this a system that works for everybody. If we pull together, I think we can achieve what seems like a huge task. I actually see change happening faster than I expected it to. It just takes a little bit.

There’s quite a number of people who have stepped up and put themselves on the line, and have become the examples of the way to do it. I’m not saying anything negative about those who haven’t started permitting, but I just love meeting people who have gone through the process. It’s so nice to hear them saying, “You know what, I’m glad I did this, I really am.”

I was kind of holding my breath there, because it’s tough. People felt ignored, they felt discriminated against, they felt all that stuff for years. So I knew it was going to be a challenge for some people to step up, and so I’m so proud of the ones who have. Some of them are very conscious people. Across the board, rednecks and hippies, they’re all doing it.

The other day, the Director said that of the 2,300 applications that came in, 1,800 have completed their applications. That’s enormous, because completing your application means dealing with the Fish and Wildlife Service, Cal Fire, Water Quality Control, the Tribes, and so many other entities, as well as the Planning Department and the Agricultural Commissioner.

To think that so many people have made it all the way to having a complete application is very impressive. I think we owe a big thanks to the people who have gone through all that process, and a very big thanks also to our Planning Director, who had the vision to bring on extra people to handle this historic change.

When I first got involved in Humboldt County government, the complaint was that you couldn’t get a permit through, and we’re not even talking about cannabis. Now they’re just churning through stacks and stacks every day. It’s become way more efficient. It’s like a gift in disguise to the Planning Department, to become more streamlined and better operating.

What’s been a model for very long time in California, and I would say across the nation, is that the more populated areas got most of the attention. The issues that were important to rural areas, such as Fish and Wildlife, didn’t get as much attention from the legislature. There wasn’t as much attention to those issues. Now it’s statewide, and in every single county there are issues that need to be addressed, and they need to be addressed now. So it’s good for rural counties to have more of a say at the State level, and we’re feeling it. I think we could do a lot of good.

Supervisor Fennell can be reached at her county email at efennell@co.humboldt.ca.us.

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119 comments

  • Bald spots on the side of a mountain…. aka firebreaks in a forest that will burn down any year now…. they own the mountain, deal with the bald spot differently — it protects the rest of the forest. Ecologist worried about forest fires are cutting trees on national forest to save the forest… firebreaks and water on hand also helps protect the forest…. maybe stop spying on locals on Google earth… if it’s on your land (national forest or some park) that’s one thing but if a guy chops down a tree on his own timber parcel, that’s called timber production… if he smokes or grows pot is a prejudicial question, and none of estelle’s business.

    We voted to make it legal aka not a problem to do your own thing… not to make it illegal, but legal… free the weed

    Ban the pesticides and fine folks for using bad pesticides…. logging is allowed on 3 acres per parcel. You can even sell 3k of timber per quarter wo a hall pass.

    • AKA fragmentation.

      • Tell that to my aunt in Santa Rosa… something to do with 2 billion Chinese people starting to drive to work after bicycling to work for the past fifty years…or exxon…or monsanto… not a dang doper though… ban bad chemicals at the retail level… sewage? I mean if a bear s#$ in the woods…

    • Support your constituents

      Honeydew farms now controls a market share 0f say 50 -150 mom n pop medicinal grows looking at the numbers (7 acres x 43,560 sq ft per acre =304,920 sq ft .This was humboldt county’s first approved commercial grow .Estelle glad you are listening to your constituents and supporting your community. Sellout is a phrase that comes to mind.

      • From what i heard, honeydew farms was in the know and was already ahead of the pack once legalization came around, i heard they were developing there whole properties as if it was a winery / vineyard thats how come everything they had was so permit able. Once the weed permits came out they were basically already in compliance with the new rules. Also i heard the county wanted to permit these larger grows first so they could take in the larger fees to pay for the counties permitting costs.

        • It’s not difficult to get a copy of prop 64 or building and planning codes or the NCRWQB’s suggested best management practices, just like it’s not that hard to be the guy who gets their paperwork in on day 1 instead of 1 hour before the deadline. Really I don’t know about this guy or his product/practices but there’s nothing magical or diabolical about just getting your shit together quicker than the other stoners around here. He obviously owns other businesses and is used to filling out forms and doing research before he builds or applies for permits.

          I considered starting a new mj thing so I spent plenty of time at the planning department and I can tell you it was sad to see how terribly uneducated many applicants were, you could tell the language in the codes and on the forms was WAY over the heads of some. I actually started wondering how many 2nd generation growers had ever read a book, or could read at an adult level. I hope this industry survives locally, against all odds, for their sake because I am quite sure they’re not very employable in another one.

    • Cutting the trees at the scale of mj grows is not the problem. The primary problems are illegal and ill-informed grading and road building, water diversions and sediment and nutrient runoff that harm endangered fish, pesticide pollution and trash, untreated sewage, and damage to watercourse protection zones.

      It is true that logging is allowed on 3 acres, but only if a registered forester visits the site and confirms that there are no violations of the forest practice rules.

      The plain truth is that greed causes people to do unethical and harmful things and the scale of cannabis cultivation is large enough that the potential damage from the stupid things that some growers do is significant. We live in a civilized society that manages problems like this through the legal process via regulation and enforcement.

      • Hrmm and what rights does anyone or any goverment have to tell you what you must do ot not do on your own property ? You buy the land , you pay taxes on the land you should be able to use it as you see fit. If you want the goverment to have a say, then you should have the tax payers buy that land . Short of that maybe give hige tax breaks to land owners that dont cut their trees, but fining them or making them get inspections and permits is pure utter bullshit.

        • If your activities move beyond your property that is a problem. Most of the laws you’re referring to are based on that concept. Do you want someone upriver from you sending pollution or sediment your way?

          • And the redcoats based stuff on common law… not even the limeys could stop hemp our constitution was written on it…

        • That’s an argument straight out the anti-government right wingers whose minds are stuck in the 19th century. I hate to burst your bubble, but the frontier closed over 100 years ago. We have come under management. You do not have the right to do anything you want on your land. You cannot poison the air or water. You cannot cause harm to public resources such as salmon. You cannot open up a strip club next to an elementary school. You cannot put a pig farm in a residential neighborhood. And you can’t suck all the water out of a stream in order to grow weed.

          • You can do all of the banned things you mentioned by greasing off a lackey down at planning… that’s the point… if they wanted to permit everyone then permit everyone and work backwards. Maybe they should buy it all too… that way everyone will pay the taxmio

            The water board? We live in the wettest place on earth… like saying there’s not enough sand in the sahara… why should we send our water to Bakersfield so those guys can get rich?

    • Good riddance, Estelle Fennel

      This is one of the best points made. Prior to the surfacing of the supervisors rules, the entire board, notably Estelle, encouraged subdividing large lots for “timber production” aka clearcutting, as well as estate development, three full acres per RURAL parcel. Its as if she believes she is in no way responsible for the problems she complains about. As far as “the beginning of a better model” goes, she was fully aware of the publics concerns and wish lists years ago. They could have and should have produced the better model the first time.

      • There are always kick backs from major companies, she wants a piece of that pie. Humboldt county supervisor in her district is in a sweet spot. Internationally known for marijuana. But I’m sure it’s all straightforward business. Right

  • Good point bear. Its not legal. Its being criminalized,taxes,regulated,and as Estelle puts it “ all the contractors are busy and everyone’s spending a lot of money to get “legal”. Hmmmm yes for the moment,until a lot of those people are found guilty and fined money and further punishment. Only a few will make it out alive and actually make “good” money at this new game. I’ll stick with my old game,the game I was born n raised onto,the game of being an outlaw. Im not one of those greenrushers. Im not the one raping the land to only walk away when getting busted. I’ve been born n raised here,only knowing the outlaw game of rolling the dice and adapt and changing to not get busted. I will find away to make it, the late 80s taught “us” all that! Besides,this is all only a gamble for everyone exploring this new world of marijuana. Yes it’s still marijuana! A class 1 drug enforced by our God fearing government. Its not legal,it’s just being criminalized for the moment! Adapt and change. A quote i heard not to long ago….”If the system fails you,create you’re own system.”

  • Weed outside the home, people inside the home. So everyone can see it. There will be an in increase in indoor grows. Black market will remain healthy because few can afford $100,00+ to get into compliance and taxes are ridiculous. Growers don’t want the governmental state level or federal knocking at their doors whenever they please. Many voted no for this reason. Once your in the system they have the control.

    • 👍🏼

    • My farm is fully compliant and about to get permits and here was my costs

      Timberland Resources / Waterboard certificate $5,000
      Cultural Resource study $2500
      Water Tanks $10,000
      Inspected Electrical $2000
      New Culverts $3000
      County Fees $2000
      State Fees $6000
      County Cultivation Tax $7500
      Creation of LLC $500
      New Well $11000
      New Septic $15000
      Fencing $4000
      New Sheds $5000
      CPA for taxs $1500
      Advertising / Website $5000

      This also doesn’t take into account the new Bathroom Facility and Large Drying Room that still need to be built.

      I know there was some other costs that i cant think of right now.

      In total this has costs me almost 100k, when its all done.

      I am a small mom and pop farm, my property is less than 2 acres and is zoned AG and is flat.

      I was told my property was one of the easier properties to get compliant.

      • Small mom and pop? Yet you have 100k to spend to get legal. Sounds like bullshit to me

      • Lucrative sport of the rich.drug selling.

      • Is your website up yet?

      • For a new grow on prime ag, no surface water, perfect roads, with city water and power in place, so basically as easy as possible, I was estimating $500,000 in costs, no write-offs, legal uncertainty due to the current administration’s negative position on it, and really the industry here could evaporate. Did I mention the ADA laws actually mean you need a disabled parking spot, entryway ramp, and 3 foot wide parhs in the greenhouses? All plants must be accessible from a wheelchair. I notice that one isn’t even understood by the engineers and consultants but if you have employees, it’s required. I had to show the code to the guy drawing up my plans and he was quite surprised and mentioned how all the other plans he had submitted were lacking that. This guy said he had just taken in 25 the day before and told me he was charging $15,000 to fill out the applications for people also, just for the one form. No thanks, I’ll stick with my job and no debt.
        In modern agriculture, crops are grown where the climate suits them and shipped out on major roads. That’s not here, unfortunately. The fact that it is a dried product and not fresh is the only reason we even have a chance.

    • The reason getting into compliance is so expensive for many growers is that they have done things that are harmful to the environment, such as rampant grading and road building, growing in stream protection zones, and depleting the water that fish need to survive. The timber industry did these things and worse during the first round of logging in this area. The result was imposition of the forest practice rules. Some marijuana farmers are just as greedy and just as ignorant of the environmental effects of their activities as the redneck loggers, which is why regulation is needed.

      • The thing is, these are the permitted ones now… they grease off the county to go after the environmentalist hippy dopers ala mom n pop.

        • So, in your universe, the big growers are paying Estelle for protection from the regulations in order to persecute the cannabis funded homesteaders?

          Please show your evidence.

          • “We will use money from compliance fees to go after non-compliant” growers.

            Now they are skipping using the dirty money to fund enforcement and are sending out ransom notes on locked gates instead…

            Have you been paying attention?

            • They are Notices of Violations in cases where there is evidence of illegal grading, development in stream protection buffers, etc. This is how public resources such as salmon are protected from harm by unscrupulous and/or ignorant operators. If some people weren’t such idiots, regulation would not be necessary. But they are. And it is.

              • I actually agree with some of the stream stuff, but the water and discharge stuff seems vague. No one is suing or fining fertilizer or pesticide companies or loggers, oil companies, or drillers for their crimes against nature… just fining the little expendible hippy doper at the bottom… im not a hippy mind you i just dont like timber valuation compared to agforest valuation.
                . to me the regulations are backwards, but I’m a business person.

                • If a logger decides to push a road into a stream protection zone without permission, they’ll be hit with a stop order from CalFire. If they don’t take immediate steps to fix the problem to the satisfaction of CalFire, they’ll lose their LTO license and their livelihood. Same with oil drillers. These activities require permits and inspections and those who ignore the rules lose their licenses. That’s life in the modern world. The Forest Practice Rules are constantly updated in recognition of the fact that rule-making is a difficult task, that oversights and miscalculations are inevitable, and new knowledge is constantly coming to light. The cannabis rules will go through the same process of refinement as experience reveals their shortcomings.

          • Still killing off the salmon

  • With no real enforcement, and not legal across all of the US, you’re just putting lipstick on a pig Estelle

    • There is real enforcement, didnt you hear almost all the illigal farms are going to get 10,000 dollar a day fines or face loosing there properties.

      • Lol. That’s not inforcing of the black market,that’s inforcing “legal” grows. Tax.regulate.fine.punish. So hum smoker. Good luck. Seriously. Track n trace is about to change your world. New York,Philly,Iowa,and Texas will be very hungry for humboldt black market weed All this legal cali weed (100,000s of lbs) will only be sold in a flooded California market.

  • First of all, the dope growers did a masterful PR job in changing the name in use to cannabis, it sounds so much more dignified than grass, pot, weed, dope or even marijuana. They also got enough morons to call it medicine.

    It is not medicine. It is a drug to get you stoned and stoned is all it does. Our society has to many stoned losers already and the bd of supervisors seem to be blind to the long term effects of encouraging more dope growers.

  • The state needs to drop the exise tax per ounce for mom and pop growers. The state needs to assure growers that they will be taxed on a level playing field, by allowing the write off of business expenses. The state should also allow a deduction to offset the federal refusal to allow the write off of business expenses. The goal should be to gently bring the growers into the tax base, not gouge them for every penny they make.

    • Which is exactly what seems to be the case now!!!! Every last nickel they can squeeze a permitted grower for the better!!! So it seems at least!!! I’m not a grower I don’t even grow my own but it seems to me as a fairly impartial observer, it looks to me like the County is trying to balance their budget on the backs of the permitted growers!!!

    • You are allowed to write of costs of cultivation as grower on your taxs, Its called COGS Cost of Good Services.
      This means as a grower you can lease your own property to yourself and call that a write off, also all your materials, business expenses etc are also write offs. The law applies to cannabis clubs much harsher because they deal with buying marijuana, this cannot be a write of because of 290e law. As a cultivator you can just outsource all the labor to someone who is a independent contractor and they can perform all the work on your farm and that can also be a write off.

      In fact there is totally ways to make tons of money without paying hardly and taxes on your farm.
      Just ask someone who owns a winery, all the improvements to the property are tax write offs also you can write off depreciation of your land due to farming activities.

      • You can only deduct COGS if you claim income on the sales of those products. As far as I know, nobody is filing federal income tax returns based on marijuana sales.

        • I don’t think you are right, i have already paid income tax both federal and local on my cannabis sales, i have also paid the BOE for sales taxs. I have a federal EIN, and i have claimed all my expenses as COGS, I had this all done by a professional CPA who deals with cannabis specifically.

          • Did you claim your income as farm income or retail or wholesale sales?

          • Federal taxes paid on a federally illegal substance…I’m sure the CPA firm working your case is aware of the danger- as they are the only one dealing with these cases. Legitimate CPA offices won’t touch them. Jeff Sessions and the IRS will have a field day whenever they decide to push that button. I’m sorry for you. Please have an escape plan….

        • O the IRS is gonna have a hay day on back tax files….. sooooooo um where did u get this 100-200k to invest in drug production?

          • I suspect there are hundreds of cannabis growers sitting on million dollar properties and showing no income for the past 20 or 30 years. IRS could have a field day if they wanted.

    • I agree i think they passed the tax assuming an unrealistically high price for cannabis, how can the state want close to 150$ a lb when the prices are always going down, other states have tied the tax to a % based on selling price.

  • Good riddance, Estelle Fennel

    She can talk all she wants at this point, thats all she is…talk. Im not buying her bullshit a second time.

  • Fudge proof system. I'm so sure.

    …”You can take your phone and scan it to learn where the product came from. If the grower allows it, you can see what the garden looks like, what the family looks like, what the end product looks like, *** what it was like to grow that plant***…”

    What the actual fuck is she talking about ? Your product from that plant ? Hahahahaha .

    • Good riddance, Estelle Fennel

      Seriously, its a sticker on a package. Its as easy to fake as putting the same sticker on a different package. Its a money grab and a bunch of bureaucratic idiocy.

  • Good riddance, Estelle Fennel

    Pay attention to how she always refers to “a lot of people” and continues to speak as though “a lot of people” who adamantly oppose policies shes directly responsible for, are magically supporting her. She is as bad as a mouthpiece politician can be.

    • fuckwalterwhite.com

      Yeah. She use “some people” a lot,too.

    • Absolutely agreed she is a stereotypical politician!!! When she opens her mouth, nothing but Doublespeak Gibberish comes out!!! That seemed to be the case at the meeting at Bridgeville school a couple of years ago!!! The meeting was to discuss the “Bulgarian Green Rushers” threatening locals whose property & water sources they were hijacking !!! Basically all we got for answers was “Don’t worry be happy” here’s your new resident deputy fresh out of CR’s “Pork Academy” doesn’t know JACK about the area, lives in Hydesville but yet claims a 30 min response time to McClellan Mountain & points East!!! Rather difficult to achieve under even ideal circumstances!!!

  • fuckwalterwhite.com

    “So As far as the economy goes, it’s amazing to see how many jobs have been created because of the legalization of cannabis.”
    “very big thanks also to our Planning Director, who had the vision to bring on extra people to handle this”
    -Yeah,gov’t employees.

    “there’s allowance for smaller zoning clearance operations.”
    -because we need more weed?

    ” People felt ignored, they felt discriminated against, they felt all that stuff for years. So I knew it was going to be a challenge for some people to step up, and so I’m so proud of the ones who have.”
    Yeah,families that aren’t weed-worshipers. I’m proud of the people that DON’T surround their kids with drug-culture.

    Etc,etc,etc….

    Every damn paragraph is just politician-talk twisting facts to make pot sound so great for everybody.

    Absolutely NO consideration for non weed worshipers. Families will suffer.

  • fuckwalterwhite.com

    Major drug problems in the area. Higher than average.

    But creating gov’t jobs to oversee the production and sale of weed will help us all…..fkn drug dealing politicians.

    Sounds like one gang trying to take over every city corner.

  • fuckwalterwhite.com

    “When I first got involved in Humboldt County government, the complaint was that you couldn’t get a permit through, and we’re not even talking about cannabis. Now they’re just churning through stacks and stacks every day.”

    Federal criminals deeming State criminals legal. Sounds fair. Pay up.

  • So what’s it like in other counties? Do you have to have already clear cut and altered streambeds to be able to grow your “legal” pot, or can you pay and plant like other crops? What grinds my gears is how all the scumbags that did the most damage and ruined the environment are the ones who are actually being rewarded by being able to “permit” their mega grows. On what planet is that ok? Insane.

    • I’m not you but I agree with you here haha. Yes, as someone who investigated the process for a new, from the start compliant grow, it’s definitely harder than if you just ripped up your property years ago. I had to convince them to let me pour enough concrete to accommodate a disabled parking spot and wheelchair ramp from it to the door because they don’t want any prime ag land permanently covered. I remember saying, if you require this in the code then you have to accommodate a way for me to acomplish it! I think the argument is to fix the damage already done, and I did feel they were doing their best at the planning department, but it’s a mess to be sure and seems backwards to grandfather in the code and law violators.

  • fuckwalterwhite.com

    “There’s no such thing as good money or bad money.There’s just money. ~ Lucky Luciano.

    “Judges, lawyers and politicians have a license to steal. We don’t need one.” ~ Carlo Gambino.

    “If you have a lot of what people want and can’t get, then you can supply the demand and shovel in the dough.” ~ Lucky Luciano.

    “We’re making a regulated world out of an unregulated world. Some people are not business people. ” -Estelle Fennell

  • Dazed N. Confused

    “I think that once the state is issuing licenses, and the dispensaries can only buy and sell permitted cannabis, that the price of products will rise, and permitted farms will have an advantage over the black market.” – Estelle Fennell

    A report from a credit rating agency suggests that California’s high tax rates on marijuana – which could reach 45% depending on local taxes – may result in an ongoing or even thriving black market for cannabis.

    According to Fitch Ratings – the agency that compiled the report – “the existing black market for cannabis may prove a formidable competitor to legal markets if new taxes lead to higher prices than available from illicit sources,” The Washington Post reported.

    Many growers will revert back to indoor diesel grows. The County is light years behind so many other jurisdictions throughout the State. In fact many local farmers have left to purchase land in San Benito, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Yolo, Stanislaus, Merced, Calaveras counties, not to mentin those who have gone to Oregon. It’s the beginning of the end for many farmers. Humboldt will feel this for decades. Local stores and businesses have already seen sales decline. It’s coming…..high unemployment, dependency on social services, increased crime and decreased property values. It not just the County’ fault, the State is to blame as well. The northern California rural communities/counties is where it all started. Cannabis is the major economic driver in at least Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino County’s. Our local leaders should have worked with the State to ensure as much as possible, that cannabis production for the State continued to come from these counties.

    The Notice of Violations that recently went out were premature. The County’s goal is to bring these folks into compliance, but they may not even be able to make application. A number of growers who were notified are going to walk away from their properties. The penalties and liens are applied to the parcels. Those folks who sold to the farmers and still hold a note will ultimately be responsible for penalties possibly up to $900,000. They too will walk away from the properties and lose them to tax sales. The penalties should be waived in exchange for remediation other wise the citizens will be footing the bill for the remediation.

    As far as bald spots, it’s okay to get a less than 3 acre conversion for grapes, olives, apple trees, corrals and riding arenas. Take a look at Google in the Sierra’s, all those 40 acre bald spots by Sierra Pacific are all approved and have been determined not to have a significant impact on the environment.

    As far as contractors (I believe she means consultant’s), yes they are getting rich. I’ve heard many farmers have spent tens of thousands of dollars to get their application complete only to be told “no”.

    • You are right that you can clear 3 acres of forestland. However, you are required to have a registered forester visit the site and confirm that there are no violations of the forest practice rules, including stream buffers, grading and roads, etc. All of SPI’s little cut blocks were done under permit from CalFire and overseen by a professional forester.

      (I agree that the high taxes on legal weed will only serve to strengthen the black market.)

    • Just one point you made I would disagree with; the recent code violation letters going out do not give people a path towards permitting their grows. There are no permit applications being accepted now. The purpose is to fine people who did not get permits and put the black market out of business.

      • Again, they should have permitted their grows when they had the chance. Why give them “a path towards permitting their grows”? Stick the finger up to the man and get slapped. Thats just part of the game Emily.

  • Limit the maximum size of grow to 10,000 square feet!! That will protect the environment and allow small farmers to have a chance.

  • Estelle has diarrhea of the mouth nothing but shit comes out of it. She has not done anything to help us in humboldt just look at our roads and schools totally falling apart.

  • I mean, you aren’t required to give a reach around but a lot of anti-weed folks do it anyways…lol….

    I talked to a cal-fire guy and he said they don’t bug you if it’s a 1 acre on a 100 acre tract — “that’s your crop” he told the loggers… Only “if he’s (district head) a real nazi” do you get fined… Firemen are cool, they know this is a huge shitshow meant to push all the nature loving hippies out of the woods so the logging companies an gov. Lackies can go to town.

  • Victor G. Flashman

    I hope it is clear that growers have lost all control over their “industry”, and that without big funding, you risk significant legal exposure. Also, the “Supervisors” have sold you out. It looks apparent that the money has greased up the folks in power, and Humboldt only respects income.

    I hope all supervisors coming up for election will be replaced, and the “11th hour action crew” currently serving the people of Humboldt, will find them selves voted off the island!

    Good luck, dopers, your world will change a lot next season!

  • fuckwalterwhite.com

    “Old-timers” always complain about green rushers. Saying they were here first,and developed a community,without enforcement” . Look what it got you. Sounds like it was up to “you”, to have made sure your neighbors weren’t fucking up the land. But while you were free-wheelin’ and building Mateels you should have been cracking down on your bad counterparts.
    Mom&Pop should not be a term used in association with drugs manufacturers.

    • The term “Mom & Pop” is applied to small farmer-homesteaders who grow weed in their gardens, not industrial producers or manufacturers.

    • Thank you! I heartily agree. It was up to us to regulate ourselves and our neighbors. But nobody wanted to face that reality. And everybody wanted to believe we were all on the “same team”. We were not. I posted suggestions here that we should be turning in the nastiest grows and that the sheriff should get to work eradicating the profit motive for greedy and destructive operations. Because back then every public action or inaction had a magnifying effect…it was snowballing. I got roundly insulted…and the sheriff never did shit- for 10 years! So here we are now. Hope everybody’s happy. Does it look now like we are all on the “same team”? No, we are not. The best and smallest get run over while the greediest get legitimitized and prepped for yet more $$$…while the multi-national corporations begin their pounce. And our supervisors tell us they “did their best”. Did their best to line their own nests and hook up their associates! Where is the national story on this shitshow?! Mother Jones? Rolling Stone? High Times? They are all silent…as the last real mom n pops are extinguished.

  • One thing no one talks about. What happens when the legal weed crop is twice what the legal dispensaries are selling? What happens to the rest? And dig-the biggest dispensaries, the ones that move the most weed, are growing their own. Black market weed is going for $500/pound now, and that’s BEFORE competition from the Big Ag pigs like Steve DeAngelo, et al.
    “At Harborside Farms, which plans to harvest a stunning five crops a year, “we will become one of the most sophisticated greenhouse operations anywhere in California, harvesting every week, like an assembly line,” vowed CEO Steve DeAngelo.[he said of his Salinas Valley project)”
    http://www.thecannifornian.com/cannabis-business/cultivation/green-rush-salinas-valley-turns-fields-chrysanthemums-cannabis/
    http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/california-weed/article140700623.html
    DeAngelo is investing $30 million. Paying Mexican laborers $15/hr. I’ve heard he also bought up land in Humboldt so he could offer “Humboldt grown”. And this is just one guy. Add in the Marley Corp investing more millions, all these wall street fuckers, and it’s game over.
    To the folks that say ‘Yeah, but people will always pay more for the best’, I say, they’re paying $500/pound now for “the best”. Boom goes bust.

  • tired of all this

    Blah blah blah. As I type…the rules have changed again. As they do every time this incompetent board meets. A less savvy, less sophisticated governing body is difficult to envision. Estelle sold us all down the river & has done nothing to make Humboldt county cannabis what it should have been: the premier cannabis grown by artisan growers in infinite variety on small farms. Every word she speaks…including her own name, is a lie.

  • It could be worse. If we were in Afghanistan, we’d have poppys coming out of our ears. All it took for them to achieve 45% increase in production was a little bit of government interference.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vh16JfwD95Y

  • Mmmmmmmm poppy’s….🤤

  • New color for comments every dY

    After 100 comments the thread gets harder and harder to follow. A like button would be useful too some comments are epic!

  • The industry is pulling mind tricks, Most people are falling for it.
    The legal canabis timeline is moving at a pace thats faster than most can keep up. Don’t lose what you have trying to keep up with a moving target, think deep before taking any action.

    • Greed n fear is why people are making these decisions .common human instinct when faced with uncertainty….and if you are gonna shoot at a moving target…aim in front of it…

  • “That’s enormous, because completing your application means dealing with the Fish and Wildlife Service, Cal Fire, Water Quality Control, the Tribes, and so many other entities, as well as the Planning Department and the Agricultural Commissioner.” Best recheck your facts Estelle only 200 applicants have done the above not 1800.

  • “There will be a small fee for the county and state stamps” why doesn’t that surprise me? at this point the only thing u don’t need to pay for is sunlight. I’m sure that will be next

    • It’s pretty common practice that regulated industries have to pay fees in order to pay the salaries of the people that are hired to enforce the regulations.

  • Not seeing my comments. . . but this tax like all the rest of the newer taxes are not being used as we wish, there seems to be no accountability even here locally.

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