Pubdate: Sun, 10 Apr 2016
Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2016 Record Searchlight


While most of Shasta County works to restrict access to medical 
marijuana through bans on growing, dispensaries and collectives, 
Shasta Lake decided to go in another direction.

The city of some 9,000 boasts the last two medical marijuana 
dispensaries in the county, and the City Council this past week 
approved a third one. The city had to slightly bend its rules to 
allow the dispensary to open in the former Starbucks next to Rite Aid 
and a tobacco shop at Shasta Dam and Cascade boulevards. The rules 
originally said dispensaries could be no closer than 1,000 feet from 
each other.

The site was just shy of that distance from the Queen of Dragons. But 
the council on Tuesday agreed to allow city employee Stacy Lidie to 
open her dispensary, which she plans to call Leave it to Nature. 
Lidie also plans to leave her job with the city to dedicate her time 
to the business when it opens later this year.

Shasta Lake has reaped the benefits of allowing the dispensaries to 
remain as Anderson, Redding and Shasta County forced theirs to close 
using zoning ordinances and code enforcement. About two years ago, 
the dispensaries started to give 6 percent of their total revenues to 
the city, after they approached the city asking it to tax them. 
Voters approved the deal, and last year the city collected more than 
$350,000 from the two businesses. That was the equivalent of covering 
all the expenses of the city's parks department and its city services 

Shasta Lake is somewhat like Humboldt County in finding a way to cash 
in on an industry that's legal and, well, growing.

In response to new state laws that regulate the commercial 
cultivation of medical marijuana, Humboldt County and the North State 
Regional Water Quality Control Board decided to work with growers to 
bring them into compliance with environmental regulations. Instead of 
seeking out grows to destroy them and arrest the growers, the 
Humboldt County Sheriff's Office shares information on grows it finds 
with county and water control board members.

They in turn invite the growers to workshops to learn about becoming 
certified and reducing environmental damage from their grows.

The water board went so far as to send out fliers in property tax 
bills for landowners in Mendocino County, explaining how to become legit.

More than 250 growers have enrolled in the water board's program.

As Humboldt County Supervisor Estelle Fennell told the Record 
Searchlight: "Outright bans do not work. We're just being realistic 
recognizing what we've been dealing with for years in the county.

It looked like, 'OK, this didn't work. Let's see if something else 
will work.' I'm optimistic."

As the possibility of full legalization of marijuana faces the state, 
it will be important for our leaders to determine how to respond.

So far, only Shasta Lake has shown an interest in capitalizing. In 
response to the new state rules, Shasta County officials dug their 
heels in deeper on saying, "not here." Many of our residents would 
agree, with voters overwhelmingly approving Measure A, the outdoor 
grow ban, in 2014.

Shasta Lake and Humboldt County show how accepting marijuana with 
limits and regulations can prove profitable. We're not suggesting 
Shasta County turn 180 degrees and embrace marijuana cultivation and 
sales. But it would be wise to see how other approaches work. It's 
getting harder to be an island of prohibition in a state that's 
headed in the other direction.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom