Pot, grass, weed, ganja, dope, herb, reefer, hooter or Mary Jane — whatever name you choose for marijuana — it’s time to let your supervisor know how you feel about its cultivation, preparation, sales and use right here in Lassen County. Opinions are being formed, and decisions are being made now regarding the future of the plant in our county. Don’t squander your opportunity to weigh in on this topic.
The topic is on the Lassen County Board of Supervisors’ agenda at 10:45 today, Tuesday, March 14 when the board will hear a presentation from Colorado investors interested in building a commercial processing site in the South County. District 5 Supervisor Tom Hammond said the investors would like to create a facility where rough marijuana could be converted into oil to be used in edible preparations or vaporizers. The supervisors also will hear an update from the Marijuana Ad-Hoc Committee on a proposed moratorium on marijuana cultivation in Lassen County.
Hammond has been holding a series of Town Hall meetings throughout his district recently, trying to get a feel for his constituents’ opinions on the subject. He said most of his constituents — surprisingly except the medical marijuana growers who believe they may be squeezed out — seem to be in favor of the project. While he doesn’t support marijuana usage, Hammond said he hasn’t made his mind up yet on the best way for the county to proceed, and he’s trying to become better educated on the subject before he makes a decision. He’s simply moving the request from these investors into a public forum.
Marijuana has been a highly contentious subject in our state and nation since the late 1930s with the passage of the Marijuana Stamp Act and drug education films such as “Reefer Madness” that created a stir. Curiously, around the same time, marijuana also was the subject of many blues and jazz songs of the period.
In 1970, the Federal Drug Administration listed marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act — meaning that it had “no accepted medical use” and a high potential for abuse and physical and psychological dependence.
Despite that federal law, nearly half the states in the union, including California (Proposition 215, November 1996, the first state to do so), and Washington, D.C., have approved medical marijuana use, nearly a quarter of the states have decriminalized its use and in eight states, including California (Proposition 64, November 2016), the voters have approved adult recreational use of the drug.
Unfortunately, uncertainty swirls around this topic because many California regulations regarding recreational marijuana have not been written yet. And no one knows how exactly the Trump administration will enforce the federal law.
The state is expected to issue standards regarding the sale of recreational marijuana before Jan. 1, 2018. Under Proposition 64, adults over the age of 21 may consume marijuana or possess up to an ounce of the drug. Users may grow up to six plants indoors or in enclosed structures. But at the same time, local governments have the right to set guidelines for their jurisdictions. Currently, cultivation of marijuana and the operation of dispensaries are banned in the both the city of Susanville and in Lassen County. If you’ve got an opinion, we encourage you to attend today’s supervisor’s meeting and be heard.