Cannabis consequences

On Nov. 8 two measures will be on the ballot concerning ‘Recreational’ Commercial Cannabis. Measure R covers the city of Susanville, Measure S covers Lassen County.

A ‘No’ vote on Measure R will keep Susanville’s current cannabis ‘activities’ in place. I repeat. Medical and personal cannabis use and grows will not be eliminated. If the city measure is adopted the vacant buildings and existing businesses (along Main Street and Ash St.) could participate in the Cannabis Micro Business. Open lands within the city limits will be enclosed to allow indoor grows. The city website has a color-coded map showing the extensive new zoning.

The ordinance lists ‘activities’ as; recreational, micro business, cultivate, dispense, manufacture, test, store, distribute, sell, exchange, process, deliver, transport and give away. See Exhibit A, Chapter 17.150.020 (first paragraph) and 17.150.060. The result will create a cannabis industry large enough to export cannabis products. Do we really want our city (and county) to base its economic future on exporting a gateway drug? What will tourism look like when recreational cannabis becomes the face of Main Street and our major industry? Our children will be surrounded with an industry that is legal for adults.

Most alarming is Section 2 of Ordinance No. 22-1033. This ordinance is “exempt from environmental review” because “under the California Environmental Quality Act”— “it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the activity in question may have a significant effect on the environment”. Really? What if the “discretionary review under CEQA” fails to identify an environmental issue? How toxic is concentrated, recycled, cannabis wastewater? Do you believe “with certainty” that our water and sewage treatment systems can handle the cannabis industry? As taxpayers we will be paying for the clean-up of our water and land. Not councilmembers Herrera, McCourt and Stafford, who voted for this ordinance.

One of the great myths of drug legalization is, “it will dry up the black market and lessen fentanyl deaths.” Just ask Siskiyou, Humboldt and Josephine counties if it’s true. Our local Adult and Teen Challenge staff and residents described the devastation of this gate-way drug. They spoke of their struggle to repair their relationships, health and ability to function as adults. Their witness cannot be denied. They have lived this truth.

Cannabis and marijuana are now legal recreational drugs. What once was illegal is now a misdemeanor. Also, Governor (Gavin) Newsom just signed Assembly Bill 2188 (basically) banning employers from firing employees who use marijuana off the job and away from the workplace. We need the police chief and sheriff to clarify what is a crime, what is a misdemeanor and if it is possible to ensure our safety, or prosecute theft and property damage?

Government grant money and private investors are expected to finance this massive new cannabis industry. I’ve never known government grant money to be given without decreasing local control. Drug cartels are usually interested in funding, normalizing and increasing these activities.

To sum up: Any financial gain will not justify the end of our rural lifestyle, culture and environment. Most important, know what your city and county representatives are doing. Vote “No” on Measures R and S.
Eileen Richard