The outdoor marijuana cultivation ordinance unveiled recently by California Cannabis Voice Humboldt ("Draft Day," July 2) is a travesty. Marijuana regulation should right the wrongs of prohibition, not institutionalize them. This ordinance would grandfather in all of the illegal grows in Humboldt County that are up to 10,000 square feet in size. It would legalize the major habitat fragmentation that has taken place under prohibition.
We should remember that the reason growing marijuana became popular here is prohibition. Humboldt's forested mountains are remote, and offered privacy from sparse law enforcement. What has been largely overlooked in the regulation discussion is the necessity of scaling back this incursion of agriculture into the remaining forest habitat. And it is not just TPZ land that matters. All of Humboldt was forest and other native habitat not so very long ago. We must prevent further incursions of agriculture and development into the remaining habitat, and reduce the size and number of existing grows. Even 2,000 square feet is a large grow, when it is placed in the forest, and there are thousands of them.
We should also remember that most of the marijuana from these outdoor grows is sold out of state, on the black market. There is no legitimate reason to permit black market grows. They should have to prove that they sell all of their marijuana to dispensaries, and none on the black market.
For too long, the financial benefit of Humboldt's marijuana crop has been exaggerated, and the social and ecological toll minimized. CCVH only listens to the growers. Everyone should have a voice in this issue. Make your voice heard. Please say no to habitat fragmentation.
Amy Gustin, Ettersburg
After seeing the enormity of the raids that took place on Island Mountain plastered not only all over our own local media, but in the national media as well, I was astounded and appalled. Not because I don't believe cannabis farmers deserve their rightful place in the agricultural community, but because grows of that nature have been hugely damaging to Humboldt County, and California's natural resources as a whole, not to mention the reputations of growers as a whole.
It isn't new news that we are in a drought, and it isn't news that our local salmon populations have been struggling for years now, so, why, then, should growers like those get a pass? I don't believe the ordinance CCVH is trying to pass honestly aims to curtail environmental damage at all, but just to make it legal to grow bigger.
If CCVH wants to make the future of cannabis farming in NorCal look like some kind of Big Ag nightmare, maybe we should take notice, and not allow them to be "California's Cannabis Voice." Oh the irony of how the outlaw pot industry turned into a mini-mirror of U.S politics: The only voice being heard right now is money.
Say what you will, but properly regulating this industry will be key for a healthy community. It's time for the real stakeholders to speak up.
Laine Krassner, Arcata
I was angry and upset after reading Debi Botts' letter dismissing the Humboldt County Sheriff's weeklong Island Mountain raids as being ridiculous and a waste of money. Debi is the one that didn't get the memo. Large grows are poisoning wildlife with rat poison, polluting the land with toxic pesticides, and stealing enough water to cause local rivers to go dry. These greedy growers have no respect for the environment or the Native American community. Salmon and Steelhead are dying from lack of water, tons of junk are left behind for the taxpayers to clean up while people are being killed up there. What is the difference between the behavior of these large growers and Big Oil or Big Coal? I stongly support these raids, and I hope they continue all summer long.
Larry A. Lange, Bayside