Guest Commentary

By Robert Sutherland

Redway

Dear Editor,

Please recognize that some important misinformation is coming from the Humboldt Growers Association and their coworkers at the 707 Cannabis College in Garberville. Here is why I say that. HGA is strongly supporting the proposed phase 1 draft of the Humboldt County medical marijuana ordinance. HGA President Joey Burger has repeatedly stated to me that they see it as imperative to have the County program in place in time for the 2012 growing season. This is so they may sell to southern California dispensaries that demand permitted marijuana. No matter that Burger already grows lots of permitted weed in Mendocino, he wants lots more!

The trouble is that their phase 1 draft also contains many ugly violations of Human rights for the rest of us. This HGA and 707 are not bothering to tell you about. I suggest you read the proposed draft. But I know most of you won't because you realize that virtually all legislation is hard to understand clearly. So here are some of the low spots that I have found in it.

Blatantly, the phase 1 draft contains an illegal delegation of authority to landlords to decide whether tenants get to enjoy the equal protections of Prop 215. This is a flagrant violation of the Constitution.

It also contains a demand that if you grow for personal use indoors your residence must be code compliant and fully permitted, at great expense. Many or most rural homes cannot pass, and the cops can bring in heavy enforcement.


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Many homes are non-compliant because the County long ago tried to block hippies from settling in Humboldt County, and refused to recognize their parcels. This then is the County's own ugly legacy. All those existing homes and parcels should be immediately declared fully legal. Tying the rights of marijuana to code compliance is in a league with Evil, a continuation of the good lo' boys' hate of hippies.

Also, the Attorney General's marijuana guidelines are not law and do not have any stature whatsoever to control the exercise of private rights. Yet phase 1 tries to turn those guidelines into absolute law without Constitutional foundation. It's a lot like saying a cop gets to do whatever he wants whenever he wants just because he has a badge.

The ordinance also allows police to rummage through all dispensary papers, including personal patient records. This violation of patient confidentiality is a violation of law. What is not explicitly prohibited in the ordinance, as here, is open license for police abuse. We are now seeing more police abuse in Humboldt County, although neither the Times-Standard nor the North Coast Journal will report it.

"Businesses", which are property, are treated as having Human rights in phase 1. Property then is made greater than Humans, a concept at profound odds with our Constitution.

The concept that this County ordinance must match those of other jurisdictions (Arcata, Eureka) is again very wrong. It means in effect that a couple activists in Arcata whose personal hatred of indoor grows led Arcata into an illegal and punitive ordinance, plus intimidated opponents into not speaking out, get to set the standard for everyone else. This is back-door fascism.

The Humboldt Growers Association implicitly endorses all of these violations of human rights in order to make lots more money as quickly as possible. They may not like to think so, but it is Mammon worship and ugly for nearly all the rest of us. But is it really surprising? It's the rich versus the rest of us all over again.

This is in strong contrast to the stand that has been taken by the Humboldt Medical Marijuana Advisory Panel, which requests that the ordinance be crafted carefully to help insure there will be a healthy industry for the future, one that serves all the community rather than a few big growers. We do not need big-time harassment by government so that a few others that are paying off local politicians can get richer.

Instead, we need to preserve the value-added character of our product to insure that all the community retains their place in the economy. No, dispensaries should not grow only their own, and no, dispensaries should not trim in-house, and no, we must retain a legion of small growers and trimmers, not promote the big guys. Many there are now who are out to be MR BIG, HGA and allies among them. These proposals are big steps to destroy the economy of our County, the County that made marijuana famous.