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Cannabis: May be an opportunity in what seems a hopeless situation

Let me begin by saying I understand that Marijuana brings some measure of relief, great or small, to individuals who suffer from a variety of medical conditions. I also recognize that recreational Marijuana is legal in California and no effort should be taken to deliberately nullify that which the voters in California approved.

Equally important however, is the fact that local jurisdictions have the right to set restrictions they feel best serve the citizens and communities interests. By law these local regulations may be more restrictive than the state’s regulations, but cannot be more permissive.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you may have heard that the Plumas County Board of Supervisors placed a moratorium on commercial Marijuana activity late last year. By ordinance residents are allowed to grow six Marijuana plants per residence. Absent a code enforcement officer, the Board of Supervisors placed the enforcement of this ordinance with my office.

The actions of the Board of Supervisors have been criticized by the Marijuana growing community and applauded by those who oppose commercial Marijuana activity in Plumas County.

Understanding why the Board of Supervisors took this action may shed some light on the future of commercial Marijuana activity in Plumas County. While I would never speak for the board, I believe I have some insight that may be of some benefit to both sides of this divisive issue.

It was believed, based on language originally found in the legalization, that to preserve our right as a county to regulate commercial Marijuana activity, the Board of Supervisors had to put in place an ordinance specific to our county by the end of last year. Failure to do so would have placed the State of California in a position to dictate to our county what commercial Marijuana activity would be permitted in our county.

In other words, the BOS had to act in order to establish our standing and right to self- determination on this issue.

Why a moratorium? The answer is actually very simple. The process of putting in place a permissive ordinance would have taken longer than was available to the county given we were nearing the end of the calendar year and the understood deadline imposed by the state had been clearly established. With approximately 60 days left before the deadline, the only option available to the county was a moratorium.

To pursue an ordinance that was permissive would have required mandated state processes (California Environmental Quality Act) that usually take months to complete at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars. But this is just part of the reason a moratorium was put in place.

My observations cause me to believe a second reason for the Board’s action was based on the behavior of some Marijuana growers in our county in the preceding years. Note that I said “some” — not all, but “some.”

To paint an entire group with one brush is not reasonable. There are some sincere, reasoned and respectful individuals who grow Marijuana for whatever their reason, but there are enough growers who are completely insincere, unreasonable and disrespectful to be a stain on the whole group. Promises by the Growers Association to self-regulate proved laughable. Well financed outside interests arrived on the scene, bought up properties and engaged in outrageous behavior that enraged neighbors. And those neighbors gave their supervisors an ear full. Well-known and years-long growers and sellers of Marijuana miraculously became modern day Louis Pasteurs or Florence Nightingales here to save all of “their patients.” And of course, the promise of a financial windfall for the county will never materialize as so many of the growers exploit their 501(c)(3) nonprofit status exempting the hundreds of thousands (and in one case millions) of dollars as non-taxable.

Finally, when a member of the Board-appointed working group announces publicly that he’s going to conduct business as usual regardless of the moratorium — well, that’s a nicely placed shot in your collective foot.

In short, the belligerence of “some” has resulted in the loss of trust and credibility for all. Past behaviors are looked upon as indicators of future behaviors and for that reason it’s understandable that a lot of people aren’t too excited about commercial Marijuana in Plumas County. But don’t despair, there may be an opportunity here in what seems a hopeless situation.

My suggestion to the growing community, which supports commercial Marijuana activity in Plumas County as well as those who oppose the same: Conduct yourselves in a manner that brings credibility to your cause. For the growers you can start by following the letter and intent of the moratorium. Don’t try to find every creative way to circumvent or undermine the ordinance. It will be recognized and denounced for exactly what it is — a pathetic effort to continue to grow and sell as much Marijuana as possible.

Understanding that the moratorium may be temporary and can be changed by the Board of Supervisors or by a vote of the people of Plumas County, take advantage of this time to reclaim a measure of trust and respect that has been lost due to the poor behavior by some in your ranks. To date, as I see it, the problem growers are doing more to harm your efforts than the groups who oppose your efforts. And to the anti-commercial groups, I would encourage you to be accurate, factual and civil in your discourse.

With the ability to legally grow six Marijuana plants you can produce enough Marijuana to stay medicated or high all year long. With today’s strains, even a novice gardener can realize impressive yields. If you have some left over you can help a friend in need.

But understand, I take my responsibilities very seriously. If you grow more Marijuana than allowed by ordinance you will very likely get a visit from my staff. We will be fair and professional as we assist you in complying with the ordinance.       

29 thoughts on “Cannabis: May be an opportunity in what seems a hopeless situation

  • I enjoyed reading his editorial, however I wish he’d start using the term cannabis instead of marijuana, vocabulary, and diminutive details matter.
    Details like Mr.Goss and Mrs.Thrall appointing Bay Area carpetbaggers. Both were fully aware who they chose to represent their districts, citizens voiced their concerns like a broken record for over a year, and were blatantly ignored. This community’s ongoing issues could have been avoided from the get go, there’s actually a lot of parallelisms between the local pro and anti cannabis community. Both want mindfulness of thy neighbor, and legit regulations. However, you throw in two carpetbaggers on a local board to make local laws, and you quickly realize two’s a party, three is a crowd!

  • Two points to clarify:

    The ordinance developed by the working group requires all cannabis businesses to get a “Special Use Permit”. This is an onerous, costly process and involves the planning department and input from neighbors. We did this to avoid requiring the county to get a CEQA study. Your article suggests that the ordinance is delayed to get that environmental study. This is not accurate.

    Secondly, you accuse an unnamed male member of the working group as thumbing his nose at the moratorium and that this attitude is a reason for the moratorium. Who exactly are you accusing and what cannabis operations do they run in Plumas?

    The CWG spent hundreds of hours to develop the ordinance and this article undermines our work.

    • meh

      the cga is a joke, didnt you guys lobby hard for prop 64?

      go back to the bay, stay outta this area. your not wanted

    • Hi Matt,
      I have been self-employed here in Quincy for 39 years. I’ve gone through the SUP process and I can tell you that it would be just one of many typical tasks that businesses have to go through. Payroll, liability insurance, OSHA compliance, properly zoned property, state sales taxes,(we file in 8 states) payroll taxes, etc. Add to that the special requirements for Cannabis growing; water board, grow plan, pesticide licensing, security documentation, etc. This is a real problem with an industry that has no long-term experience with business legality. After some years of business experience, you realize that it is easiest just to get your legal game on, comply, and stop calling things”Onerous”. SUP gives neighbors input!

  • “If you say no grow, this doesn’t mean no grow….this is not about stopping growing… it will continue in an unregulated way.” 10/24 BOS Meeting.
    Yes, your words can be taken out of context, however I ASSume the Sheriff is referencing this. YOU interjected on our democratic process in the most unethical way; sat on a local committee that’s supposed to be residents. Goss & YOU knew.
    YOU are part of the problem, Mr. Fogarty.
    YOU are a board member of Ca Growers Assoc., BAY AREA Ch., owner of Canna Bliss.
    YOU thunk us podunk rural folk wouldn’t catch on?? I’m happy you aren’t making the 4 hour drive to local Plumas meetings to represent us anymore, & can now attend meetings that fit your agenda closer to home.
    YOU undermine…

  • Very well laid out points made by the Sheriff. And I agree with him. Years ago Id go to neighbors farms in southern humboldt and they would be covered with trash, beer cans everywhere, and the use of conventional agriculture practices was abundant. Then I would go to another friends and it would look like the white house lawn hehe, very well kept, could have been on the cover of sunset magazine.

    My point is I agree the idiots who are giving the rest of us a bad name pretty much ruined it for us over the past 10-15 years. Thanks!

    And as far as the Plumas growers assoc or whatever I went to a meeting they asked me to be a member sign up and pay a fee, I did and gave them my contact info, never heard from them again…hard to take…

  • “But understand, I take my responsibilities very seriously. If you grow more Marijuana than allowed by ordinance you will very likely get a visit from my staff. We will be fair and professional as we assist you in complying with the ordinance.”

    Gawd I love it! Go get em Greg Hagwood!!

  • Good article, I think Sheriff Hagwood has always done an excellent job representing the will of Plumas citizens. Thank you for your hard work, Sheriff Hagwood.

  • Sheriff Bannon, When the voters passed ab 64 it wasn’t so we could watch our local tax dollars continue to be wasted on the harassment of residences and further cannabis eradication. It’s about high time you start listening to the voters (pun intended) on the issues. So, here is a list for us to take note from before going to the ballot.

    1. Sheriff Greg hagwood supports bigger government with more regulation in our lives

    2. Supports raising taxes to pay for further regulation

    3. Doesn’t support property owner’s rights

    4. Is prioritizing department funds to enforce civil code in the middle of an opioid epidemic.

  • Well tax payer/voter..

    I’d vote for Sheriff Hagwood again in a heartbeat. Your problem list is a poor match for our counties real issues. Sorry Tax payer You could always throw your hat into the ring for Sheriff but beyond that I say tough stuff, go find a rock to hide under.

    • Good for you, I will not. My point being exactly that, we have real issues, and it ain’t the cultivation of a legal plant. As for hiding, we’ve been hiding, we were tired of hiding, we’re done hiding. I hear Utah is nice though.

      Further, how about we give you and sheriff Bannon six corn plants and see if y’all can make enough whiskey to maintain yourselves for the year, deal?

  • Who is Sheriff Brannon?

  • Now that you mention it Taxpayer/voter does sound rather delusional.

  • Yup. Either delusional or perhaps Tax payer/voter is just not from around here. (Utah?)
    I’ve lived my whole life in Plumas County and can not recall a Sheriff Bannon and I’ve better things to do than to try to make whiskey from a half dozen corn plants. Never had a need to “maintain” myself or a desire to hear someone whine about it. So I guess it’s no deal.

  • “As for hiding, we’ve been hiding, we were tired of hiding, we’re done hiding. I hear Utah is nice though.”

    Paranoid schizophrenia is a form of schizophrenia that causes individuals to experience delusions that other people are conspiring against them or persecuting them.

    Now we all know.

    • Keep failing to address the issues, write your community’s members off as delusional, ignore the youth, it seems to have worked out well for you this far, right?
      To recap, you want to stifle economic growth in the county, support raising taxes to regulate said growth and don’t believe in state’s rights. Are you a nanny liberal?

      Meanwhile in the real world enough signatures have been collected to get the keep plumas green initiative on the ballot. I get the feeling voters will accomplish what the bos has failed at in the past eighteen months.

      Another thought, anyone growing more than six plants will now likely not report thefts and robberies to the athorities, smart Greg, way to make your community safer.

  • There there Tax payer/voter.. Now we can see your true colors.

    We shall soon see what the future hold for our greedy dope growers.

    • Mvic, Thanks for confirming that you don’t believe in free market capitalism.

      • Huh?? Now that’s a REAL stretch!!!

  • I support cannabis 100%, and I support Sheriff Hagwood. Perhaps Tax payer/voter has had an experience that has soured his/her impressions of the Sheriff, not sure. I can’t speak for Tax payers experiences, but folks that I know in the cannabis community have a favorable impression of Sheriff Hagwood, as do I.

    Do you find drug cartels less “greedy”, which one do you support more?
    Which one supports our community more?
    You may not like commercial cannabis or those who cultivate it, but someone will be supplying it to Plumas county. And while Legal cannabis will never completely eliminate cartels, this is an opportunity to decide as a community, which group (legal or black market) has our best interests in mind.

  • “Do you find drug cartels less “greedy”, which one do you support more?”

    I don’t support either thank you. Why in the world would I?

    Why is it either or in your mind anyway?

  • Mvic makes a good point. I have a neighbor who is very pro-grow in Plumas County.

    “Bob” lives on his sofa. Spends most of his time getting high and watching stupid stuff on TV while munching on Vanilla Wafers and Catsup. Can’t seem to keep up with the necessities of life. Has the same cartel/legal grow argument as above, claims we’ll be so much better off once we get the legal growing in place. Wishes everybody was just like him and his friends. (I think) He wishes that even for our children really doesn’t care.

    Like Sheriff Hagwood says you people are your own worst enemy. I agree with that!!

    No thank you please and I pray Plumas votes no grow.

    BTW. Did anyone ever figure out who Sheriff Bannon is? Goofy dopers!

  • Yup. Goofy dopers. What in the world does Steve Bannon have to do with anything? Sheriff Hagwood is our Sheriff and he does not look or act like a “disheveled drunk.” I have no idea how you can compare the two. Truth is most folks in this county hold Greg Hagwood and our entire Sheriffs Department in very high regard my husband and I included.

    Tax payer/voter… Did you take a wrong turn in life or just get lost? Obviously you sure have a way to wander off topic!

  • I’m not saying people have to consume cannabis, I’m saying people will, history has proven this and 102 years of prohibition hasn’t changed this fact. “Which one do you support” was not to say which one would you promote, you don’t like cannabis, and I respect your choices. However, we all have an opportunity to make decisions, in this case the decisions have the effect of lending support to either regulating an existing cannabis industry, or continuing to pad the pockets of those who operate outside of the law. Cannabis will be sold, we get to chose who profits. I support the sheriff, and I have no desire to sell cannabis, so the “you people” comment has no bearing on me; FYI that comment was in large part about Mat Fogarty, ask…

    • ^ Sheriff hagwood.

  • Sorry HeartofPlumas

    According to information coming from the state legal growers are shaping up to be a very small minority in California.

    There is no prohibition and you know it. Grow your six plants in the backyard and get over it. Unless of course that won’t satisfy you and we’re dealing with an ugly greed issue.

    How about we choose nobody profits from commercial cultivation in Plumas County? Seriously, doesn’t that sound like the sweetest deal of all?

    By the way I must have missed the “you people”comment. Sorry.

  • “How about we choose nobody profits from commercial cultivation in Plumas County? Seriously, doesn’t that sound like the sweetest deal of all?”
    Okay, I’m actually in favor of that plan, so are you going tell the cartels no more profits? How do you think that’s going to work?
    I’m being completely serious about the profits thing, I’ve actually advocated for cannabis to be devalued in the comments section. In an ideal world everyone would grow what they need, six plants is enough for me.
    Of course not everyone can grow their own, people invariably will continue to be buying cannabis, how do we as responsible citizens address this inevitability?
    The “you people” comment was a quote from the Sheriff that Ginger L. referenced.

  • Weedmaps lists over 6,000 dispensaries and delivery services. The state only has 580 licensed dispensaries and delivery companies. I imagine those numbers reflect about the same for growers.

    What’s the state to do? Worse than a woman scorned is a government deprived of a tax revenue stream. Cal. Has two choices. Throw in the towel or fight and I see dark clouds on the horizon.

    I don’t struggle to see a coming enforcement unlike what anyone has seen. The penalties for cultivation are minimal. Penalties for tax code violations far more miserable. Tax law knocked down Capone and it could very well knock down illegal cultivation. Add to that the fed. Just announced a steep 35% tax rate on marijuana income.

    See the storm brewing?

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