I am convinced by all I have read from around the state (and the nation), and from thoughtful professionals across a spectrum of expertise, that we must ban commercial and outdoor grows in Plumas County. We must create an environment in which, while protecting legal rights for medical and recreational use and growing (six plants per residential property), commercial operations are in fact banned. To ignore the broad and continuous marijuana traumas to the identity and character of counties all over California is, I think, naive, irresponsible and shortsighted. I hope you will agree.
I recognize that the Cannabis Working Group have put in a lot of travail, especially considering the frequently acrimonious relationships and divergent perspectives even in a primarily pro-grow group. While not wishing to denigrate the twenty-eight meetings held, I think it fair to note that not until a huge outpouring of public concern has been expressed have there been any changes to this foundationally pro-grow document—a document primarily authored by the leader of the growers’ association.
Many of us were introduced to the content and tone of the CWG and the pro-grow people through the Public Forums over the summer. The arrogance, triumphalism, dismissiveness of other positions, the demeaning and disrespectful attitudes of many growers and producers alerted me and others to the fundamental difference in community, concerns, civility, and respect for law—and for our Supervisors—at the core of many of the growers’ approaches.
I have welcomed thoughtful and humanizing conversations with a few growers. I know that these are the cream of the crop—but know, too, that for every one of the growers who show up and may even say, “Regulate us,” there are five more thumbing their noses and saying, “You can’t stop us!” Even with those who will attend a meeting, the tone of the whole demonstrates the chilling impact on a community of those who will act in self-interest without regard for the common good and without respect for others. In online forums, letters in the paper, and in personal as well as public venues, the ad hominem arguments (name-calling, heckling, and writing-off of people rather than engaging ideas and information) and resorting to every logical fallacy in the book, have characterized the shallow, self-interested approach of many growers and supporters.
Using the title “caregiver” when not meeting any legal definition of “caregiver” is a thin disguise and shames our medical marijuana providers. Claiming to be a “young entrepreneur” does not give entitlement when venturing on a not-legal business start-up. Diverting discussion from the damaging influence of commercial cannabis to accusations that poor sufferers will be prevented from getting their needed medicine or that families will be forced into poverty or that growers will be “made” criminals—these are smoke screens and are false.
To speak of great compassion for suffering old people who need cannabis while writing-off people over 60, belies good faith and undermines any hope of genuine concern for the community. We (the doctors, nurses, counselors, pastors, social service workers, concerned regular folk) who are routinely involved in caring for the hurting of Plumas County know something of compassion—and we know somewhat of who is actually involved in the care of the needy in this community.
As outside interests and local growers with outside investors have spoken up and prepared presentations for public comment at both Board and CWG meetings, I have been struck by the duplicity. The clear self-interest—clothed in appeals bewailing unemployment, County budget, poverty—has sickened those who are in fact involved with these things in the community and have been over the long haul. The cash from cannabis operations does not enrich the community, but in fact leaves the country and lines private pockets.
The increased law enforcement and social services necessitated by big grows are not funded by any taxes or beneficences. Marijuana is broadly available throughout the County, to minors and sick people alike, and has been for years—and it is not being sold by the illegal cartels, but by local growers.
Please consider the overwhelming number of responsible citizens who are making their desires clear—citizens who study, gain proficiency, work hard, pay taxes, perform public service, involve themselves in the community, whether new or over the long haul. We, and many hard-working folk who are unable to attend mid-morning meetings, plead with you to consider the alternative draft ordinance prepared by the Citizens Group for a Responsible Cannabis Ordinance (CGRCO).
At the September 6, 2017, Board of Supervisors’ meeting, Lori Simpson told the Cannabis Working Group they had two more meetings in which to finalize a viable ordinance. We attended those two meetings in which little-to-no progress was made, and we studied the deeply flawed draft of their efforts.
We watched the CWG and saw both the process and the product of their nearly yearlong efforts. The lack of progress and attention to community input since the public forums drove us to take the time to develop a responsible ordinance. We are not a Board-formed committee and have no official warrant to develop an ordinance other than being concerned citizens possessing some expertise and strong motivating love of Plumas County. We wanted to present you, the Board of Supervisors, with a viable alternative. Please give careful consideration to this no-grow alternate draft ordinance.
We urge you to ban commercial cannabis growing, production and sales in Plumas County.