Planning Department’s Accounting of Money Collected From Cannabis Industry ‘Not Transparent,’ Says Humboldt County Civil Grand July

Grand Jury MarijuanaReport from the Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury:

SUMMARY

In the wake of the historic referendum, Proposition 64, that legalized recreational cannabis in California, Humboldt County had an opportunity and a responsibility to develop a safe, well-managed, and thriving industry. Four years into this new era, Humboldt County’s administration of the emergent cannabis industry (permits, fines, penalties, laws, monitoring, the oversight and enforcement thereof) has undergone considerable scrutiny and revision. Cultivators and regulators alike are adapting to an unprecedented change in both the production and oversight of a formerly contraband product that remains a Schedule I controlled substance according to federal law.

There is a notable lack of in-depth reporting of revenues and expenditures that would accurately show the citizens of Humboldt County the effectiveness and the operational and fiscal efficiency of the Cannabis Planning program.

Due to the inconsistency between state and federal regulations, the new permitting and regulatory system is cash intensive. Banks will not allow cannabis cultivators to open accounts or establish lines of credit; they must conduct transactions in the form of paper currency. Humboldt County agencies must therefore accept large sums of cash in order to collect necessary permit fees and abatement fines. The Planning and Building Department assumes the risk inherent in the storage and handling of large sums of cash. The optics of a government agency dealing in significant quantities of cash is itself problematic. Doing so requires a highly transparent, very accurate system of accounting. The Planning and Building Department should provide greater transparency in accounting procedures, more robust security in handling cash, and work to meet the needs of the local cannabis industry.

BACKGROUND

Proposition 64 represented a watershed moment in the evolution away from cannabis prohibition. The County government was tasked with not only regulating and permitting cannabis cultivation, but promoting and encouraging the new industry as well. The County government was asked to create a process and protocol by which an illegal activity could be transitioned into a legal one. This was no small task. Estimates of the number of illicit grows in Humboldt County going into the legalization of cannabis ranged from 10,000 to 30,000.

Legalization is further complicated by the fact that the federal government continues to define cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance. Because of this, banks, which are federally regulated, cannot engage in financial transactions with the cannabis industry. This means permitted cultivators cannot legally make bank deposits, write checks, or obtain lines of credit.

For decades, illicit growers lived with the constant risks of having to store, handle, and transact business with large quantities of cash. These same challenges remain serious concerns to this very day. Official financial transactions involving the cannabis industry are regularly collected in cash, and in large quantities thereof. The Planning and Building Department has had to accept the same dangers and challenges of dealing in thousands of dollars in paper currency.

Under Ordinance 1.0, the first iteration of the County’s efforts to regulate recreational cannabis production, 1,829 permits were processed by the Planning and Building Department. This increased workload caused the department to add 50 employees to their payroll.

The Planning and Building Department was tasked with:

  • Developing a permitting process allowing previously illicit and medical cultivators to grow legally
  • Establishing permit costs and determining amount of fines
  • Creating methods for monitoring and oversight
  • Hiring new cannabis planners and training them
  • Continuing to identify and abate code violations
  • Implementing various state and local ordinances
  • Protecting the ecosystems of our beautiful county

METHODOLOGY

  • In preparation for this report, the Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury (Civil Grand Jury):
    • Conducted interviews with current and former Humboldt County Planning and Building Department employees and clients
    • Conducted interviews with County officials
    • Conducted interviews with community and industry leaders
    • Researched county, state, and federal laws and regulations
    • Reviewed financial documentation provided by Humboldt County
    • Conducted internet research
    • Reviewed documents at the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department
    • Accessed Accela online permit management database

DISCUSSION

Starting from Scratch

In the aftermath of the passage of Prop 64, the County implemented a raft of regulations, requirements, laws, and policies relating to legal cannabis. Ordinance 1.0, as it came to be known, provided an administrative, regulatory, and legal framework for allowing previously illegal operations to become legitimate. The Planning Department was flooded with permit applications, well in excess of 2,000. They quickly built from scratch a system for reviewing applications and issuing permits, and succeeded in issuing more such permits than any other county in the state. In addition, the Planning Department’s Code Enforcement division continued to identify and abate illegal operations. The satellite surveillance system used for that purpose was commended by the California State Association of Counties as being particularly effective.

In mid 2018 the county introduced Ordinance 2.0. This was due to the implementation of State Licensing on January 1 of that year. Humboldt County thereby conformed the permitting process to reflect that development. Previously there existed some latitude to allow pre-existing cultivation to continue while permit applications were being processed, as the State developed its Cannabis Licensing program. This condition no longer exists. In today’s regulatory scheme, cannabis cultivation requires a local permit and a state license to be deemed legal.

This set of policies, fines, fees, and regulations under Ordinance 2.0 was designed to permit and regulate only new farms. After December 31, 2019, the policy of permitting pre-existing grows was terminated. Under Ordinance 1.0, a cannabis operation could be issued a temporary permit, allowing the operator a period of time to bring their farm into compliance. Version 2.0 removed that provision, allowing only fully compliant operations.

The application requirements are so complex and extensive there are consultants and lawyers who specialize in guiding applicants though the process. This adds additional cost to a start-up operation. The county’s website is difficult to navigate. Other than a two-page checklist, much of the relevant information for prospective applicants is not easily accessible. Some information regarding cannabis cultivation permit applications appears to be out of date (the deadline for Ordinance 1.0 having been December 31, 2016 is still listed as current, for example). Assistance by the Planning and Building Department is another added cost, billed at a rate of $150 per hour. Of course, this service is only available when employees are able to provide it.

Creating a New Financial Burden

The Planning and Building Department’s adopted budget for fiscal year 2019-20 is $11.5 million, of which $3.2 million will be spent on cannabis planning with another $2 million on code enforcement (cannabis abatements being a considerable part of that). Cannabis Planning is the single largest item in the department’s budget. These two budget items, Cannabis Planning and Code Enforcement, amount to 45% of the department’s total budget. Since the passage of Prop 64, in fiscal year 2015-16, the department’s budget has almost doubled. In just one year, 50 employees were added to the department’s payroll.

This fiscal year budget shows that the total revenue generated by Cannabis Planning was $1.76 million. Subtracting this figure from the county cost of permitting this new industry ($3.2 million), the difference is $1.44 million. These overages are paid for out of the Cannabis Planning Division’s trust fund. This trust is funded by the thousands of permit application fees paid by prospective new cannabis operations.

The accounting of the Trust Fund is not transparent. Concern remains that, once that account is exhausted, additional costs may be incurred in the course of the Cannabis Planning Division’s operations. Those overages would need to be paid for through the General Fund. Having an industry that costs a local government more money to regulate than it generates in revenues would be disastrous in the wealthiest of counties. Humboldt County is one of the poorest.

In addition, the Code Enforcement division incurs substantial costs arising from enforcing cannabis abatements. Fines and penalties on the cannabis Industry generate revenue, but these are not accounted for separately, they are deposited directly to the General Fund. The Civil Grand Jury understands this is due to concerns over potential incentive for regulators to assess excessive fines in order to better fund their department.

There is a notable lack of detailed reporting of revenues and expenditures that would accurately show the citizens of Humboldt County the effectiveness and the operational and fiscal efficiency of the Cannabis Planning program. Obtaining a simple accounting document from the Planning and Building Department proved very frustrating despite several direct requests by the Civil Grand Jury. Given the huge amounts of cash moving through its office and its substantial annual budget, the Planning and Building Department’s accounting system appears problematic. The coordination of financial records between the Planning and Building Department and the Auditor-Controller’s office is not sufficient to the task (e.g., cash receipts and documentation). In addition, the appearance of the potential for bribery, fraud, and other financial malfeasance warrant adequate scrutiny.

Since the legalization of recreational cannabis production, the Planning and Building Department has been obligated to accept cash for permitting, fines, and other associated fees. There has been a precipitous rise in the amount of cash flowing into and out of the County building on H Street.

Many payments arrive at the front desk of the Planning and Building Department in the form of paper currency. Some of these payments number in thousands of dollars. The employee gives the client a receipt for the cash, and logs the receipt in a ledger. It is then moved to a safe within the Planning and Building Department. Two county employees eventually transport the cash to the bank for deposit. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have come to the county coffers in this manner.

This stands in stark contrast to the approach taken by the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office. Protocol followed by that department involves a vault to keep cash secured while on the premises, and contracts an armored car service to transport cash to the bank.

The Reality

Since the window for new permit applications is now closed, the workload on the Cannabis Planning side will soon begin to dwindle. In addition, given the much vaunted success of the satellite surveillance system, a presumably meaningful percentage of illicit cannabis grows has been abated: 98 fines were issued in 2018, and only 53 in 2019. It is reasonable to expect both the Cannabis Planning Division and Code Enforcement will be scaled back to meet the needs of an established and stabilized cannabis industry in Humboldt County. The overall cost of permitting and regulating cannabis cultivation should not exceed revenues collected. To that end, the County should have an accounting system that provides transparency in every aspect of the department’s budget in place to assure the taxpayers that this is so. The Auditor-Controller’s office should have adequate and appropriate involvement with the department’s financial accounting and reporting.

The cannabis industry is a fact of life in this County. Profits generated by this industry result in increased revenues from income, excise, property, and business taxes. Profitable operations spend money at other local businesses. Even prior to legalization, cannabis growers have been a major economic force in Humboldt County. However, the advent of legalized recreational cannabis production seems to have blunted the profitability of the local cannabis industry. According to Sheriff William Honsal, “[T]he price per pound is gonna become so low that the industry is gonna be driven out of Humboldt County….”

As the County confronts a budget deficit this year, and will probably do so into the future, the issue of justifying the cost of a large and expensive bureaucracy becomes an ever more pressing concern. Accurate bookkeeping and accountability is of great importance to the Board of Supervisors and to the Public. Administrators have a responsibility to design and implement procedures and regulations in a transparent manner.

Meanwhile, the old, pre-Prop 64 business model of growing and selling cannabis in the underground economy still works in the present climate. By creating so many financial and regulatory obstacles for a legitimate operation, the County maintains incentive for illicit cannabis cultivation. As one interviewee put it, “the black market is still more lucrative than the white market.”

Given the large amounts of cash moving through the Planning and Building Department, coupled with their vague accounting procedures, the Department is left open to accusations of fraud. Indeed, there have been concerns expressed regarding the potential of bribery, fraud, and other financial malfeasance.

FINDINGS

F-1: The handling of large sums of cash used by applicants to conduct transactions with the Planning and Building Department lacks transparency and creates the perception of potential for fraud. (R-2, 3, 4)

F-2: Cash transactions jeopardize the safety of the public and department personnel due to a lack of robust security infrastructure. (R-2, 3, 4)

F-3: Lack of transparent accounting for cannabis-related revenues (permit fees, Trust Fund monies, fines) makes it difficult to determine the economic impact of the legalization of the cannabis industry on the county. (R-2, 3)

F-4: The cumbersome permitting process defeats the purpose of legalization. It creates the incentive for cultivators to remain in the illicit market.

F-5: The Planning and Building Department website is not user-friendly. Applicants are disadvantaged by lack of access to clear instructions and guides. Some information also appears to be out of date. (R-1)

RECOMMENDATIONS

R-1. The Humboldt County Planning and Building Department website should be updated to make relevant information regarding permit applications for cannabis cultivation easily searchable. Information presented on the website should be regularly updated to reflect any change in relevant regulations. This should be addressed by September 1, 2020. (F-5)

R-2: The Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury recommends that the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department have an audit conducted by the Auditor/Controller’s office of all incoming receipts collected for each fiscal year. This assessment should be presented to the Board of Supervisors and made public. This should be done starting fiscal year 2020-2021. (F-1, 2, 3)

R-3: The Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury recommends that the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department have a dedicated accountant on staff to organize and maintain current financial records. This person should be a fresh hire with proven experience and necessary credentials. This should be done by January 1, 2021. (F-1, 2, 3)

R-4: The Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury recommends that the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department direct customers paying in cash to remit said payments directly through the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office. Payment receipts will be accessible to the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department. This should be in effect by January 1, 2021. (F-1, 2)

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES

Pursuant to Penal Code sections 933 and 933.05, the Civil Grand Jury requests responses as follows:

From the following governing bodies within 90 days:

Humboldt County Board of Supervisors (F-1, F-2, F-3, F-4, F-5; R-1, R-2, R-3, R-4 )

Humboldt County Planning and Building Department (F-1, F-2, F-3, F-4, F-5; R-1, R-2, R-3, R-4 )

From the following elected county officials within 60 days:

Humboldt County Auditor-Controller (F-1, F-2, F-3; R-2, R-3, R-4 )

Humboldt County Treasurer-Tax Collector (F-1, F-2, F-3; R-4 )

Reports issued by the Grand Jury do not identify individuals interviewed. Penal Code section 929 requires that reports of the Grand Jury not contain the name of any person or facts leading to the identity of any person who provides information to the Grand Jury.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Burns, Ryan, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016/ Marijuana and/or Cannabis , Media, (VIDEO) “PBS NewsHour Reports on Humboldt’s Weed Regulations,” Lost Coast Outpost,

https://lostcoastoutpost.com/2016/dec/29/video-pbs-newshour-reports-humboldts-weed-regulati/

California Cannabis Portal, Accessed September 10, 2019

https://cannabis.ca.gov

CDFA CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing, Accessed September 10, 2019

https://calcannabis.cdfa.ca.gov

Fertig,Natalie, “How Legal Weed Is Killing America’s Most Famous Marijuana Farmers,” Politico Magazine, June 4, 2019, Accessed August 26, 2019

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/06/04/humboldt-county-marijuana-farmers-regulations-227041

Humboldt County California’s Redwood Coast, Budget, Accessed April 10, 2020

https://humboldtgov.org/247/Budget

Humboldt County California’s Redwood Coast, Document Center, Accessed March 20, 2020

https://humboldtgov.org/DocumentCenter/View/78838/Application-Requirements-Cannabis-20-Updated-122118?bidId=

Liebler, David, “Humboldt County Takes Code Enforcement of Cannabis to New Heights,” California State Associations of Counties, March 4, 2020, https://www.counties.org/county-voice/humboldt-county-takes-code-enforcement-cannabis-new-heights

Oglesby, Pat, “Canopy Tax in Humboldt,” The Center for New Revenue, Posted on June 23, 2016

https://newrevenue.org/2016/06/23/4808/

Proposition 64 Marijuana Legalization, Official Title and Summary Prepared By The Attorney General, Accessed April 10, 2020 https://slper.senate.ca.gov/sites/slper.senate.ca.gov/files/Background%20Supplemental%20-%20Prop%2064%20Text.pdf

Santa Barbara County Commercial Cannabis Regulations, Accessed February 15, 2020

http://cannabis.countyofsb.org

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49 comments

  • Tired of code enforcement

    The entire department should be recreated. It is wrought with fraud at this point. The abatement process is setup to ensure property owners fail, are assessed overwhelming fines and will eventually lose their property. Ford is inconsistent in his policies and has a complete lack of interest in assisting the public into compliance. It’s shameful how citizens are treated. Their employees harass property owners, including sexually harassing women and no one does anything about it. Code enforcement has become the shame of the county, not the weed growing. It’s high time something is done about this outlaw county entity.

    • Go to Ford’s office and protest. Make them all uncomfortable, like they do you. They hurt you everyday. Fight back. Call Ford’s office constantly, call planning all day, call code enforcement all day. Tie up their phones, hit their web pages, send emails. Get a cheap laptop, use the IP that blocks anyone from knowing who you are, and force them to stop hurting you. The hundreds of thousands of dollars they have stolen from you are in their pockets. Demand to see their tax returns, bank accounts. They hurt you every day, time to hit them where it hurts, their money. And sexual harassment of women, he girls, join the NRA, defend yourselves, shove their harassment back in their face. Sound violent, Ford and his goones are violent towards you, keeping you hungry and frightened, turn it around.

  • Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that govt. marijuana revenues will never pay for the connected administrative and enforcement costs and this doesn’t even consider the associated societal deterioration and costs of the attendant crime that accompanies the industry.

    • Inept, crooked and downright dangerous to our county’s prosperity. John Ford needs to go! Along with the completely inept and corrupt stupervisors. Just imagine the opportunity they took a big crap on. Shame! Like the Grand Jury said, they were supposed to help foster not hinder. Our leadership and planning department are a sick joke. I hear John Ford is a climate denier, how’s that for the head of planning for a coastal county?!?!

      • Our county government is like a parasitic tick. It’d starve to death so fast if it got knocked off our gonads. It needs to be helpful and cooperative. Being a rude bastard to the very people whose blood it is sucking off of is disgraceful. When I went to city hall to pay my cultivation tax, everyone I interacted with were the rudest assholes I’ve ever met. Ya and that’s when I’m going in to pay taxes. Parasitic nut suckers.

        • I also went to the Planning Department for an issue my mother had and I can’t ever remember a stranger being so rude to me. It was several years ago and I wasn’t even speaking with this man but he was in the background chiming in. A gray haired man with facial hair. He had such an attitude you could see the other employees were embarrassed. I just looked at him in amazement.

      • I would bet that they are all already set for life. People in the Planning Department and the Supervisors, one way or the other.

    • Let me help you see the light.
      Tax revenue from permitted cannabis grows is huge for the county. No other industry pays more to our general fund than the cannabis permits

      The cost of Enforcement will always exceed the cost of revenue generated.

      Enforcement will never change and and it will always be a losing battle.

      We are trying to eradicate a plant / weed. Have you ever pulled weeds? They come back every year no matter what you do the previous year.

      Now to the final point.
      Do you actually think a cannabis smoker is a problem in society?

      Are you kidding me? We are 24 years past this conversation already.

      How is cannabis bad for society?
      I can list tons of benefits cannabis has for anyone who uses it.

      Stop being that toad who doesn’t understand something but hates it anyway

      • Hold on- enforcement doesn’t pay?? Do you know how much they are taking in on abatements? It’s hundreds of thousands. In cash. Pay attention.

        • It’s that the fines and fees from the abatement and enforcement programs goes into the general fund. The industry makes more than it costs. Reading comprehension takes a little effort. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the article. Consider the associated societal deterioration and costs of the attendant crime that would accompany the demise of the industry, genius?!

      • Jeffersonian and his antiquated way of thinking. I’m sure sitting around with his cronies having a few cocktails….

  • Been there done that victim of the drug war

    They all are a bunch of back stabbing liars with double standards that have a price tag .i would love to spend a shit ton of money making there individual lives a nightmare and of course I will have an indemnityform protect me from reprucusions of my personal agenda ,elect anybody except who we have at the moment. The grand jury should thoroughly investigate the process of abatement and there pay me to play model .has no consistency They also have a miserable billing accounting process

  • Thank you Grand Jury for focusing on these important issues! About time some body of authority push back on the Planning Dept and the systems of ‘legalization’!

  • I hope we hear from the Mendocino Grand Jury on this soon.

    Actually we need a Grand Jury to look at all CA. programs and agencies, one by one. It might be the best thing to happen to CA.

    We could probably eliminate 60 % of the bureaucracy and save a fortune.
    Maybe save enough to pay for Mental Health or addiction services.

  • Does this mean the county is also unable to deposit the cash into banks?

    • I was going to make the same type of comment. Funny that the grower can’t deposit the cash, but the county can. Does the bank file RICO on the county?

  • FINALLY! The Planning Dept has been out of control for a while now. They created a mosh pit of regulations, but apparently didn’t calculate the costs of regulating the regulations. Any fool could’ve predicted this outcome. JohnFord needs to GO AWAY!! He is not community-friendly! Humboldt needs to work together to restore our great & sustainable way of life. Double down on the eradication of heroin& other addictive street drugs. Support the cannabis industry& all organic, healthy farming…make it fun again! A new vision is needed, fresh perspectives can breathe new life into our economy. We need an organic version of In’nOut!

  • I still don’t see how those who have financial ties to the industry are in charge of making the stringent rules for the rest of us. It’s ridiculous.

  • Get the rope !

    //F-4: The cumbersome permitting process defeats the purpose of legalization. It creates the incentive for cultivators to remain in the illicit market.//

    Well thank you Grand Jury. Only took you 4 years to comprehend what I and many, many others have published for those same years. The $64 foundation is corruption. A fraudulent election was stacked. Permits were politicized.

    I suggest a complete dissolution of $64. Bring charges.

  • all lives matter

    Corruption is why!

  • What? Government is not transparent? What a shocker! Only brilliant criminals hide info or change the rule book to alter the numbers! I found an interesting website last night on some actual transparency of the base pay of our elected elite: https://transparentcalifornia.com/ At least you can see they make 10x what any private sector worker makes!

  • If you want it legal this is the result. Everyone wants permits so they can keep growing and selling on black market. That’s not legalization. If we want to keep being outlaws don’t get your permits and pay for more government intervention. You are fucking over yourself and your neighbors.

  • Two important take-aways from the Grand Jury Report:

    1. The cannabis licensing and abatement programs have failed at their most important objective: maintaining the flourishing culture and economy that cannabis growing created. I suggest that licensing needs to be much simpler, and cheaper, and that the Abatement program should be terminated. Leave cannabis enforcement to the cops and courts where professionals investigate, the rules of evidence control, and the People have set the maximum penalties.

    2. It is time to cut back on the size and budget of both the Planning Department and the Code Enforcement Unit. To put it in terms popular today: DEFUND THE CODE ENFORCEMENT UNIT, DEFUND THE PLANNING DEPARTMENT. I am not just being trendy here. A careful reading of the Grand Jury Report and the long-overdue “Annual” Code Enforcement Report makes these actions obvious and necessary.

    • Amen.

    • Agree ED! Thank you for your cogent thoughts and ever present wisdom!
      What now can citizens do to support the findings of the Grand Jury? How can we do our part to encourage the changes are made and the deadlines the Grand Jury have set are met?

    • Denson for supervisor! Come on Ed, nobody else has your qualifications and community interest.

    • Ed, I don’t agree. The abatement program has succeeded in lowering the amount of illegal grows, which was its intent. It has also brought a lot of money to the county. It may be painful, but it was successful.
      I think the grow world was out of control, with too many sloppy grows and too many bad actors involved, and it was on a collision course with some legal entity.
      Also, I think the high price that exists now is a result of the abatement program and the lower supply that now exists. Kind of a win for real outlaws who can survive, while driving the lightweights out of the game.
      Too bad the permit patsys get to join in on the good times. They should stay in the California white market where they belong.

      • Willow creeker loves the abatement program for purely capitalist reasons. Fuck the old timers getting abated because of a small greenhouse full of vegies. The high price is what really matters huh creeker

        • That’s really an u true often told story. I got an abatements for a veggy greenhouse by my house. I called the planning dept and took some pictures and it was all cleared up with an apology. A hassle yes, and I’m no fan of government spying on us. But my point is, it was effective if you agree the hills were a mess. They certainly were where I live. I don’t like the permit patsys anymore than anyone else but they are better than the low lives that were ruining our once great way of life.

  • ED- how can the grand jury & Humboldt residents keep unpacking this disgraceful sham till it has been straightened out? Is it possible for the Gr. Jury to authorize CLMP& others to follow up on their investigative findings?
    Our back to the land/ small cannabis culture was stabbed in the back by our own County Gov’t. We need to think circles, not boxes; celebrations, not fines!

  • With liberty and justice for all

    Thank you god,ja,buddha, whatever your name is !!!!! The crooks and Treasonous theives have been officially thrown into the light !!!!! Long live our freedom and condemned are those who try to make us slaves!!!
    DEFUND THE PLANNING DEPARTMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!! UNELECT THE CORRUPT FILTH THAT FUNDS THE THEIVES!!!!!!

  • Serious question for the locals or those in the know. I’ve only posted on this site once before……I live in Pennsylvania but have been a frequent visitor to beautiful Northern California many times in my life. Purely hypothetical but what if you grew 30 plants and received an abatement notice. If you didn’t respond would they cut your plants down? What if you just ignored it and they started fining but you never paid? Would they place a lien on the property? Would they eventually take your house and try and sell it? Would love any feedback. I’d also like to note I live in the suburbs and I’m looking at my neighbors 30 foot hoop house as I write this. They’ve never had any problems with authorities growing the best vegetable garden I’ve ever seen.

    • Yep the county would auction your property to the highest bidder. The monies would then go to the county general fund.

      • How many parcels have been seized through abatement and then sold at auction?

        Zero?

        • How many parcels have hundreds of thousands of dollars in liens?

        • Did you really just ask a question and then answer it with a question?!? Look it up and get back to us when you actually have something to ad to the adult discussion you interrupted.

    • I thought they wld come & cut down all but 6 plants- but NO- they look for every possible code violation they can find& make their egregiously high daily fines. You can’t really fight it, because that can cost just as much as the fines. Unless your home was built in the last 2 years& fully permitted, you will have code violations. The County had a golden opportunity to celebrate & elevate our world class status, but they chose to drive the car of success into the ditch of misery.

  • Investigate everyone who had access to all that cash.

  • Taking over the industry through over regulation Favors large ag and Thats part of the plan. Not being transparent with millions in Cash at county level thats just blatant corruption.Strength in numbers ,revolt coming soon.

  • Ha Ha Ha!! Well it’s nice to stand affirmed by a grand jury report after I’ve been saying the same thing- FOR 4 YEARS! And occasionally having to argue with people on these pages. But…looking forward now- What happens when the class-action lawsuit finally gets our county planning’s department to cease and desist and awards millions of dollars to homeowners who have been abused? Does it come out of the pockets or benefits of the actual people who directed this scandal? The over-paid John Ford or Estelle or Rex? Any of the over-paid agents in the planning department who have scammed and lied for years? No. It will come again out of OUR pockets- the taxpayers will be penalized and our county will suffer….Look at me! I can predict the future!!

  • After reading the comments here it would seem like the citizens of Humboldt County want John Fort to get on Amazon.com and purchase a Hara kiri Sword and then to break it in!!! How can the board of Supervisor’s keep this person in office when so many “WE THE PEOPLE” can’t stand this guy. I am going to use the most vile cuss word I know of here,,,,,,,,,,, John Ford is ANTI AMERICAN, he has taken his OATH of office and disgraced it. Shame on you John Ford!!!

  • After reading the comments here it would seem like the citizens of Humboldt County want John Ford to get on Amazon.com and purchase a Hara kiri Sword and then to break it in!!! How can the board of Supervisor’s keep this person in office when so many “WE THE PEOPLE” can’t stand this guy. I am going to use the most vile cuss word I know of here,,,,,,,,,,, John Ford is ANTI AMERICAN, he has taken his OATH of office and disgraced it. Shame on you John Ford!!!

  • With liberty and justice for all

    I’ will be gleaming with joy when this class action lawsuit is announced!!!!
    PLEASE LET’S GET THIS THING ROLLING!!!!!!

  • Vickirose Dillon

    Sept.18th 2019 I was invaded by enforcers from the Greenwave Project. Brought to Humbolt Co. because they were invited by our Sheriff Departmemt. What was the purpose I dont know. Now the DA wants to prosecute me for my medical marijuana. According tp the CDFW I had 2000sq ft.
    My experience was way beyond cutting down my small plants
    Searching every house. For what?
    Militia style armed men. Handcuffed for over 3 hours.
    Never given the opportunity to show my interim permit or 215 card.
    Never was I shown who these invaders were.
    More than a month later in mail and on neighbors gate county code enforcement left papers.
    Odd yes weird very am I upset yes yes yes

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