Legalization Creates Violence and Product Shortages
Marijuana is going mainstream and California growers don’t like it reports the New York Times. Growing cannabis in the Emerald Triangle has been a business for generations. Suddenly, permits are required and farmers are saying “no thanks.”
Mendocino County sheriff Thomas Allman told the NYT, “People think, ‘Why do I have to get permits? My Parents didn’t have to and my grandparents certainly didn’t have to.’”
Pot is available everywhere and only when government gets in the way does supply become a problem. The California growers association worries, as Thomas Fuller writes, “there may not be enough regulated marijuana to serve the legalized market, a highly paradoxical situation in a state that is by far the largest cannabis producer.”
Within a week of Nevada going legal on July 1st, the governor declared a “statement of emergency” when pot supplies quickly ran low. “A statement of emergency allows for swift changes in regulations during temporary scenarios, said Mari St. Martin, communications director of the Office of Governor Brian Sandoval, in a statement.”
Next door in the Golden State, Fuller writes,
Growers in California complain that the legalization process has been opaque and confusing. For the last two decades growers operated under a lightly regulated system of medical cannabis collectives. Legalization now brings a deluge of rules passed by towns, counties and the state.
So what’s a grower to do? Fuller explains,
many growers say there is little upside from getting a permit. If they stay out of the system, they face lighter punishments and avoid paying taxes, fees and the cost of meeting environmental standards.
“You could have 1,000 pounds in your hotel room right now and you might be charged with just a misdemeanor,” Thomas D. Allman, the sheriff of Mendocino County, said. In a small number of cases, traffickers can be charged with conspiracy, which is a felony.
Empaneling a jury to convict on marijuana charges in California would seem to be impossible, except, “environmental crimes make people angry,” says Allman. The potent odor annoys residents but “police officers said they were much more likely to get a jury conviction for pollution or damage to the land than for possession,” Fuller writes.
Californians are incensed by the use of pesticides, farming on public land, and siphoning water from creeks to produce product.
“This has been such a peaceful experience until today,” a grower named Chris told the NYT. “They [the government] ripped out my whole garden. I’ve been working on Since February.”
As government enters the business, crime levels in the Emerald Triangle have increased.