The California primary is tomorrow, June 7th. Medicine Box is not a political entity, but there is one issue that is very important to us: Measure W. In Nevada County, Measure W attempts to strip away most of the recent progress toward legalization. It does allow for the indoor cultivation of 12 plants by medical patients and their caregivers, but only in a building not intended for human occupancy. In other words, home grows cannot take place in homes.
Measure W explicitly prohibits commercial farms, regardless of size. It also places an undue burden on medical patients, limiting the amount of medicine they can grow and how they can grow it on their own property. Voting yes on Measure W is a vote for prohibition, something that has failed over and over again. Measure W will end regulated cannabis farming in Nevada County, but it won’t end illegal grows and it won’t improve the safety of Nevada County.
Voting no on Measure W allows the county to regulate the many commercial cannabis farms already there. It gives the county the opportunity to work with the growers and the residents (Despite what the prohibitionists claim, the majority of the farmers in Nevada County live there — who wouldn’t want to live in the Sierra foothills?) and create a sensible regulatory system that will protect residents, medical patients, and farmers alike.
tl;dr1 Vote no on Measure W!
On February 9, 2016, the Board of Supervisors adopted Resolution No. 16-082 clarifying the intention of the Board of Supervisors if this ballot measure fails, which is to abide by the will of the voters with respect to Measure W, repeal the ban on outdoor marijuana cultivation and consider and adopt other outdoor regulations related to cultivation of marijuana.
Collier said permitting and licensing are crucial to removing the illegal growers and helping those who want to work within the law.
“We’re tired of the gray area,” Collier said. “We want clear delineation. Let’s just make the rules very clear.”
Licenses would foster a culture of best practices among growers. The nuisance issues like the smell, danger to children and “trimmigrants” who come to the county solely to help harvest marijuana can be solved through licenses, Collier said.
“We can’t do that when there’s a ban that exists,” he added.
Another group with a stake in the outcome of Measure W is advocates for patients who use medical marijuana.
Forrest Hurd’s son suffers from a disease that causes seizures. Hurd says his family depends on special tinctures from cannabis plants to help with his son’s condition. A ban on outdoor cultivation would limit his ability to access this medicine, he says.
“They stripped the last legal rights of medical patients,” Hurd says. “These last remnants of medical rights …. affect critically ill people, some of the them are children.”
Hurd says his son’s life depends on medicine produced from cannabis plants grown in Nevada County. Because of the ban, Hurd says his trusted network of cultivators (who grow outdoors) are now unable to provide his son’s medicine.
“The bottom line is that cannabis is here in California,” Allen said. “It’s here in Nevada County. The pathway forward is to regulate this activity.”
Allen argues that Measure W is a step backward, and that the community should tackle the impact cannabis brings. Prohibition failed, he said.
“A ban paints every cultivator with a broad brush,” Allen said. “Those folks are part of the solution. A ban closes the door entirely when what we need is increased dialogue.”
Alcohol regulation is successful because it gives the producers, distributors and retailers of alcohol a stake in the system through licensing. By banning commercial cannabis activities, Measure W fails to learn from the success of alcohol regulation by failing to creating a similar stake for producers, distributors and retailers of cannabis. A no vote on Measure W sends the message to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors that we expect them to learn from and apply the historically successful model of alcohol regulation to cannabis, rather then doubling down on the failed practices of prohibition.
So why have our leaders enacted a ban? It’s hard to say for sure, but this paper reported that Sheriff Royal thinks cannabis shouldn’t be legal and that alcohol is bad. The Sheriff is entitled to those opinions, but, in addition having earned over $70 million last year for Colorado, studies show that legal cannabis also brought a decrease in crime.