Calaveras County supervisory board has voted in support of a ban on marijuana cultivation. What does this imply to marijuana farmers and what steps will they take in response?
Calaveras County of California used to be one of the most weed friendly Counties from Northern California. Unfortunately the county has reversed the previous stand and banned commercial weed farms from operating. This has resulted into a number of lawsuits from previous marijuana farmers who paid taxes and had permits.
A supervisory board appointed in Calaveras County took a vote in favor of banning marijuana. The resolution by way of majority (3 to 2) saw around 200 legal marijuana farmers given 3 months to shut down their weed farming operations. This Calaveras County resolution came barely 1 month following authorization of recreational marijuana retail sales in California counties and cities. Some regions in California found it fit to approve marijuana operations .
The Journey that culminated with the Ban
The Calaveras County marijuana business generated an excess of $10 million into the County’s revenue basket. Dennis Mills, the supervisor for District 4 supported the ban and was quoted as saying that the process was important and added up in the eyes of the supervisory board. This agreement was the culmination of successive meetings held from late 2017 with an objective of considering stringent marijuana regulations. Gary Tofanelli, the supervisor for District 1, had made a late attempt at passing the regulations although he never found support.
The supervisory board in Calaveras County had, 2 years ago, viewed the cultivation of marijuana as an effective channel of supporting the people of Sierra Foothills. This view seemed sensible especially because an enormous wildfire had earlier deepened their economic despair-But not anymore. The overwhelming fire burned about 71,000 acres of local’s cultivation and extinguished 860 houses and properties. It was this disaster that birthed the relaxed marijuana laws that allowed for its commercialization.
Now cannabis in banned. To their own defense the supervisory board said it was trying to respond to crime and pollution concerns. These claims have been sharply disputed by the marijuana growers. Now Calaveras County has joined the likes of El Dorado, Placer and some other counties from Sierra Foothill in the ban on marijuana cultivation. This has left Yolo and Sacramento Counties as the few whose jurisdiction still allows marijuana cultivation.
Economic consequence of the move
On Wednesday 17th January, marijuana growers with permits revealed they were planning to file a suit. The permits cost each farmer $5,000. Since year 2016 Calaveras County is estimated to have collected revenues exceeding $7 million from marijuana farmers. Calaveras is a County with 44,000 residents who struggle economically to make ends meet. Revenue collected from marijuana farmers was used by the county to hire more staff and police officers.
What way forward
The County supervisors won their election in 2017 November after campaigning under the promise of banning marijuana had they won. They did win. The president of Calaveras cannabis farmers’ alliance, Trevor Witke, said he was anticipating the arrival of this ban. The cannabis farmers were unwavering in their quest to institute measures that would reverse this ban.
It was estimated by Sheriff DIBasilio that Calaveras County has a whopping 1,000 illegal marijuana farms above the 200 licensed weed farmers. There were hundreds of pending applications prior to the ban. This influx of marijuana farmers has caused a tussle among residents. Some leaders who were in support of marijuana farming have had to face the wrath of residents by being thrown out of their positions.
The people in support of this ban registered their complaints indicating that the surge of Marijuana farming in Calaveras County altered the makeup of the region and negatively impacted the environment.
It now appears that Marijuana farmers from Calaveras County will have to seek alternative ways of supporting their livelihoods. Whether or not three months will be enough to readjust their lives remains to be seen.