The Board of Supervisors (BOS) will hold a public meeting to discuss and vote on a moratorium on commercial Cannabis cultivation at the Fairgrounds Mineral Building next Tuesday, 10/24 at 10am. This measure needs a minimum 80% (4-to-1) vote for approval. If previous meetings are any indication, the pro commercial growing supporters will be out in force and they will be vociferous. Every seat that you take by arriving an hour early will deny them the potential for “political dominance” in that room.
Again, if past history is any guide, commercial growers have very weak arguments, most of which mask their sense of entitlement for continued operations without County regulatory support. They’re also quiet about the violation of federal law, plus their single-minded determination for maximum profit. The Supervisors now deserve our support because they have made a significant course correction to feature a public discussion of a moratorium and a vote. The moratorium would halt a direct march toward adoption of regulations prior to a state deadline of January 1st, but preserve the option to complete an ordinance over a longer span of deliberation and study. Again, this is significant, considering they won’t move quickly to see that the product of their own appointed working group begins processing through the Planning Commission toward adoption by the end of the year.
Our side has a large number of public agencies and citizens with the opposite position and with the CGRCO (Citizens Group for a Responsible Cannabis Ordinance) we have produced an ordinance that eliminates commercial growing but recognizes individual rights for those 21+ to consume recreationally or via medical prescription. Our document also protects the rights of adjacent neighbors by protecting the Special Use Permit mechanics of the General Plan.
Your continued engagement on this issue is best invested by your attendance next Tuesday. You do not have to speak publicly, but your presence helps show the supervisors that the opposition to their appointed Cannabis Working Group’s preferences runs wide and deep. Those of us from the CGRCO will make a number of arguments that are germane to the situation as it stands. Here is a likely sample:
• Cannabis has been readily available locally for decades. Recent state laws protect recreational users and medical users from state or local prosecution and allows either to grow their own with a six plant limit.
• Commercial growers are flashing medical scrip, Prop. 215 cards like badges to avoid entanglement with law enforcement, but much of their product is shipped out-of-county and their adherence to a 6-plant limit is suspect.
• This cash-only business ducks taxes if/when it ships boxed cash to offshore banks as the county’s largest commercial grower does.
• The Plumas growers contingent suggests that tighter regulation will eliminate young families’ ability to put food on their table—but all other “regular” agricultural pursuits seem able to pull this off for non-cannabis crops and animal husbandry.
• Plumas is running out of time to learn from other counties; both those who have invited commercial cannabis grows, and those who haven’t.
• Timber and tourism are Plumas’s greatest potential sources of outside revenue. Timber is threatened by illegal cartel grows on both public and private lands. Tourism is threatened by a reversal of perception from bucolic paradise to crime magnet.
• The Cannabis Working Group touts its local integration into county culture. Have you seen them donate to charity, participate in community groups, sponsor local events, or serve in public office?
The moratorium passage on 10/24 is our next hurdle. If we clear it, the next one will be to ensure one of two things happen within 45 days of a successful moratorium vote:
1. That the Board of Supervisors vets and adopts the CGRCO ordinance before 45 days
2. That the board extends the moratorium beyond 45 days; automatically extending it to a year’s time but not (we believe) to cease existing commercial growing. A second (and final) renewal of one more year is possible, taking the total to two years total.
If you cannot attend the meeting of the 24th, then I encourage you to write your supervisor and/or also write a letter to the editor of the Feather River Bulletin by Friday mornings at the 10am intake deadline to “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Thank you— Bill Martin