As executive director of The Buckeye, I would like to comment on the article written in the April 13 edition under the Week in Weed section, entitled "Farmer to Farmer." I would like to point out that The Buckeye is one of the few NGOs to have an official, published position paper on commercial marijuana cultivation. I would not call this belated at all. As we saw legalization of recreational marijuana happen in November of 2016, and as our local and state governments are all grappling with the legal framework for commercial marijuana cultivation, this seemed a prime opportunity for The Buckeye to stand up for our membership in a topic that has dramatically impacted our rural land owners. The first step in standing up for our members was to create an official position on commercial marijuana cultivation.
In the position paper, The Buckeye has real concerns about the long-term environmental impacts of the marijuana industry on Humboldt County's natural resources. The Buckeye believes that growers/permit holders are not being held accountable for the environmental degradation caused by marijuana cultivation that has occurred over the last five decades.
The Buckeye position paper also states that the marijuana industry must be held to the same regulatory standards as farming, timber, dairy and ranching. We must hold commercial marijuana cultivation to the same standards as every other industry. We strongly believe that all codes and permits must be in place before cultivation occurs.
The Buckeye is also concerned that there has been a significant loss of open space provided by ranches because of the artificially inflated property prices caused by the commercial marijuana industry. These ranches have been subdivided, developed and subsequently intensely cultivated for marijuana production.
To see The Buckeye's full position paper, please visit our website: www.buckeyeconservancy.org.
Lauren Sizemore, Kneeland