This Nov. 8, the voters will have two marijuana measures to decide: City Measure R asks the registered voters in the city limits if they approve three dispensaries and an unlimited number of commercial marijuana grow houses and associated activities within city limits.
County Measure S asks countywide voters if they want commercial marijuana activities that would be situated in general industrial areas. The associated county ordinance calls for several 22,000 square foot grow houses dispersed thought county industrial zoned areas that include Westwood, Herlong and areas that surround the city of Susanville. You can view maps on Susanville Hot Topics on Facebook.
The city ordinance No. 22-1033 contains a lot of pages. Here are a few of the facts from this document: Page 1 Section 2 reads,” it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the activity in question may have a significant effect on the environment.” This statement has not been verified by the appropriate experts in an environmental field. The city has not submitted to the people, a report that studies how commercial marijuana activity can affect water consumption spread over unlimited marijuana grow houses, traffic, noise, how growers will obtain water and how growers will manage water discharge, nor how air quality issues may affect our communities.
Also not addressed are how greenhouse gasses, tons of spent marijuana plant waste and possible use of pesticides and other chemicals will be handled. Which brings up the cost of staffing an entire department dedicated to code enforcement and to keeping up with the other growers that may or may not play by the rules.
Page 5 Line 21: “Commercial cannabis means any commercial cannabis activity allowed under MMRSA, AUMA, and /or MAUCRSA (SB94) may be amended from time to time and all uses permitted under any subsequent enacted state law pertaining to the same or similar use for recreational cannabis.” This clause gives the city council carte blanche to change the rules as state law changes. By the way, the state of California will begin issuing permits for large grows in Jan. 1, 2023. Keep in mind that a medium grow houses is defined by Department of Cannabis as a 22,000 square foot grow.
Turn to page 13 Line 8, Item F of the city ordinance: “There shall be no on-site consumption of … cannabis by patrons without prior written approval from the city.” This could open the door for Marijuana Weed Cafe’s and Cannabis Lounges as found in San Francisco and Ojai where people can consume edibles and drinkables laced with marijuana and smoke the product.
County Measure S asks registered voters if they approve of commercial marijuana activity in county industrial zones. There is a map of county industrial zoned parcels for Westwood which can be accessed on Susanville Hot Topics on Facebook.
I do not find any limit on the number of extraction, testing, manufacturing sites or microbusinesses within the ordinance associated with Measure S. Page numbers are referenced on the bottom of each page of the county ordinance.
Page 5 of 27: Cultivation/grows are allowed to be only 600 ft. away from any existing school, school bus stop, licensed day care provider or public park. This gives children and teens the opportunity to explore this federally illicit drug. Proposed cultivation can be as close as 200 ft to a residence.
Page 6 of 27: A mandatory condition of approval shall require 24-hour security at all times that cannabis is being cultivated. If you need security for this business, just how safe are the citizens who reside within this area?
Page 7 of 27: This paragraph is silent on the details of hazardous materials storage and use permits regarding testing, extraction or other processing activities.
This document does not address how taxpayers will foot the bill for increased law enforcement and code compliance.
According to a February 2022 Lassen News article, a county staff report was quoted as saying, “Lassen County does not have adequate staff to form an enforcement team dedicated to commercial cannabis on a full-time basis.” This county staff report further states, “If such an ordinance cannot be exempted and an environmental impact report were to be required, the ad hoc committee recommends that cannabis not be allowed because of the upfront costs for Lassen County to prepare an environmental impact report.” The aforementioned staff report asserts a legal cannabis cultivation program in Lassen County is not expected to significantly reduce illegal cultivation.
We all care about our community and our youth. You are encouraged to study the ordinances and maps which can be found on Susanville Hot Topics on Facebook, and make your own decision. As for me, I decide to protect our youth, our land, water and the safety of our community by Voting no on city Measure R and county Measure S this Nov. 8.