California cannabis farmers: We have been fighting for cannabis legalization for 80 years. On paper it is finally coming all over the country and the world.
Some of the most restrictive places in the country like Arkansas and Nevada have embraced legal cannabis. Colorado has pioneered the legalization and regulatory environment.
We have literally paved streets that haven’t been fixed in years, and millions and millions of dollars are going to the school systems in association with cannabis sales. On the surface, it appears that the tide is changing. We need to check the tide chart.
The fight is not over. Throughout every single legal state there are county representatives, the board of supervisors, mayors, sheriffs, parent groups and political organizations that are quietly applying pressure to the regulated cannabis movement. Just because the governor or your state representative or your voters change the laws on cannabis regulation does not mean that cannabis is legal commerce in your state or town.
California cannabis legalization
Specifically throughout California, the cannabis legalization movement is being challenged by regulatory agencies and special interest groups. While the good farmers of America are tending their crops, back room deals and political pressure will make it difficult to operate a regulated legal business.
On the surface the cannabis regulatory environment has been successful in Humboldt County. A common stat that is used is that we have 20% of the licensing in the state. These are all temporary licenses and not permanent ones. I believe many of these temporary license holders will not be able to gain a permanent license.
There are absolutely political forces against the cannabis grower to be successful.
One of the first struggles in legalization is between the policing agencies. The sheriff, the police and Fish and Wildlife have all been responsible for policing the cannabis industry in the past. Many of these people have embraced new cannabis regulations. But there is an old guard that does not agree with government and voter passed laws.
They are the ones who are out to get us.
It isn’t paranoia. These are just facts. We’re not playing cops and robbers anymore, however many people in the policing arena still want to play that game. Environmental and neighborhood groups that are in the minority are speaking up against cannabis legalization. In our current 2.0 designation for new cannabis operations, many outrageous restrictions have been inserted into these new laws.
Unrealistic zoning designation and industrial controls are currently being placed on the cannabis industry.
Is it discrimination?
I spoke recently with Steve Lazar of the Humboldt County Planning Department, and he feels that cannabis is not like other crops and should be treated totally different.
I’m pretty sure we all call this discrimination. To treat one group of people differently than you treat another people. Or in this case to treat one business differently than you treat another business. If a hog farm, chicken farm or dairy farm has certain regulations then those are the type regulations the cannabis industry should have. They should not be any easier or more restricted than any other agricultural product.
I’ve seen this type of attitude for years. While good cannabis folks are working hard, toiling away in their businesses and being successful, they were still judged by neighbors and peers for having an easy life. We’ve all heard, “I should just grow a ton of weed and everything will be OK.”
Those of us that have done this know how hard that statement is, and that you deserve any payment associated with your hard labor.
Time to take the reigns
I’m here to say if we want a legal, functioning cannabis system in Humboldt, the farmers are going to have to step up!
You are going to have to embrace your neighbors and talk to them. You have to bring up the conversations about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, because many of them still have this projection that you’re a mega diesel grow dumping crank oil into the creek.
We have to come out of the dark and tell people what we’re doing.
Ganja farmers need to realize how to be political and call up your representatives at the local and state level. Whether it is a board of supervisors or the school board or the Waterboard it is time for us to come out of the darkness and be the leaders that we are. To all the outlaws out there who are bucking legalization, I want you to think back to how it used to be before 215. It will go back to that.
Without a 215 defense the whole cookie crumbles. In the past all you had to do was have your script and maybe some scripts of other patients and you could grow as much as you wanted. If interdiction showed up they would take everything and maybe you would receive three years probation. This is all going to change, and it’s going to change rapidly. I do not want to see my friends or family in jail again over cannabis regulations and laws.
The time is now. Your phone is already in your hand, so call up your local representative and express concerns. The Board of Supervisors knows the importance of cannabis farmers. They will listen.
The Profit bob Marley said it best, “get up stand up, stand up for your rights,” and now is the time to stop singing and start doing.