I was up in Humboldt County again last week and met with county supervisor Mark Lovelace–who led opposition to an industrial logging plan and helped establish the Sunny Brae Community Forest–to talk about Prop 19. Humboldt County has led the way in environmental protection for the redwoods, in senior care and of course in cultivation of their renown outdoor sun-bud varietals and other strains of cannabis grown with less environmental care and concern.
As well explaining to me that the very nature of pot’s illegality serves as a protection for those who large scale grow on public lands in the parks and forests because of the lack of regulation, Lovelace told me that standards need to be set for commercial marijuana production, a statewide baseline
I know what my own standards would be (outdoor-organically grown only; indoor commercial grows like those in houses across the state and even larger ones proposed in Oakland are environmentally destructive, using non-renewable resources and causing irreparable damage) and now the Humboldt Growers Association in anticipation of legalization are trying to develop a proposal for medical marijuana cultivation that I hope would become the guideline for commercial pot.
HGA board member Joey Burger told the Times-Standard that if the law changes, the board’s proposed ordinance would be easily convertible to a larger marijuana industry.
Of course with those standards comes regulation, permits and fees. Regulations fees and permits are inevitable if Prop 19 passes, but there’s no need to rape the environment for profit. Kinda runs contra to perceived ganja/weed/pot culture values, though it seems the newer generation of growers could give a flying hang. I was told by one official that the the growing kids today have a sense of entitlement bought by underground economy’s income and an overall lack of respect for the land. What I saw in grow-jerks was the bro-tardness inherent in today’s callow youth, part of the Federlining of America, with more dollars than sense.
regulate outdoor marijuana grows with canopy areas larger than 100 square feet through a permitting process that lays out requirements for both applicants and farms. According to the proposed ordinance, applicants would have to be at least 21 years old, a resident of the county for at least two years and not have any violent crime convictions on their record.
In order to get a permit under the proposed ordinance, applicants would have to submit to site inspections, estimate water usage and a water source for the garden and provide proof of land ownership. The permits would be up for renewal every year and would allow the cultivation of not more than 40,000 square feet of canopy space
The sum total of garden space could not exceed 40,000 square feet (an acre is 43,560 square feet). Permit holders would also be required to provide access to their cultivation sites and water resources to inspectors at all times. While a permit for a 1/4 acre would cost about $20,000, gardens under 100 square feet would not require a permit.
I am curious if the HGA’s proposed ordinance will allow 99 square feet per person per residence, as on farms there may be several people living communally, each growing their own 215 (medical) pot.
The HGA guidelines as reported in the Times-Standard do not go into regulating the organic aspect, and does not address current commercial indoor growing which hopefully can be dealt with through other means. The Humboldt Medical Marijuana Advisory Panel (HuMMAP) has also presented its draft policy to the county supervisors — which includes graduated licensing fees for cultivation starting at $200 a year for 100 square feet of mature plant canopy, and allows for immediate outside interests to begin large scale growing, if they can afford the $300,000 for 40,00 square feet.
With regard to the HuMMAP proposal, Lovelace told the Times-Standard that the guidelines addressed the issue of growing statewide and reiterated what he had told me:
We’d all like to have some authority at the local level. But I think we’d like to have a baseline which we can work with.
The County Supervisors who, by the very nature of the jobs seem determined to regulate, tax and control marijuana growing, will no about come up with a plan, hopefully a workable and affordable solution that will benefit farmers, the environment, consumers and California–and possibly by extension the country as more and more states open their minds to medical marijuana and eventual legalization.