Could Strict Cannabis Regulations Creep Over and Affect Small Food Farmers?

A story in the Mendocino Voice touches on the possible creep of regulations first intended to affect cannabis growers. These regulations could affect food farmers. According to the story about Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meeting on June 6,

In a letter to the board, a man named Mike Adams, who described himself as a “small scale food and cannabis grower,” [cited] the requirements that greenhouses used for cannabis cultivation must be equipped with bathrooms and parking spaces that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). “Although this regulation may seem fair to some,” he wrote, “if applied to non-cannabis agriculture–and I imagine it’s only a matter of time until it would–many of Mendocino’s small food producers would be facing compliance obstacles that would make it too costly to continue farming.”

large Greenhouses in Humboldt County

Greenhouses in Humboldt County in 2014. [Photo from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department]

Though the article doesn’t mention this, small cannabis farmers are also concerned that regulations about bathrooms, etc., meant to protect workers at large cultivation sites are onerous for family farms.

The article linked below addresses other cannabis issues also including one speaker at the meeting who says he “calculated…approximately $40,000 in fees, taxes, and compliance costs of doing business in the cannabis industry.”

Farmers fear regulatory creep



  • It’s not clear to me how renting an ADA-compliant porta john and having some parking spaces is going to put somebody out of business. The food farmers I know do this, and it’s really no big deal.

    • Wheel chair access on a farm. I understand why but will rarley be utilized. Most growers I know still have outhouses.

      While we are worried about water usage. Consider composting toilets. Hello!

      • Come on.. we all know porta-pottys and outhouses don’t use water. Arrgh. Some people….

        • You are correct they don’t, but a true out house should be composting at least in the latrine hole, and hopefully be moved somehow to compost further. And porta potties use a tremendous amount of water in the effect that all that sweage sucked out gets pumped at the sewage plant, which uses water and chemicals to clean water. A compost toilet when applicaple is the best option ever, especially since most animals don’t poop in the same place ever, and it compost fine.. big cities are another story, cuz modern plumbking helps prevent disease in towns and cities with concentrated sewage.. I don’t know if cities anywhere compost the human manure… They could compost it and then use a proven strain if mycelium to negate and eat contaminates, antibiotics, etc in all of our waste

          • I used to get human-ure from Sonoma County landfill & recycling.

            It was great shit

          • Don’t forget the red worms and black soldier flies! They do a tremendous job in “cleaning” contaminants from humanure.
            Humboldt Department of Health (and sanitation) held hearings last year to accumulate information based upon the experiences of folks using composting privies. I wonder what, if anything, ever came of that; they certainly got an education!

          • It’s marketed nation-wide as Malorginite. I’ve checked out several “manufacturers” and it is also produced and sold throughout many states and counties.

            • Honeydew Bridge C.H.U.M.P.


              Stands for Milwaukee Organic Nitrogen

              Biosolids have issues, they are screened for metals, but not pharmaceutical residue.

              There are many issues with cities drafting water from rivers and upstream sewage treatment with pharmaceuticals entering their water supply.

              People should be very cautious before applying biosolids to sites due to the half life of many pharmaceutical compounds.

              Dope growers won’t care because they are used to using pesticides and lying about an organic product, putting people at risk to make money is what the weed terror groupings thrive on when they don’t traffic in humans.

  • Pot farmers need to understand laws relating to businesses. Wait until the ADA comes around! Taxes and labor laws WILL complicate your life in the future, so be aware!

    There are many costs and legal aspects to operating legal businesses. Competition will make your product cheaper, but the government will push you into bankruptcy. Enjoy!

    • If you understand the point of this article it’s legal food farms saying if they have to operate under the new cannabis laws they’d go out of business. So what you really mean is food farmers need to understand laws relating to business. Except their business was legal the whole time. What they’re saying is that if their currently successful business have to operate under the new rules made for cannabis they’ll fail. Does that sound like teaching cannabis farmers to compete in a fair business environment or like they’re being punished because what they grow is cannabis?

      • Great comment!

      • OSHA currently regulates a lot of farming operations -availability of bathrooms, water, and ret breaks for employees. They tightly regulate working conditions. Welcome to the real world.

        • Are we reading the same article? It’s not cannabis growers complaining. It’s farmers who have already been in business complaining that if they have to abide by laws created for cannabis they might go out of business. What I get from that is the new laws are overly restrictive

          • Might maybe want to stop smoking that local product… Making you confused a bit?

            • Again, read the article. What you’re actually saying is “Might maybe want to stop EATING that local product… Making you confused a bit?”
              (emphasis mine)

  • The woes of a blackmarket industry going legit.

  • Funny how the idea of small family cannabis farms getting over regulated is “the woes of black market going legit” but the food farms who have been operating legally the whole time are worried the same regulations will put them out of business. Also funny how the reaction seems to be that these laws and regs were only designed to make things difficult for cannabis farmers but if regular farmers also have to comply it’s an “unintended consequence”.

  • The regulations could… But it’s not likely they’re going to. Selective enforcement seems to be the name of the game. It’s all just to penalize marijuana growers, not to actually do any of the things claimed, ever. For example, do you really think they’ll bust someone for storing water if they’re watering tomatoes? Greenhouse bathrooms sounds like the same category.

  • It’s scale. Part of the problem in my opinion with the highly regulated of liberal world we’ve created is on a large scale it’s nessesary for regulations to insure quality and safety in food, especially food that travels, but I. These rural areas, with a little effort, you can fill your plate with affordable local produce all year… And the more we do that I think the more affordable it will become. the regulations don’t serve a community that can feed itself.

    • It’s legal to dye brown beef red to sell it. Regulations aren’t to protect consumers they’re designed to tilt the playing field to the most generous lobbyists.

    • Area without fertility.central valley is on floor of inland sea.getting saline and country’s most fertile area is soon to be runout (Cadillac Desert).cultivating plankton ,fed good element source,(not petroproduct) takes carbon from air,and puts it in soil for those affected by others runoff happy.whales,salmon.

  • The pics shown above, was this the salmon creek
    Bust a few years back?

  • Oh wait, that’s right.. you can count the family farmers around d here producing food on your hands and toes.. most “farmers” in our neck of the woods are just dirt custies and I don’t think have experience actually living, or trying to part ways live, off of cultivating things that other humans actually need to survive on a day to day basis. Food and milk and meat and stuff..

    • “Need to survive”? “Food and milk and meat and stuff”? I’m not sure what “stuff” you mean but I know for a fact humans do not need either milk or meat to survive. However living with the kind of cancer rate we collectively have growing something that’s been proven effective in killing cancer cells in hundreds of tests actually might be more survival oriented than “milk and meat and stuff”.

      • Oh my God. Veganazi watch out. Sustenance then if that’s better word for you. Sustencnem. Milk meat grains veggies fruit. And nature will survive if the planet doesn’t kill it off weather you have created some great test tube thing or not. Do you live in Humboldt or are you just trolling? Because from my eyes my comment is applicable and you can troll it apart if you want, but I dare you to find the people actually homesteading in the romantic and on the ground way.. what do you make or create? Are you in finance? What do you ad to people’s dinner plate or hearth?

        • Haha. You have no idea. Just saying the point could be made that cannabis is more of a benefit to society than “meat and milk and stuff”. Red meat production is one of the biggest contributors to global warming. Cows do way more damage than cannabis. Fact.

          • Yes I agree sue but on a small scale community level it can be a benefit to land. Fact. I’m talking about real deal communities with homesteaders. Fact. And I agree, pot is way more valuable than super production feed lots, hell yes. But let’s get on the same level. Re you I the same community as me? Let’s talk about sustainability . I don’t any sustainable “pot farmers” and you’re lying if you don’t know me

            • Actually I can’t make heads or tails out of what you’re saying. Fact

              • That’s too bad. We could friends and trade goods and ideas and be a part of a community. Maybe not meat and milk,but other homegrown homemade goods? Watcha got? Joel notices that supermarkets didn’t exist until the mid 40’s so where was all the food?? In peoples yards and larders and shared between friends and neighbors. I’m talking about how there are more sustainable land owners (that actually increase the fertility it don’t bother nature at all) who raise animals for meat and milk, and stuff, and things, than there are pot growers.

          • Small minded of you to suggest that – people should modify their diet to exclude things to benefit the few like yourself. Meat does carry certain proteins that you cannot get through anything else thus potentially contributing to other preventable conditions.

    • Soil fertility makes gardening pleasurable. Lack of fertility and most workers go unpaid.lots of labor in mexico is done by extreme heat.

  • Why should any farm be ADA compliant?

  • If the regulations are intended to protect the public’s interest in a clean and healthy environment, then they should apply equally to all types of farming. If they are intended to exercise state control over cannabis farmers, then they should be applied only to cannabis farmers.

  • Funny that must Humboldt goverment buildings don’t meet Ada criteria. Including the freaking planning department. Maybe there’s a storie there kym that could level the playing field for the sohum community?

  • Why would someone in a wheelchair be out in the hills on a Cannabis farm? An inspector or County official maybe? Ridiculous! Rent a handicapped porta potty and be done with nonsense. Incredible amount of bullshit to go through when nobody can even sell their pounds from last year.

  • Lifetime Farmer

    Cannabis farmers don’t even pay half of the regulatory fees farmers pay in California but they still can’t stop complaining about being compliant. Quit the whining.

    • I don’t know any food producers at least around here paying 30000 a year on consultants and paperwork. The Humboldt ag producers certificate is not that exoensive. Mortgages labor feed and tools are the biggest expenses for farmers. For a small family farmers with no labor, it’s mortgage and feed. But an extra even 20000 then yes any small family farmer would be belly up, it at least taking out more loans and then… Oh that’s what happened to farmers in America already, then heavily subsidized to grow corn for feed lots and the regulatory minster destroyed real food and now new diseases pop up every month and new allergies and yata yata yata. If you ha e the spacce, grow some food for your belly and mushrooms to clean your dirt

    • What do all farmers (and Humboldt County residents) do best?

      Complain about EVERYTHING!

  • What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!
    I can see singleton with a big ass smile…

  • The state and our beloved county are going to tax the shit out,of everyone’s anus,…
    And here they were smiling everyone into compliance

  • Let’s just scrap Prop 64 and start fresh.

    • CartOnTopOfHorse

      Single production license, Smaller sq footage cap, Organic only, Rigid testing. I would have liked to see how that worked out. Bummer it’s got everyone’s focus on size leaving less energy to put into other dynamics. Healthy for capitalism, not so much for the spirit of the culture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *