This newspaper was bombarded last week with questions and requests for opinion space to weigh in on the draft commercial cannabis ordinance winding its way through the Plumas County Board of Supervisors’ process. It was all anti-grow in varying degrees. One of the questions we invariably were asked was, “Why hasn’t the newspaper weighed in yet?”
There are a few reasons. First, it has been a busy summer with wildfires, evacuations and other mayhem claiming our attention while the cannabis meetings played out in the background. We sent reporters to each event and they wrote about the comments made pro and con. Secondly, we didn’t want to opine too soon; we wanted to see how the process played out. And thirdly, we were like many county residents; we were a bit of a sleeping bear. But now that we see the direction the county is moving in, the hibernation period has ended.
Plumas County must say NO to commercial cultivation and join the vast majority of its counterparts across the state that have already weighed the pros and cons and come out with a simple “no commercial cultivation” decision. There are a host of reasons to deny commercial growing which include, but are not limited to, crime, environmental damage, quality of life, health, unforeseen consequences, property values and the county’s image … we don’t want to be identified as “Plumas — the Pot County.”
We like what Dr. Jeff Kepple wrote in a letter to the board of supervisors that has been circulating on social media. Here is an excerpt: “I believe the current draft ordinance sets the stage for Plumas County being identified and landmarked as the ‘pot county.’ Besides the 7-feet high obtrusive fences and large square footages of land being devoted to growing cannabis, I believe the message sent to ourselves, our children and our visitors is the wrong one. I would like to see our county continue to grow a reputation for healthy living, gardening, co-ops, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, fishing, birding, downtowns, friendly and inclusive people, strong Rec departments, dynamic college and high school athletic and academic programs, as well as a prolific and thriving arts community.”
We couldn’t agree more. Plumas is just beginning to cultivate the full potential of all that it has to offer thanks to the efforts of individuals who are aggressively marketing this county by developing and promoting our outdoor recreational assets.
A lot of the correspondence received this past week has taken issue with the makeup of the working group charged with developing the draft ordinance, which is described as stacked with pro-grow individuals who have personal interest in advancing commercial cultivation in the county. The critics say that the supervisors should have assured that the committee was balanced and been proactive in recruiting anti-grow proponents to serve alongside pro-grow individuals. Perhaps they should have, but there’s still time to correct the trajectory of this committee. Patrick Luscri, the individual behind Plumas People Opposed to Commercial Cannabis, has suggested three alternatives for the supervisors: disband the current working group and attain a more balanced makeup; scrap the draft ordinance and explore using another county’s ordinance or restart the process. Time is ticking.
The current committee has done a good job of holding meetings throughout the county and collecting input. But now even more opinions are flowing in and perhaps it would be best for the board of supervisors to hear directly from its constituents. If that sentiment continues to be overwhelmingly anti-grow, it would be most expedient to not reinvent the wheel, but to adopt an ordinance that has already been vetted by another county. Tehama and Lassen have been named as two possibilities. We urge Plumas County residents to make their opinions on this matter heard.