The Humboldt Medical Marijuana Advisory Panel has posted its latest proposal for a Humboldt County medical marijuana ordinance on its website. It’s long, but worth reading if you’re into policy wonkery around this subject.
Almost a month ago, there was a somewhat contentious meeting of the Humboldt County Planning Commission in Eureka, the county seat. The Planning Commission staff (as opposed to the Commissioners) had written a medical marijuana proposal based on City of Arcata laws written to appease opponents of marijuana cultivation, especially those who had become incensed by the proliferation of grow houses in Arcata. This proposed ordinance was very anti-pot and industry-restrictive. It was roundly trounced as unworkable, unenforceable, counter-productive to the evolution of the county-wide industry and as a throwback to the bad old days. In response, the Commissioners scrapped it and asked the community to come up with proposals in time for the next meeting on Thursday, May 12th.
The marijuana industry is undergoing a massive and rapid evolution. What Humboldt County—and California—needs is a pro-industry model ordinance that would create a grower-agency partnership to help the county’s number-one revenue generator evolve into the respected, above-ground commercial endeavor that it should be. HuMMAP has been working on this for over a year, with two of the main subjects in One Good Year being active participants in this process. There have been multiple drafts proposed, hashed-out, modified, rejected and reworked. This is the latest and best, though I should note that I have serious reservations about certain aspects of it. (I’ll do a separate commentary post tomorrow.)
Also, last year, another local group, the Humboldt Growers Association put forth their own draft. They have likewise submitted their revised draft to the Planning Commission staff, but it hasn’t been made public yet. The Planning staff had requested that all interested groups and individuals come to some agreement and submit one plan for consideration, but there are apparently some unresolvable differences between the two groups, so it will be interesting to see how it all pans out in the end. As well, we can expect the anti-pot milieu to pipe up and want their input, so the final result may not resemble anything anyone has submitted. No matter what, being Humboldt County, people will do what they want to do. I think by now the County has come to understand that if you want the honey, you don’t go swatting the hive. All it does is piss off the bees and keep them from being productive.
I should note here that I’ve been at most HuMMAP meetings, both filming and participating in the process (as well as being the webmaster). It is sometimes hard to do both, so I don’t always bring the camera. While the meetings can at times be somewhat unproductive and repetitive and will mostly not be material for the movie, the footage will provide a fascinating look back a decade or two from now. We will either be able to giggle at our earnest stumbling and fumbling or be seen as having made history. Maybe both.
All this is a huge leap from a little over a year ago, after the “What’s After Pot?” meeting at the Mateel Community Center in Redway. At that time, few politicians or county agency staff could say “marijuana” out loud. On Thursday evening, they will all be debating it in public.