Letters to the Editor: About that cannabis march

On that cannabis thing

The following letter is addressed to the Arcata City Council.

Thanks for giving me time to speak at Tuesday’s City Council meeting on the proposed “Yes, We Cann!” permit for using Arcata’s streets and ballpark for a promotional/educational event about marijuana.

I appreciate Mr. Geider’s desire to increase knowledge about marijuana, which has been subject to much misinformation. The demonization of marijuana was a horrible mistake, costing billions of dollars and ruining many lives with serious penalties. Sound science-based education is certainly useful.

But marijuana, like alcohol, is a mind-altering substance requiring appropriate regulation.If current regulations are inappropriate, unfortunately, we still are where we are, and have to respond accordingly.

Before I suggest steps Arcata can take to open-mindedly protect the City of Arcata and the public, I’d like Mr. Geider to know that, like himself, I am pro-business. My father started over 15 small business enterprises in his lifetime, and before retiring I had a sole proprietorship business in the Bay Area and Arcata for 22 years.

I’ve been active in Humboldt County to promote innovative economic development here. All I want is to see this parade/event proposal evaluated in a business-like manner that protects the City of Arcata and the public. As manager of a business, Mr. Geider should be very supportive of a business-like approach to his parade and event.

Because this project is a “first” for Arcata, I hope, before a permit decision is made, city staff does research on the competence of the sponsoring organization, such as learning what other cities experienced when the “Cann” organization conducted a city parade and exhibit/event in their city. I suggest Arcata take the following steps:

• This is more than just issuing a parade permit to our local Kiwanis Club, so we should learn more about with whom we’re doing business. Ask the event’s promoters to submit the name and telephone/email contact information for a city official for at least five cities where the promoter staged a similar parade and exhibit event. The responses will hopefully assure Arcata that the promoter can comply with Arcata’s requirements; for example, these should include the promoter, in writing, agreeing to provide enough experienced, qualified staff to manage the parade and exhibit to avoid undesirable impacts to Arcata and Arcata residents. At Wednesday’s council meeting, Mr. Geider touted the fact that they’ve done many similar events, so providing references should be easy.

• Ask Arcata’s liability insurance carrier for confirmation the parade and event qualify for liability coverage under Arcata’s insurance policy, given the fact that the event, although not sponsored by Arcata, promotes the use of a federal drug law Schedule I substance. At the meeting, City Attorney Nancy Diamond confirmed that federal law supersedes any and all applicable state laws and court decisions under the U.S. Constitution’s Article VI supremacy clause. It was also confirmed that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has urged Congress to abolish all limits on federal prosecutions to enforce current federal marijuana law.

• Also, confirm the “Cann” organization has adequate liability insurance of its own that includes insuring liability or damage to the City of Arcata that comes out of the parade and event.

• Advertising (unfortunately already being done by the promoter, in spite of not yet having a permit) mentions children under age 12 getting into the event free. How will marijuana’s use and effects be explained or promoted to children at the parade and event? Can a sample of this content for children be provided to city staff and the council?

• You’d think the City of Arcata, because it’s not itself sponsoring or promoting the proposed parade and event, wouldn’t normally be the target of legal action brought under federal drug enforcement laws.

However, these laws apply to production, cultivation, distribution, manufacturing, possession, providing, sale, and use, of marijuana, as federal law defines these terms. “Aiding and abetting,” and being an “accessory” to illegal conduct can also result in being charged.

So unless we research the reach of these laws, we won’t know, if enforcement occurs, if they have a narrow scope, or instead are very broadly construed to include seemingly unconnected parties (like Arcata) as “enablers,” “co-conspirators,” “abettors” or “aiders.”

• There was no discussion at the July 19 meeting of what costs (such as for police, city staff time, legal research costs, insurance rider costs, etc.) Cann would bear, and what costs Arcata bears. Cann is a business, a profit-making organization, so I assume they are, while fulfilling any higher purpose, in it for the money.

Therefore, the agreement the city enters into with Cann should include a provision for Cann to pay the city’s costs, and provide for an adequate deposit (some of which should be nonrefundable) to assure Arcata’s current difficult financial position isn’t made worse.

• I suggest any agreement with “Cann” include a “hold harmless” agreement to indemnify Arcata for costs and liability Arcata incurs that arise out of the parade and event.

At the July 19 meeting, the promoters argued the event would promote the Arcata and Humboldt economies.

Maybe it could, but I heard no proof offered of whether the “many”other parades or events achieved this.

Until such proof is offered and studied, Arcata is guaranteed only of incurring a yet-to-be determined cost in city staff time, police presence, and legal research.

You may ask: Why be so concerned with these details, costs and risks? In response, I’m on Arcata’s Transactions and Use Tax Oversight Committee (TUTOC), where we receive reports of Arcata’s ( like other cities’) financial difficulties, both now and expected in the future. We need to use prudence before we jump into something new like this.

So while showing Arcata to be innovative and open-minded, please be careful to protect Arcata’s needs and best interests in your research and decision on the permit.

J. Jeffrey Knapp

It takes a seaside village

On June 18, the Greater Trinidad Chamber of Commerce hosted the 60th annual Trinidad Fish Festival.

Beginning as an all-you-can-eat crab feed serving about 100 people, this event has become a festival with 60 crafts vendors, community organizations, four bands, a Kids Zone, a Native American exhibit, the Chamber’s salmon and fish and chips, and four outside food vendors, who widen the culinary choices for the more than 2000 attendees.

One thing that has not changed is the need for volunteers. Without the 100 civic-minded people who give us all or part of their Father’s Day, we could not hold this event, which helps support Arts Night, the Blessing of the Fleet, printing our fantastic brochures, updating our website, and many other community needs.  Our thanks to all of you.

A special “thank you” goes to our fantastic sponsors:  Murphy’s Market, who is there for us throughout the year, always willing to donate;  Cher Ae Heights Casino and Cher Ae Heights Indian Community, who donate money, the stage, shuttle buses, and manpower; Green Diamond Resources and Coast Central Credit Union, fantastic community partners that support us again and again; KIEM TV3 and the Mad River Union, for their help in advertising our event; Traffic Solutions, for equipment and invaluable expertise; and Trinidad’s own Moonstone Crossing Winery, Lighthouse Grill and Trinidad Retreats, local businesses that amaze us with their community spirit.

See you next year!

Katherine Wayne
Greater Trinidad Chamber of Commerce


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