Response to article by Alexa Wall in the recent Sonoma Gazette
I took out a handkerchief as I read what Alexa Rae Wall had to say. It almost brought me to tears…it was quite a fairy tale to me.
I have met Alexa and heard her during CAG meetings (Cannabis Advisory Group) which is advising the supervisors…To say that the group is unbalanced ((16 cannabis industry representatives vs. 2 neighborhood representatives) is an understatement and this inbalance is having CAG believing that their word is what the county needs.
Her article is well written but filled with some faulty reasoning and inaccuracies…To say that the Board of Supervisors decided to remove RR and AR zones after pressure from “a surprisingly few neighborhood representatives” is inaccurate. What was surprising ????that the BOs removed the areas from pot growing???….or that there was any pressure??? …or that there were just a few representatives??? Truth is that although 60% of people in the county voted to legalize the USE of pot. It doesn’t mean that those same 60% don’t mind it being grown next door to them. The supervisors heard that the representatives were speaking for the majority.
I think the truth is that there was a lot of pressure…….neighbors may have tolerated 25 plants being grown not because they loved it, but that there was no enforcement or that the 25 plants were not all encompassing…..What the cannabis industry is asking is not 25 plants. Please ask Alexa how many plants she is applying to grow.
She is correct that the bad name that the industry has gotten is in large part because of illegal grows. I believe that the cannabis industry would be better off trying to help or stop those illegal growers…in other words, clean up their own….not point fingers at residents and make them the “bad guys.”
What is bad is that currently many residents are subjected to the smelly crop accompanied by tall unsightly walls, noisy cars coming and going on small lanes at all hours of the night, lights shining all night, criminal element causing safety issues…these are documented facts.
I do understand the frustration that the growers must be having trying to comply and become legal. They have what I would characterize as a moving target….but that is because I believe that the county marched out the ordinance that has many flaws…the main one to me is that there is no limit to the number of permits they will accept. Why not do what one county has done?….only allow 10 permits and see how things go before allowing a flood of permits.
As far as the economy of the county feeling the pressure of lack of permitting. Grow tomatoes while this is being sorted out.
Get another job…..probably not as lucrative is the answer. As to whether the county has failed the farmers…..we all need to agree that cannabis is not a usual crop….so the county has only failed its cannabis farmers….150+ of them while protecting the rights of the nearly 500,000 residents.