Pubdate: Wed, 18 May 2016
Source: Paradise Post (CA)
Copyright: 2016 Paradise Post
Author: Allan Stellar


Measure A changed Butte County's unincorporated areas for the better. 
It began the process of reining in an out-of-control, unregulated 
cannabis Industry where any felon or greed-head from Ohio could find 
a piece of land and make a million dollars within one season. And 
they could do that tax-free with the blessing of the county.

When the greed-heads ruled the rural areas of Butte County, all sorts 
of abuses occurred. For those of us who live out in the remote hills 
where many of the cannabis growers chose to hide out, we noticed 
immediate changes when they moved in en masse. The first thing I 
noticed was that I saw fewer critter tracks on hikes. And then a 
local felon who was released from jail purchased a bit of land and 
started growing pot. The land rush was on! Then I noticed the herd of 
deer, which numbered in the dozens, were gone. Then I noticed that 
the redtail hawk that used to inhabit a meadow near my home was gone. 
He probably died from rodenticide that the growers use voraciously.

Gun shots would ring out at night-probably taking out deer that 
strayed too close to a grow.

A Fish and Wildlife person told me that the tributaries of Lake 
Oroville have been destroyed by the cannabis farming. On a hike one 
day, way out in the middle of nowhere, a small trickle of a seep from 
a spring had a pipe attached, leading it to a grow. Almost all the 
water sources were tapped illegally in the rural areas, to the 
detriment of wildlife. The marijuana grows were everywhere. Millions 
of dollars were to be made! Wells were put in for commercial 
purchases and the commercial growers don't pay a nickel for the 
water. Meanwhile, Fish and Wildlife reported that the local fauna 
suffered from the lack of water that was stolen to raise pot.

Frankly, it was a rape of the land akin to the Gold Rush days. Call 
it the Green Rush. These foothills, which really are the last decent 
habitat for anything wild in California, was under full assault by an 
industry that cared nothing for its impact on the land.

Then the voters of Butte County got smart and passed Measure A; 
things instantly got better. Many of the growers reduced their grows 
and also put them under plastic. Many growers left for greener 
pastures in other counties. Gun shots during the night were greatly 
reduced. The amount of young, stoned kids at the swimming hole was 
reduced by 50 percent. These kids move out here for the growing 
season; fewer workers means fewer grows. All in all, I'd guess the 
grows in my area were reduced by 50 percent.

Civility improved in my rural area due to the growers having to be a 
bit more friendly to their neighbors or they could be turned in (the 
rules as to who could report a grow had changed). The growers weren't 
near as cavalier with their attitudes as they were prior to the 
passage of Measure A.

Now the county is back with more reforms. The first, Measure G, wants 
to make sure cannabis isn't listed as a protected agricultural 
product. Of course THC isn't wheat. And if you are growing pot to be 
your pharmacy--the equivalent of Norco or Percocet, well, Norco isn't 
a crop and neither is your cannabis. You will still be able to report 
the stench of a pot grow as a public nuisance if cannabis isn't a 
protected agricultural product.

Measure H streamlines the collection of fines. Last year, the first 
for Measure A, a couple million dollars in fines were written, and 
through stonewalling, only a couple hundred thousand dollars were 
collected. The greed-heads still managed to grow their crop and 
skedaddle out of there to enjoy their profits before their day in 
court came due. Streamlining a code matter just makes sense. And it 
will help deter those who want to grow commercially and, if they do 
grow commercially, the County will be able to collect the fines faster.

Justice should be quick.

And so I am voting for Measures G and H. I will vote for them because 
the wildlife of Butte County can't vote for them. Neither the redtail 
hawk, nor the Pacific fisher, nor the eagle, nor the osprey, nor the 
black-tailed deer, nor the otter, nor the eagle, nor the opossum, nor 
the jackrabbit, nor the bear, nor the skunk, nor the raccoon, nor the 
mountain lion, nor the marten, nor the salmon, nor the trout, nor the 
coyote, nor the fox--none of these animals that have been impacted by 
the greed-heads can vote.

We have to be the voice of wildlife. Vote yes on G and H.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom