Some are concerned about the damage that has occurred from cannabis cultivation in our county; this is admirable. But the solutions offered for this problem are misplaced; continued punitive enforcement and more rigid restrictions will not somehow magically halt the degradations that are feared. This approach is wrong. If growers are not encouraged into compliance by reasonable guidelines, then they will fall back on the black market. Law enforcement has worked hard in this county for many years, but they have not eliminated the some 5000 growers that we host. Enforcing punitive laws will result in no more success. And we need to encourage compliance. This is a serious matter and the county wants its growers to reach for that compliance – not be frightened away.
This same concern applies to placing caps on growing opportunities; the growers will simply grow anyway. Besides, a rush on these limited permits would get real ugly. This does not mean that no controls will govern our legal growers’ behavior. This does not mean that we will have runaway cannabis development. Also, consider this, the development and the damage has really already happened. We want an opportunity to mitigate this – this is appropriate. If you look over the new California bills that come into effect on March 1, you will see that growers will be responsible for following many regulations intended to keep their activity reasonable and healthy, while still promoting cannabis cultivation in California.
We can miss a golden opportunity here; we do not want to do that. This is a serious matter and narrowly focused agendas are not appropriate if we want to protect our environment and promote our success.