COMMERCIAL CANNABIS—YES OR NO?

Measure B

In November, we will be faced with a simple decision of whether to vote YES or NO on ballot Measure B—also known as the Medicinal and Adult Use of Cannabis Ordinance (MAUCO). If passed, Measure B will allow commercial cannabis activity in Plumas County.

Considerations behind this vote are not so simple, many issues are involved, and many impacts to the county should be recognized. With or without commercial growing, state law now allows for personal use of marijuana, and residents are allowed to grow up to six plants per residence.

I signed up for Measure B

I signed the petition to get the MAUCO initiative on the November ballot without knowing much about it, but in the interest of the democratic process and to learn more. Now, in retrospect, and after learning a lot more about the proposed initiative, I regret signing the petition and helping put it on the ballot. I now plan to vote NO on it.

I am fully supportive of adult use of marijuana and the ability for adult residents to grow up to six plants. And I appreciate and support the wide use and many medical benefits of marijuana, especially after my wife’s recent painful accident. However, the commercial growing of cannabis in the county is another matter.

My concerns are due the many potential problems commercial cannabis activity presents for the county and our citizens. Difficulty of collecting fees and taxes, enforcement of regulations, a quagmire of potential administrative appeals and issues, land use problems, use of chemicals, bypassing environmental regulations, crime, water demand, etc., are among these concerns. Other counties and states are struggling with the many unanticipated problems associated with commercial cannabis activity.

YES for Prop. 64

I also voted for Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana use in California. I did so because I believed that previous laws were draconian and resulted in the incarceration of many people for minor offenses. I also have friends who are users and some growers, which seems fine to me.

Also, Plumas County does need sources of revenue and employment. However, commercial cannabis activity and all of its potential problems do not appear to be a good solution. Prohibition of substances is also not a good solution, nor has it been effective in the past, but the current allowed uses of recreational and medical marijuana, as well as allowing adults to grow their own plants, is hardly a “prohibition.”

Finally, in the future, the Board of Supervisors may develop some reasonable ordinance or ideally, it could be developed now. The BOS, working with county agencies and a citizens’ group, could develop a reasonable and balanced ordinance for the management of cannabis.

Measure B is NOT reasonable

However, the current MAUCO ordinance (Measure B), written by commercial growers, does not appear reasonable. It allows for a great deal of commercial growing, has many loopholes, will likely create an underfunded administrative nightmare for the county, and will open a “floodgate” for commercial growers.

Despite the good intentions of some small local growers, big money corrupts, and it always has. Commercial cannabis growing will likely quickly get out of hand.

Considering all of these issues and risks and to protect the quality of life we currently have in Plumas County, I think it wise to vote NO on the November commercial cannabis ballot Measure B!

~Gordon R. Keller, PE., GE. Civil Engineer

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