A vigorous public process is in progress regarding Arcata’s proposed Medical Marijuana Innovation Zone (MMIZ). That city-backed proposal would create an industrial zone were medical (and perhaps someday, recreational) cannabis products could be created via legal, labor-friendly, environmentally responsible and taxpaying businesses. It’s an idea whose time has come. In fact it’s long, long overdue.
Like any large project or revolutionary idea, the MMIZ is not without negative consequences or dislocation. But the alternative – leaving this activity underground and in the law enforcement realm – is way worse: neighborhood and watershed destruction via unregulated grows, the exploitation of the cannabis workforce with substandard wages and working conditions, the forfeiture of many possible jobs and massive tax revenue are just a few of the issues.
It’s a little ironic that the cannabis industry, which roundly denounced Arcata taking out grow houses and even news media coverage of the phenomenon, now points to industrial neighborhood grows as an example of the destructive dysfunction the MMIZ will alleviate. But this time, they’re right.
Make no mistake – the MMIZ or something like it will come about. The only question is whether Arcata takes the lead, shows the world how to do it right (as it did with its 215 cards, grow house guidelines and Excessive Energy Use Tax) and reaps the benefits – or lets others do it.
The Planning Commission and City Council meetings we’ve held on the MMIZ have drawn participation by advocates and opponents (and inevitably, lawyers). If you have an opinion, share it. The Planco and City Council have proven exceptionally responsive to public input, and reshaped the MMIZ accordingly. The process continues.
We’re confident that Arcata will work through this process and create a legal, beneficial – and finally, after all these years, rational approach to cannabis.
Want to end ruinous reefer madness? End prohibition. Vote for cannabis decriminalization. Support the MMIZ.