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Politics

The Great Cannabis Clash of Calaveras County

August 1, 2017

In May, an organization representing cannabis farmers in Calaveras County, California—a rural enclave of 45,000 souls in the state’s historic gold country foothills—tried to buy the local police department an extra cop.

The farmers’ offer was not well received.

For the last three years, the public high school in Angels Camp, the county’s lone incorporated city, had been without a school resource officer. The school—Bret Harte Union High School, after the Gold Rush-era writer—once had a police officer on campus, but then the money had run out.

The county has been without an anchor employer industry since a cement plant closed in the early 1980s.

California’s boosters love to brag about “the world’s sixth-largest economy,” but such bounty is an abstraction in Calaveras, more than two hours’ drive east from San Francisco and about halfway between Lake Tahoe to the north and Yosemite National Park to the south. This year, county supervisors are grappling with a $3.6 million budget deficit, which has led to an understaffed jail. At the nadir of the Great Recession, unemployment soared to nearly 15% as nearly one in eight people lost their jobs. The jobless figure would have been higher were it not for the fact that half the people here are over 50 years old, and many are retirees, lured here in the 1990s by cheap land prices, golf courses, and senior-friendly housing developments.

The county has been without an anchor employer industry since a cement plant closed in the early 1980s. Aside from local government and a private hospital, the job market is almost entirely dependent on tourism. “It’s not that there are no decent employment opportunities here, it’s that they’re all taken,” said one longtime county resident and cannabis farmer. “You’re basically just waiting for someone to die.”

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In 2015, the most recent year of California’s historic drought, a devastating wildfire swept through the region. More than 550 homes burned in the Butte Fire, a catastrophe that compelled some people to give up on life in the area, sell their land, and leave.

“Is this town not worth saving?”
Jackie Heintz, retired Angels Camp city clerk

The county’s name, Calaveras, is Spanish for “skulls,” a moniker granted, so the story goes, after an early European explorer found piles of human bones alongside a riverbank, later named the Rio de los Calaveras (literally, “river of skulls”). These days, with so many elderly residents and so few young people starting families, deaths are outpacing births by about 100 a year. And unlike other fast-growing California counties that have seen heavy a heavy migration of urban dwellers fleeing skyrocketing home prices, there aren’t enough newcomers moving to Calaveras to make up the difference. According to official state figures, the county has a negative growth rate.

To put it plainly: Skulls County is dying.

The city of Angels Camp itself, incorporated in 1912, is so poorly run, so corrupt, and there is so little interest among citizens in fixing it, that a grand jury recently suggested the city consider dissolution. That sparked a sorrowful plea in the Calaveras Enterprise, the local newspaper.

“Where are you men who graduated from Bret Harte and are now enjoying your life here in Angels Camp?” wrote a retired city clerk. “Is this town not worth saving?”

Many who grew up here have an interest in rejuvenating the region. But today, the only thing booming in Calaveras County is cannabis.

(Chris Roberts for Leafly)

Weather in the foothills—hot days, cool nights, bone-dry almost nine months of the year—is ideal for growing the plant. Some horticulturists say it is the absolute best climate on the planet for cannabis.

Like most other rural areas of the state, marijuana has been grown here for decades with varying degrees of subterfuge. At least one major brand, Bloom Farms, has been based here for several years. Its CEO, Mike Ray, is a Calaveras County local, born and bred.

Following the devastation caused by the 2015 Butte Fire, when land was available on the cheap, growers shut out of the state’s Emerald Triangle “pot basket” flocked here. Ray, who weathered years of record-breaking drought only to lose his childhood home and entire 99-plant crop in the blaze, rebuilt and kept his business in the county. He now employs 50 people, with 10 working directly on the farm.

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Some marijuana green-rushers bought land and set up sophisticated farms. Others, as the Sacramento Bee reported, merely parked old RVs on burned-out lots and started growing—in some cases, growing hundreds of plants on small, two-acre plots next to modest suburban homes.

According to the county planning department, there are now as many as 1,600 “commercial” cannabis farms in the county. By one estimate, a study conducted by academics from the University of the Pacific, in nearby Stockton, more than 2,600 people are now employed in the county’s cannabis trade.

If those figures are accurate, marijuana is easily the number one industry in Calaveras County. And even if they’re not, cannabis is already helping to balanced the county’s ailing books.

Last summer, officials confronted the obvious: Weed was the only thing going in Calaveras, so weed should be the centerpiece of the county’s recovery after the fire. Beginning last May, officials started handing out permits for some of the largest legal cannabis plantings in California: up to half an acre. (For context’s sake, a thousand plants—more than enough for a skilled grower, with help, to grow a literal ton in a season—can easily fit on one acre.)

More than 700 growers paid $5,000 apiece for the privilege.

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In six months, marijuana brought in $3.7 million to Calaveras County. That’s in permit fees alone. Under a new cultivation tax—$2 per square foot of grow space for outdoor, $5 per square foot for indoor—the county is projected to rake in millions more this year and next. And if the county were to complement its wine and tourism trades with cannabis—with attractions like tours and tastings, like the ones big-thinking growers in Humboldt and Mendocino counties envision—it could mean even bigger things.

Calaveras could be the next Emerald Triangle.

“Calaveras really has the opportunity to be the Napa of cannabis,” Ray of Bloom Farms told me. “It’s two hours and fifteen minutes from downtown San Francisco. Humboldt has the volume and the title of the largest cultivator epicenter, but it’s six hours away. Nobody’s going to go up there. We could bring in tourism, hotels, restaurants.”

At the same time, marijuana has meant a mad rush of moneyed outsiders into what had been a sleepy, desiccated, and slowly crumbling community. This has caused a “panic” among locals, one grower told me.

“This was not what anyone wanted,” he said.

“Calaveras really has the opportunity to be the Napa of cannabis.”

Which brings us back to cannabis and cops. In the spring, the Calaveras Cannabis Alliance (CCA), an advocacy group for the local industry, put up $60,000 to help replace Bret Harte High School’s lost on-campus cop. The Enterprise called it a “hefty” and “significant” offer, likening it to any other kind of munificence from a well-to-do business looking to “give back,” like the local Chamber of Commerce or some nearby wineries.

But in May, the Angels Camp City Council voted to reject the check. Marijuana is federally illegal, they reasoned, and the town or school might somehow get in trouble.

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It was the flimsiest of premises, considering that the state of California accepts hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes from marijuana sellers, and—as the city attorney told the Council—taking out Angels Camp isn’t likely to ever land on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s to-do list.

If the CCA really wanted to help, the Council suggested, it could instead spend its $60,000 on printing pamphlets describing how cannabis is harmful to the teenage brain.

It was the moral equivalent of a broke high school turning down money for a new track or new computers from Coca-Cola or Google and kindly telling the corporate sponsor to fund an anti-obesity or internet-addiction-awareness campaign instead.

“Everyone is willing to say what they don’t want. No one is willing to say what they do want.”
Jack Garamendi, Calaveras County supervisor

It wasn’t the first time the CCA, which doesn’t sell marijuana itself but takes contributions from organizations that do, saw its efforts at philanthropy cause trouble. And it was one of many times when people in Calaveras County told the marijuana industry, in plain language, that it would rather starve than accept a meal ticket paid for by cannabis. A few weeks earlier, a senior-citizens service organization had its budget process put on pause while lawyers pondered whether another gift from CCA—a car—should have been accepted.

On Election Day last fall, cannabis was the key issue on the ballot. While California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 64, the state’s adult-use legalization measure, voters in Calaveras rejected it by more than a thousand votes, upward of two percentage points. Another local measure, which would have put regulations in place for commercial marijuana cultivation, was also rejected. Voters did approve the limited, square-footage-based tax on marijuana farms, however, which, according to a county estimate, could generate as much as $10 million a year.

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“I do not want it,” one resident told the local paper, “but if it is here, we might as well tax it.”

Pushback continued to grow. Calaveras County is governed by a five-member Board of Supervisors. Because nearly all of Calaveras is unincorporated, county supervisor is the top elected post. Two supervisors who had supported the local cannabis industry were soon thrown out and replaced by anti-marijuana candidates who campaigned on the promise that, come spring, voters would have the chance to ban commercial marijuana cultivation outright.

Their campaigns were “reefer madness to the max, OK?” said Bob Bowerman, a former advertising executive and longtime cannabis activist who now runs the county chapter of NORML (and who ran for supervisor himself against a pro-ban candidate, losing by 351 votes). But the effort worked. Ancient arguments about marijuana’s social evils, coupled with the promise that voters could send the county’s marijuana farmers packing, were political winners.

To understand why, it’s important to remember who lives in rural California, with its open land for cattle ranching and tall trees to shade homesteads. “Back-to-the-land hippies and religious conservatives,” said Trevor Wittke, a lanky 30-something who serves as CCA’s executive director. Wittke grew up in the county and fell into the former category. Many of his schoolmates were in the latter and are now among those who want to outlaw commercial cannabis farms. “There’s a strong moral and religious conservative element to the ban,” Wittke told me.

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“It’s absolutely driven by ideology—and by fear, in many ways,” added Jack Garamendi, a supervisor who held onto his seat in the last election despite supporting a regulated pot industry.

Garamendi ran through the numbers for me: Calaveras County is more than a thousand square miles. By growing cannabis on less than 180 acres—just 20% of a single square mile—the county “can generate more than $12 million in revenue for our schools, our libraries, law enforcement,” he said. “If you just look at the numbers, you’d say, ‘I don’t get this. This doesn’t make sense. Why wouldn’t you do this?’”

The promise to give cannabis the boot nearly came to pass. Organizers of an anti-cannabis campaign collected signatures from 5,220 voters in support of an outright ban. A special election, with the ban on the ballot, was scheduled for May 2. But growers narrowly avoided it after Bowerman filed a legal challenge, and in March a judge ruled that the ballot question was misleading. (By that point, the county had already printed ballots at an estimated cost of up to $40,000.)

Bob Bowerman, who runs the Calaveras County chapter of NORML, filed a lawsuit to disqualify a ballot question that would have banned cannabis businesses in the county. (Chris Roberts for Leafly)

Undaunted, the new anti-marijuana Board of Supervisors in April introduced a ban of its own. A vote could come before the end of September, just as the cannabis crop reaches maturity. The question will go to voters as soon as an environmental impact report, prepared by the planning department, is certified.

Judging by the board’s comments at a June 20 meeting, if the ban comes up for a vote, it will pass. And if it does, “it has the potential to bankrupt the county,” said Debbie Ponte, a former county supervisor who now runs a local business development organization in Angels Camp. “If there’s a ban, it dries up everything.”

If the ban goes through, there’s already talk of lawsuits and another special election, this one cooked up by the pro-marijuana set. It’s as if the entire cycle is repeating itself in mirror image.

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Nearly every step of the process has been arduous—almost absurdly so. In late June, the county’s website was hacked by a group claiming allegiance to the Islamic State. While other county offices’ web presences are back online, the planning department—with its marijuana-related documents—has yet to be restored. In other words, the county’s most important government debate is being conducted primarily in analog.

In the meantime, cannabis is still the talk of the county, in competing letters to the editor printed in the Enterprise and in ongoing flame wars in the newspaper’s comments section and on Facebook.

“It’s been absolutely insane, and you can quote me on that,” said Caz Tomaszewski.

Tomaszewski, 32, is the CCA’s former executive director. A transplant from Sacramento, he moved to Calaveras to grow cannabis in February 2015. He’d worked in health care after a serious bout with a condition he described only as a “complex, chronic illness” in college, but found himself disaffected by an industry focused on pharmaceuticals.

He picked Calaveras over, say, Humboldt or Mendocino because it was not yet “damaged by decades of drug war.”

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“It didn’t have the same culture of paranoia and greed, where people are afraid to talk to neighbors and afraid of cops and all that,” he told me.

If it didn’t then, it might now. Supervisor Dennis Mills, one of the newly elected leaders pushing for a ban, calls marijuana legalization “a great social experiment … gone wrong.” Mills did not return emails and phone messages from Leafly, but in a May interview published in the San Francisco Chronicle, he outlined the basic anti-marijuana script, often echoed in the Enterprise’s letters section: dogs barking, generators running all night, loud music blasting, and a certain unsavory element in Calaveras County that wasn’t there before.

“The commercial cultivation of marijuana has and will continue to bring a criminal element into our County,” proclaims the website of The Committee to Stop Commercial Cultivation, the organization behind the failed ban ballot initiative. The website’s homepage once displayed a banner headline thanking Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his bellicose anti-cannabis stance. Other sections issue dire warnings of “assaults, vandalism, [and] murders.”

The “committee” is mostly one man, a fixture at local board meetings named Bill McManus. He didn’t respond to a telephone message seeking comment.

(Chris Roberts for Leafly)

“Outside gangs and criminals have and will continue to come into our County to steal the mature marijuana plants during time of harvest,” the website declares. “Cartel gangs are currently illegally growing marijuana in Calaveras County.”

There’s scant evidence for most of those claims. While eradication teams do make routine busts of unlicensed grows—including a recent 1,100-plant haul—and there was one marijuana-connected homicide in late 2015, there have been no major cases involving organized crime.

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While most complaints center on crime, others suggest a deeper, cultural rift.

“Our family moved to this county to get away from these anti-social, drug-driven groups of folk in the Bay Area,” reads an entry under the website’s testimonials section. “And now, here they are.”

One can read the comment as relating to more than just cannabis, and many have. The San Francisco Bay Area—with its booming tech economy and thriving, well-regulated cannabis industry—is racially and culturally diverse. Calaveras, meanwhile, is more than 90% white.

But even the CCA and other industry members concede that the prohibitionists have a point: Cannabis growers can be annoying. And, quite possibly, a quarter-acre cannabis farm on a two-acre plot might be too much weed. Too much, too soon, too close to residences—and all of it far too fast.

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“Even in our neighborhood, there’s constant dog-barking, generators running 24 hours a day,” Bloom Farm’s Mike Ray told me. “I think a lot of it stems from an influx of—what’s the word?—an influx of newcomers, many of whom are bad actors.”

“And all of that,” he said, echoing the argument growers make at each and every county supervisors meeting, “is caused by non-regulation.”

Logistically, banning marijuana seems virtually impossible. It would require resources the county simply does not have. On top of that, if the marijuana taxes go away, the budget deficit grows by millions overnight. If police are laid off and inspectors aren’t hired, who, exactly, will shut down the bad growers? And if the marijuana industry is denied a place in Calaveras County, what do local leaders plan to put in its place to balance the budget and create jobs?

“I have asked that question, and nobody has provided me with an answer,” Supervisor Garamendi said. “Everyone is willing to say what they don’t want. No one is willing to say what they do want.”

“The majority of the board continues to move forward with a plan that, in many ways, is driving off a fiscal cliff,” he continued. “They’re hoping we sprout wings before we crash. That’s a big hope.”

Ray of Bloom Farms agreed. “If they ban it, and push it underground, they will spend the next five years arresting people and spending millions of dollars for nothing,” he said.

“They’re stuck in their old ways,” he added. “They’re comfortable without it. But they don’t see the big picture.”

Chris Roberts's Bio Image

Chris Roberts

Based in New York City, Chris Roberts has been writing about cannabis since spending a few months in Humboldt County in 2009. His work has been published in SF Weekly, Cannabis Now, The Guardian, High Times, and San Francisco Magazine, among others.

View Chris Roberts's articles

  • lovingc

    Fear, ignorance and stupidity, a potent evil alive and well in gods country. Why don’t you people wake up and smell the cannabis it is a god send for health wealth and piece. The rest is just good management. Something in short supply in Calaveras county.

  • Fun Please

    And yet, the state is going broke – go figure.

  • Bill Wilson

    I wish they would put it to the voters…. the problem is for the last year we have had the UO & regulation! Yet these three new Supervisors have in essence tried to turned back the clock. While the county growers who wanted to be regulated signed up, worked to bring farms into compliance with all the things required by the county. The county was overwhelmed with more that 700 applications for those permits. Many didn’t apply for just the reasons we have now the board doing a flip-flop going for a Ban instead of cleaning up the Ordinance on file waiting for the now famous EIR.

    They could get down to work and change things in that ordinance to bring it into line with objections, current state laws now hammered out at the state level, lot size issues, commercial growing in close residential neighborhoods and just who and where you can you grow those state legal six plants along with medical/caregiver patients rights some can still grow theirs! But not our guys they keep pushing for this Ban there is no money for. if they are having to spend those regulation fees and taxes for last year how are they going to balance this year’s budget? We’ve had regulation for just over a year. Wow we’ve really given this a try. We’ve had a prohibition for 80 years. Tell me again which one works?

    After redirecting the company to re-scope the EIR for a Ban, not regulation, as was its intended. The new board has had to vote to spend more money to just answer the questions the re-scoped EIR caused. One of it’s biggest flaws, to me, is they got them to say a Ban was the best option but only with 100% compliance? Really we didn’t even get 100% sign up of growers with regulation. Who in their right mind would believe they could achieve 100% compliance with a Ban? Hasn’t happened for the past oh 57 years? As it stands their may very will be more unregistered grows than legal ones since the County stopped allowing new applications June 2016 and the denial rate has been running at almost 50%.

    As the county now races toward it’s great Ban those same three supervisors voted to spend those cannabis tax dollars to balance last years budget. While also voting to spend even more general fund dollars, that’s where those cannabis dollars go, to contract with two companies for eradication of unregister grows at last months meeting. So it’s good money if they can spend it on what they want, but not if those same tax paying locals business owner/growers want to donate to the High School for a cops salary or a car for a senior center to deliver meals. Wonder how many citizens voted for those plans???

    It would seem these three new board members know how to waist cannabis tax money but want to end it? They want to stop those tax dollars by banning commercial growing in a county world renown for growing it. Rather than continue working on regulation. News of eradications of those now unregistered. They were sent letters warning they were not in compliance with the county.

    My question is why? Why aren’t they registered? Why hasn’t the county processed those 700 plus registrations? Where is the hold up? What department’s have not preformed in their part’s of the regulation process which department still hasn’t completed their steps. Why aren’t they done? Fees were collected, money for a 3D laser scanner for the sheriff to measure those inspections/eradications was spent. All departments were allotted new staff, equipment etc. in essence the cost of the program. But their only half way through? We need to ban? Regulation just doesn’t work if you don’t want it to.

    Why aren’t any of these unregistered grows registered? Are they the toxic wastelands we’ve been told they are? Run by the cartels and gangs? If they are all the more reason to regulate not ban? Take a bite out of the black market. Isn’t the real problem a 57 year old lie still believed today. That cannabis has no medical valve and is more dangerous than alcohol or tobacco, its as bad as heroin, yet still hasn’t killed a sole in it’s history!

    While 28 States (and counting) have made it legal either recreationally and or medically even Washing D.C. none have gone backwards. The county has had state legal medical grows for years. The county has also had legal dispensaries paying taxes they too go with the great ban. Now they have 6.7 million with more still coming in or in one place I read 8.5 million from regulated growers with that due again in Dec. Naw they’d rather vote to ban by 3 than let a vote of the people have a say! After all the voters did pass the tax measure that’s why they have those dollars to waist on what ever they want.

    • Jesse Brown

      Every legal grower I know says they’ll continue growing regardless of the ban. They know that the county wasted the money and can’t afford to enforce a ban and they’re willing to gamble on the county closing down other grows first, before getting to theirs. Plus they’re willing to pay penalty fees, knowing their crop will bring in way more than those fees cost. So no matter what, they’re not going anywhere soon. So good luck to all the people stuck in the “reefer madness” mindset, you might as well throw in the towel and move to somewhere like Idaho or Missouri. I’m sure they’ll have a few years before those states turn to the recreational industry. And don’t get me started on the EIR, that’s just bogus propaganda they’re trying into use to shit the industry down. The anti crowd are totally fine with herbicide being sprayed on all their roadsides and food farms using pesticides and chemical fertilizers that get in the soil and water table, but god forbid an actual organic crop having fish fertilizer water possibly go into the soil. It’s a backwards mentality and I’m hoping the new generation wakes up

      • Rion De El Dedo

        Thing is it won’t be the local community enforcing the ban, it will be the State of CA. You can’t get a State license in a jurisdiction that bans cultivation, and after the State licenses come out next year they’ll start cracking down on growers who don’t get one. That means if there is a ban in 2020 a lot of people in this county are going to jail and having their crops seized.

        • Bob Mann

          Not so sure.
          I think they have screwed themselves by taxing it.
          If you tax something, you have, in most jurisdictions, made it legal.
          You can’t tax someone for something and then arrest them for the same thing you have been taxing them for.
          That’s the way they got around that in Vancouver and BC in general.
          Everyone who paid for a licence, or is being specifically taxed or charged a fee in relation to cannabis, has effectively been made legal. IMHO of course.

  • Rob Woodside

    Thank you for an excellent and interesting article!
    It is sad to see conservatives cutting off their noses to spite their faces! A number of dope start ups in legalized states have been screwed by local bans put in place after the start up has spent their cash setting up operations. Reefer Madness is still a real threat.

  • Beth Wittke

    This is a great article. While Bob Bowerman did sue to get the measure B ballot language amended to be more truthful, Jeremy Carlson at Little Trees Wellness in Arnold California deserves full credit for the judge striking measure B from the ballot. Thank you Jeremy and Little Trees dispensary, we are all indebted to you!

  • Silverado

    Yawnnnnnn…….here is Washington state I can’t recall the last time I heard anything negative about cannabis on the local news (usually KING-5 in this house). I’m sure if there was more grown outdoors around populated areas or neighborhoods there would be complaints. There should be more consideration of your close neighbor(s) and would prohibit large outdoor legal grows or even unfiltered exhaust air from indoor grows in or close to residential neighborhoods. Anyway large outdoor legal grows are fairly scarce here on the rainy (though not this dry, dry and hot summer) side from what I hear and read although that’s not as true over in agricultural, rural and much hotter and drier eastern Washington where sun-grown & harvested outdoor cannabis is…more common.

  • Truepatriot_56

    What a hypocrit community. With their attitude, i would expect them to also outlaw alcohol and tobacco. Talk about cutting off their nose just to site their face. How ignorant.
    They would be better served by passing a noise ordinance.

  • Anton_Zilwicki

    This isn’t a Conservative vs Liberal issue. This is an ignorance and fear issue. After more than a century of anti cannabis legislation and hysteria mostly driven by Big Liquor and Big Pharma, we are at a crossroads. It’s a hearts and minds opportunity. The first thing necessary is to remove the government from the equation. Vote the dissenters out of office and put in people with an ideology based on the good of everyone. It sounds like the entrenched idiocy of the Reagan “Just say NO” adherents still hold sway. Fix it.

  • Ramma

    Jerry Brown is the one to complain to, oh wait he does only serves himself surly not the legal citizens

  • BenSamizdat

    I considered taking a grow job in Calaveras County and checked it out pretty thoroughly, I didn’t see evidence of graft, corruption, or huge cartels. Both sides of this article have some hype. What I did see is that cannabis is already an anchor industry and there are some conservatives who are concerned for conserving their way of life in an area with a rich history. I’m confident this can be worked out. The issue is probably not extra police, but extra firefighters since the whole area is a tinder box that seems to burn every summer.

  • Tim Ellis

    It saddens and scares me greatly reading this well written important article exposing the level of ignorance being displayed by the anti’s yet also find it unavoidable placing plenty of blame on the selfish, greedy, profit driven growers who’s irreresponsible ways have given the whole mmj grow industry a black eye and a platform of legitimate reasons for the anti’s to be upset and angry.
    Sadly though many people on both sides aren’t being grateful and appreciative of the many blessings brought to mankind from this wonderful plant. Then being scared of change or being impatient, lash out and label everyone else different than themselves as being the problem.
    As I see it the real problem is a serious and stiffling lack of empathy for our fellow man. We all need to get better at trying to understand the view of others and listening to their complaints so at a minimum everyone at least knows they have a voice and are being heard. In my opinion we need to start “walking a mile in other persons shoes” before we even open our mouths to speak. This is NOT just in your area but rampant here in Colorado and the whole USA to be honest.
    Ive tried my best over the last twenty years while operating “in the shadows of legality” in the midwest and the last four legally as a medical cannabis caregiver here in Colorado to work continously to mimimize the carbon footprint created by my operation thru continual education, utilizing a sustainable all natural program that is healthy for the planet, install-monitor-replace carbon filters to remove all offensive odors from exhausted air, never run generators or allow enough noise pollution which would infringe on my neighbors peace and quiet even down to the use of sound dampening mufflers so my exhaust fans run silent to my neighbors. I’ve tried to instill these among other aspects of “being a good neighbor,” as I like to call it to younger growers I come into contact with but really I just try to be proactive to avoid problems.
    I have yet to receive a single complaint since starting my first plant back in 1987. Yet it was futile in my personal situation as the latest draconian laws were passed restricting all growers here to 12 plants total per address regardless of the number of patients or the number of growers living at the address and it goes into effect statewide here in Colorado first of the year. It’s thru the zoning and land use permits that these modern prohibition laws focus and they have more than enough power to shut formerly legal grows down and help the black market flourish. If they don’t throw you in prison they can assess daily civil fine amounts for non compliance that no growers can afford and would be sure financial ruin.
    The direction it’s going now NO ONE will ever win but we will ALL lose because, “as in war, the victor only seems to win.”

  • Mic

    the state is a coward crook and liar all in one..the cops who kill…what an awful life to live full of lies full of ignorance…GOD ISNT AMUSED.

  • justadbeer

    Excellent article. It seems like this small town would rather cut off their nose to spite their face. They are literally sitting on a gold mine. What they need is good regulation. The town will flourish. I understand that the people live there to “get away from it all” and want to live the simple life without all the hustle & bustle, but I believe they can have their cake and eat it too if their industry is properly regulated and maintained.