Here are some thoughts to consider :
There has been a running sentiment in our community for a long time, “get these green rush’n, big money growers out of our community”. For them, the breaking point may have been reached and now they are leaving. Bankrupt in all likelihood. This will give those who have wanted them gone an opportunity to retake the land.
It would be nice to have a mechanism by which those properties being vacated can go to faithful stewards of the land or new families moving in to staff all of our farms. The real estate values will drop on unlicensed properties and they could be within reach of young families. It would be a brilliant move by the County to start an entity that would buy up and then resell these properties. There could be a level of local regulation that could help expanding farms purchase adjacent properties thus increasing their employment opportunities. Create a housing program for placing young professionals and new farming families on these properties. We could even put them into a land-preserve to be sustainably managed.
Take the former Tooby Ranch as an example: the Tooby ranch is 13,000 acres comprised of parcels larger than 160 acre. There are 50ish owners in this area. The farms are larger and the density is lower and most of the owners are second generation farmers….rightful stewards.
This would be a great model to follow county wide as an idealized cannabis community. In the communities with 40 acre parcels, as residents are forced to leave those communities, the neighbors have the opportunity to lower density. The licensed successful farmers will need to expand into the land around them. The County needs to subsidize this by holding these properties in trust to be accessed by the farms when needed through application. We need a mechanism that holds property for local farmers and a job placement program for non compliant farmers who want to remain in the community as farmers.
This mechanism needs to also make homes available for new farming families and could encourage new residential construction. We have the talent living here; we need to keep them living here. As the properties change hands, we need to keep people in their homes and enable them to work in adjacent farms. We do not want the fabric of our community disrupted.
If it works or not, we all got to start thinking.