Where To Now?
Charlie Custer, in the North Coast Journal, just wrote a well thought out, articulate story on the future of Humboldt now that Prop. 19 did not pass. If you don’t want to follow this link, at least read this excerpt.
…Whether people like it or not, marijuana is the biggest industry in the county. Like any big industry, it has effects both good and bad. Unlike other big industries, its effects aren’t regulated. In fact, they’re barely discussed. It’s a great irony of our present political situation that attempts to regulate Humboldt’s potlands in our General Plan Update and timber production zone guidelines — neither of which even mention the “M” word — have failed spectacularly. One side wants property rights respected but doesn’t particularly care about marijuana. The other side wants strong regulations such as Option A but doesn’t discuss marijuana’s role in making such regulations necessary, pre-empting discussion of mitigation.
…There had been no wave of McMansion subdividers when the General Plan controversies erupted, but there is a tidal wave of marijuana subdividers flooding our rural areas right now, while current residents use more water, land and resources every year to grow ever more weed.
What’s our carrying capacity? Is there a breaking point? Is functional planning possible here, or must we, like the people of Mendocino and Arcata before us, respond to the dark side of economic development with a reactive backlash rather than a pro-active plan?
These aren’t theoretical questions. Two weeks ago, after several marijuana ordinance proposals were submitted to the Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Mark Lovelace was assigned to design a comprehensive plan for public input and a process for completing the county’s medical marijuana regulations. He’ll announce the process in January. This delay would have been scary if Prop. 19 had succeeded, because we’d be holding those discussions while sprinting in a fixed race. Since it failed, we have the time we need to conduct countywide discussions of what pot means to our county, and perhaps agree on what we want it to mean. We’re lucky we have time to do this right.