Between fears of crime, physical safety and the prospect of bad odors, there’s no way cannabis bans have stopped people within city limits from using the product, said Terra Carver, the executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance.
“The difference is, cannabis is not being bought from legal dispensaries, which means it hasn’t been safely tested,” Carver said. “These cities are fueling a public health issue.”
Most municipalities have focused discussion of the plant around its economic impacts. But Carver said centering the talk around money and job growth ignores the darker realities of an unregulated industry, where pesticide-infected product seeps into the black market and workers are abused.
Not all bans are extremist, Carver pointed out — it takes a lot of heavy lifting for city staff to properly regulate cannabis. But a blanket ban on home deliveries? That’s where things fall back on “drug war” rhetoric, she said.
“When cities like Fortuna jump on the ‘reefer madness’ talk,” she said, “it becomes a very abusive, prohibitionist stance.”
The wheels of time are spinning. As both the state and Humboldt County dive deeper into the culture of regulated cannabis, Fortuna holds its ground. But even city officials are now assuming a “wait-and-see” stance, Perry said when asked about a possible end to the ban.
But as long as the wait continues, Carver said, public health and individual safety remain at risk.
“How long is it going to take before elected officials realize they’re propping up an unregulated market? The consequences of prohibition go far beyond just the product. Everything is put at risk.”