CA Marijuana Legalization Faces Unlikely Foe
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CA Marijuana Legalization Faces Unlikely Foe
Posted by CN Staff on October 04, 2016 at 05:49:45 PT
By Rory Carroll
Source: Reuters
Humboldt, Calif, -- Hezekiah Allen is a third-generation marijuana farmer in this Northern California county, where the cool coastal fog pours off the Pacific Ocean, coaxing pot plants to heights of 20 feet.The executive director of the California Growers Association trade group, Allen has long sought an end to what he calls "prohibition" and has looked forward to a day when he and the thousands of pot farmers here would no longer be outlaws.
But he said he can't bring himself to vote for Proposition 64, a referendum on California's November ballot that would legalize cultivation, sale and recreational use of marijuana.While pot purveyors might seem to be likely Prop. 64 supporters, Allen's ambivalence is widespread within the industry.The California Growers Association took a neutral stance after a recent poll among its 750 farmers, distributors and retailers found a split: 31 percent supported, 31 percent opposed, and 38 percent were undecided.The larger Prop. 64 debate has focused on moral, social and health consequences of legalized pot use, but growers' concerns are more prosaic. Some fear going legit will mean too much red tape and burdensome oversight. Some fear an onslaught of big business - and competition that could wipe them out."I don't want to replace a criminal injustice with an economic injustice," Allen said.Steve Dodge, the CEO of the Humboldt Growers Collective, another trade group, said he is voting against the initiative because it would allow regulatory inspections that some pot growers view as tantamount to warrantless searches."We are asking farmers to come out from behind the curtain, but not providing the assurances they need," he said. "This law is setting the state up for failure."California, the sixth-largest economy in the world, already has legalized marijuana for medical use. It is the biggest producer in a U.S. market that includes 24 other states and the District of Columbia with some form of legalization. Brokerage Cowen pegs legal and illegal U.S. market at about $30 billion.The approval of recreational use on such a big scale would be a turning point. It would more than double sales in California to $6.46 billion in 2020 from the $2.76 billion in medical use receipts last year, according to a projection by market researcher New Frontier.Polls suggest the measures will pass. But growers' concerns show it won't be easy to move a multi-billion-dollar gray industry into the light.Growers would face tax bills and the expense of improving their farms' ecological footprints to meet environmental regulations. And, after a five year grace period, industrial-sized farms would be allowed, a prospect that is expected to attract corporate agriculture.Some growers believe going legit would be less lucrative than selling to states where marijuana remains illegal, a calculus that could drive them further underground."OUTLAW, NOT CRIMINAL"Six hours north of San Francisco, old growth forests in what is known as the "Emerald Triangle" nurture vast marijuana production. Thousand-year-old redwoods have sheltered growers from raids by authorities since the collapse of logging here in the 60s and 70s gave rise to the illicit industry.Wearing a sweatshirt bearing a pot leaf and the slogan, "I'm an outlaw, not a criminal," a black market grower tended to small plants bursting with buds raised in a room under high powered lights and the breeze of fans. The grower, who identified himself only as Jason B for fear of prosecution, said he wants to keep big business "out of our neighborhood.""The reason I will vote 'no' on the proposition is that it will be corporate influenced and it would be a sub-par product," he said.Standing in his outdoor grove of plants that tower above him, Stephen Dillon said the Humboldt Sun Growers Guild he heads is split over Prop. 64. Growers in the group also are concerned that it will open the industry to big agriculture, as well as taxes and penalties, he said.Dillon acknowledged some illegal growers hurt the environment, draining creeks for irrigation, pouring pesticide-laden runoff back into the water supply and creating mountains of trash on their sites. Prop. 64 would allow the state to revoke the licenses of such bad actors. But Dillon said its environmental regulations could cost $20,000 to $100,000 per farm to meet.DOUBTS IN HAIGHT-ASHBURYDoubts are not confined to growers.Patrice Scott is a receptionist for Green Evaluations, a medical marijuana clinic above Amoeba Records in San Francisco's historic Haight-Ashbury district, the epicenter of the hippie movement in the late 1960s that promoted free love, psychedelic music and pot.Scott said she will vote against Prop. 64, viewing it as a money grab by state and local governments she fears will squander the revenue. She said the medical marijuana rules, which require purchasers to obtain a card from a physician, work fine."No one has a problem getting a card," she said. "This is just a way for them (government) to profit."But opposition is not universal in the industry. Some, noting a glut in pot is driving down prices, said they welcome legalization if it brings new demand."It is just free falling," said Marion Collamar, a Humboldt county grower who supports Prop. 64.The average price of a pound of wholesale cannabis has fallen from $2,030 in January 2016 to $1,664 in August, according to Cannabis Benchmarks, a wholesale cannabis pricing company.Chrystal Ortiz, a small farmer and operations manager for the Sun Growers Guild, said she supports Prop 64 because it would eliminate or reduce most criminal penalties, as well as prior convictions, for marijuana offenses."Primarily black and brown underprivileged people are the ones being affected by the illegality of cannabis," she said.Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Peter Henderson and Lisa GirionSource: Reuters (Wire)Author: Rory CarrollPublished: October 4, 2016Copyright: 2016 Thomson ReutersCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on October 07, 2016 at 18:09:26 PT
Had Enough
Love Copperhead Road! I am glad all is well.
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Comment #11 posted by Had Enough on October 07, 2016 at 16:19:38 PT
Bike Week...
Well the bands are crankin' up...Light rain...breezy wind   about15 mph...Gusts to 25...Well...might as well join them...I can hear friends playing at the park...Right they're playin' Copperhead Road...************Steve Earle - Copperhead Road
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Comment #10 posted by Had Enough on October 07, 2016 at 13:29:30 PT
Stormy Weekend...
Thanks FoM...okay here...Wind picked up quite a bit...a little more rain...All is good so far...Haven't seen the sun since Wednesday...This is Bike Week here...looks like the stages for the bands are being set up...the streets downtown are closed off for the event...even so...not many bikes on much for the storm...I'm sure though the show will at least get rained on...
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on October 07, 2016 at 05:40:15 PT
Had Enough
I am so glad you are OK!
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Comment #8 posted by Had Enough on October 07, 2016 at 01:08:39 PT
Storm looks like a Clown Face...
Go to this link and check out the satellite view of this storm...looks like one of those creepy clown faces...Click to see...
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Comment #7 posted by Had Enough on October 06, 2016 at 23:31:25 PT
News People...
The news media is freaking out over this storm...causing others that bite on sensationalism and news feeds to freak out right along with them...I've already mentioned to many to be cool and do their thing...If they want to leave I encourage them to do so...And the ones they want to ride it out...I tell them to check themselves and be prepared...and tell them to be ready to go days...possibly a week or more without power or potable water...and they will be in for an experience they will never forget...and also that it will teach them to be more self-sufficient instead of taking everyday things for granted...That's all I can do for now...I have a generator...week or more worth of food and water I hope...plenty of gas in the vehicles...I'm good...except for this one huge Hickory Tree that is real close to the house...maybe the storm will take it out...but it has to fall just right...It is leaning in the proper direction to fall too...
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Comment #6 posted by Had Enough on October 06, 2016 at 23:16:24 PT
Humboldt Growers...
They did the same thing last time around...they like the coin...and do not want competition with their bottom line...
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on October 06, 2016 at 23:12:32 PT
Thank you, Had Enough
I'm thankful you're safe.
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Comment #4 posted by Had Enough on October 06, 2016 at 22:45:49 PT
Storm...Thanks Hope...
All is okay here...light rain...a little wind....The storm is on the other coast...we will be fine here...but the East Coast will catch hell...************REO Speedwagon - Ridin' the Storm Out (1981)
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Comment #3 posted by John Tyler on October 06, 2016 at 19:41:23 PT
there is strength in numbers.
The California business and agricultural climate will be changing soon. The current growers will have to adapt to the change too. They will need to organize themselves into some type of cooperative organization to protect their interests. They will need lawyers, lobbyist, a PR firm business consultant, etc., etc. It is boring and drags my head just thinking about it. However, what they have is something very valuable and if they are not strong, careful, and organized they could lose it to some big heartless, soulless corporation that doesn’t really care about cannabis, except for how much money it will make for them. That would be a shame for cannabis and heartbreaking for them. Maybe good Karma will get them through this trying time, but I would also suggest some organization, and business and legal counsel. Remember, there is strength in numbers.
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on October 06, 2016 at 13:38:10 PT
Had Enough and others... be safe.
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Comment #1 posted by Hope on October 04, 2016 at 07:11:56 PT
Twenty feet?
Here I go... thinking about fire breaks again.And other stuff.I can't help but smile. Twenty feet?Sorry. Didn't get past the first sentence. I need to read the entirety of the article now.Twenty feet? 
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