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  1. chillinwill
    A proposal to put the legalization of marijuana in California to a vote this November is causing some growers of the plant in the state to worry about a sharp drop in the value of their crop if the measure succeeds.

    As The Los Angeles Times explained in January, when supporters of the proposed Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 turned in more than enough signatures to get the measure on the ballot, the initiative “would make it legal for anyone 21 and older to possess an ounce of marijuana and grow plants in an area no larger than 25 square feet for personal use. It would also allow cities and counties to permit marijuana to be grown and sold, and to impose taxes on marijuana production and sales.”

    On Monday, The Times-Sentinel newspaper in Humboldt County, a part of Northern California known as the “Emerald Triangle” for the density of its marijuana crop, reported:

    Local business people, officials and those involved in the marijuana industry are planning to meet Tuesday night and break a long-standing silence to talk about what supposedly is the backbone of Humboldt County’s economy — pot. More specifically, the meeting will focus on the potential economic effects of the legalization of marijuana.

    While the local newspaper’s report on the meeting quoted the its organizer, Anna Hamilton, by name, it did not state that she was, herself, a grower of the plant — which is legal in the state only when used as medication. According to The Times-Sentinel, Ms. Hamilton “said she is ‘intimately involved’ with the marijuana industry.” That sort of coyness led Frank James to write on NPR’s news blog:

    Marijuana growers tend to be a fairly secretive lot, probably even in Humboldt, so I wonder what the attendance will be like and if the Drug Enforcement Agency will be there.

    Ms. Hamilton told the local newspaper that if the county’s marijuana industry prepares for legalization, there could be some positives for the area: “We have to embrace marijuana tourism, marijuana products and services — and marijuana has to become a part of the Humboldt County brand,” she said.

    The ballot initiative, which is being presented in part as a way to raise tax revenues for California, is supported by Richard Lee, an Oakland businessman who makes his money selling the drug legally. Mr. Lee also founded Oaksterdam University, which trains growers.

    A campaign Web site, Taxcannabis.org, prominently features the results of a 2009 Field poll that found that “legalizing marijuana and taxing its proceeds” was supported by 56 percent of those surveyed in California.

    The same Web site noted that three columnists for The Orange Country Register recently included the legalization and taxation of marijuana production in a list of ideas to help California balance its books — along with calls to privatize the state’s prisons, suspend the fight against global warming and drill for oil in the waters near the state’s beaches.

    March 23, 2010
    NY Times


  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Southern Humboldt marijuana legalization discussion ends with ideas of branding, business models and regulation

    During a discussion on how marijuana legalization would effect Humboldt County's economy, growers, business owners and community leaders tossed around several ideas of what can be done, including branding, regulatory agencies and -- weed tasting rooms.

    More than 100 people gathered at the Mateel Community Center in Redway Tuesday night to have a frank discussion about what the county -- and its the residents who depend on the marijuana industry for income -- will do when pot is legal.

    ”Once we remove the stigma of it being illegal, I don't know what it will do -- no one does. Image the possibilities,” California NORML member Ellen Komp said to the crowd. Komp, echoing the discussions of several growers and business people, mentioned following a wine business model, which includes her longtime dream for weed tasting rooms.

    The unprecedented conversation, covered by several local and national media outlets, resulted in a discussion about how to make Humboldt County economically viable through third-party product regulation and the branding of environmentally friendly technique and product.

    Southern Humboldt resident Liz Davidson said people have been “starving for this conversation for a long time.”

    ”Twelve years ago, this is how people started a conversation about this,” Davidson said, before stepping a way from the mike and looking over each shoulder and getting a laugh from the audience. “This has been an enormous change.”

    With representatives from the Humboldt Area Foundation, the College of the Redwoods, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisor and the Humboldt Bay Harbor District, people broke up into about 10 tables, each labeled with a different group -- business, government, nonprofits, the arts, medical health professionals, property owners and --of course -- the growers. Each group filled out a survey talking about how they would be affected by marijuana legalization and how they can help.

    Although a few in the crowd were concerned that the discussion was going nowhere, Anna Hamilton, the event's organizer said that tonight's discussion was just about starting the conversation and seeing what question need answers. She said there will be another meeting and next time she would invite Mendocino County residents who are having the same discussion.

    STAY TUNED: Look for more in-depth coverage in this weekend's Time-Standard.

    Donna Tam/The Times-Standard
    Posted: 03/24/2010 01:24:10 AM PDT

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