Kevin Hoover: Protect Arcata’s Fair Cannabis Laws From Threats And Abuse – October 4, 2011

The Department of Justice’s letter to the City of Eureka warning of prosecutions and more if that City enacts cannabis laws similar to Arcata’s is understandable. The DOJ is concerned about legitimizing organized crime. But Arcata should ignore the bluster, continue to administer the municipal laws on its books and offer to defend City employees who handle this work.

Arcata isn’t going to allow a cannabis dispensary to operate outside the Land Use Code. If it did, the LUC would be meaningless and we’d have abandoned any notion of planned development. The City shouldn’t buckle to challenges from on high, either.

Arcata’s laws were shaped and passed by elected leaders after multiple public hearings. They reflect the will of our people. Further, they are logical and practical, allowing medical cannabis patients to grow or purchase all the meds they need while giving police the tools they need to temper the scourge of residential grow houses.

In 2008, I interviewed the then-Deputy Director of Drug Control Policy, Scott Burns, at Arcata City Hall. Regarding cannabis dispensaries, he said federal enforcement would “...include sending official notices to the dispensaries that you are in violation of federal law to the owners. That they’re subject to losing their property, which I predict will happen soon.”

It never happened, and if the reefer madness-deluded Bush administration didn’t go after Arcata, Obama won’t either.

The City should call the feds’ bluff and continue to implement the fair policy our citizens wrought regarding cannabis cultivation and dispensing.

If you maintain any hope for logic and compassion in our crazy world, you have to believe our national leaders have better things to do than attack one of the few places that have brought a semblance of order to this difficult situation.


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  1. Jessica Arnold said:

    “Permits will be affected by a recent court decision involving Long Beach’s permitting.”

    Yes… at the Arcata City Council meeting last night, it was decided that the Planning Commission will continue processing permit applications, but will make no final decisions until time has passed and council members reassess the continually evolving legal atmosphere surrounding medical Cannabis.

  2. Jessica Arnold said:

    There will be a speaker tonight at HSU presenting his research on “The Carbon Footprint of Indoor Cannabis Production.” Evan Mills, PhD research scientist from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, has estimated that 1% of TOTAL US electricity production goes to indoor-grown pot, and 3% of California’s TOTAL electricity produced supplies indoor grows.

    (more info about the talk here: )

    As we are charting new territory with local regulations for medical Cannabis cultivation, we can justify our actions by standing firm in Humboldt’s tradition of protecting our environment. By permitting and regulating dispensaries and gardens, we will have access to data that is currently difficult to obtain because of the clandestine nature of most grow ops. Then we can begin to have more open and objective conversations about what practices are best for everyone.

    Jessica Arnold
    HSU Graduate Student
    Energy, Environment, & Society program

  3. LindaAnne said:

    thank you Kevin, for common sense.
    The feds are pressing and if municipalities give up to the intimidation, the black market will excel.

  4. Ian Ray said:

    Berkeley has the opposite approach where they only license collectives in residential zones. Their problem collective is “40 Acres” which operates in a commercial zone.

    This zoning seems a bit arbitrary to me rather than orderly and well planned.

  5. Mark Sailors said:

    Or they could repeal the unenforceable, unconstitutional ordinance and let prop 215 and the MMPA be the guide for legality. They could walk away from all cannabis patients and gardens that provide doctors recommendations.
    They could require no more for a retail collective or retail co-op than is required for any other retail business.
    If people are destroying housing to grow, there are plenty of other remedies that don’t involve that actual pot, like felony vandalism and other charges that could be brought to bear on “over the top” situations.

    I also seem to remember telling the council, plan co, and city staff that they could be held legally liable for licensing these grow YEARS ago.

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