Meet Camilla Zapata Arcata City Council Candidate

Camilla Zapata

Arcata City Council


Do you support the growth of cannabis industries in your city? Please explain specific policies that you support or oppose.


Yes I support the growth of cannabis in Arcata. I would support expanding the zoning areas for cannabis processing to other industrial zones in Arcata. I support mandating labor unions into the cannabis industry to protect workers rights and well-being.


Are there segments of the cannabis supply chain—cultivation, manufacturing, testing, distribution, retail—that you want to see more of, or less of, in your city? Explain.


I would like to see regulation on packaging and waste within final product leaving this area or waste created in the area. I think less cultivation and retail and more manufacturing, testing, and distribution in the city limits. I would like the farmers to stay farming where there are and protect that future while letting the new era of processing and distribution remain in town.


What positions did you take on cannabis, if any, during the war on drugs…think 1970 into the 21st Century? Have those views evolved over time, how and when?


I was a child during the war on drugs and they really only instilled a distrust for my government years later. At the time, I was too young to understand it was a racist endeavor about arresting and incarcerating people rather than eradicating drug use.


What do you know about the dozens of cannabis businesses that have located in your city since 2016? How many businesses are there? How many jobs? How much paid in permits and fees?


There are roughly 25 distributors, 8 micro businesses and 3 retailers registered within city limits. I have reached out to a lot of them in trying to find solutions to zero-waste in this industry. I have been into a handful of the facilities out on West End Rd. I don't know the exact numbers on jobs, but the parking lots are packed with employee cars and provide many jobs in our community. I know the permits and fees are rather hefty and into the thousands.


Do you support a city-based excise tax on cannabis? If so, under what circumstances, on which activities, how much and on what basis (sales, square footage, etc)?


It would depend on the size of the business, the profit margins of the sales, and I would have to see the potential effect on the businesses themselves before I agreed. Some of the health and wellness companies provide product with less profit margin versus flower and concentrates and should be taxed in different categories. In a variation from sale, distribution and growth in vertical square footage for indoor. I am curious what the difference would be of excise taxes versus fees and permitting and what effect it would have on our local cannabis industry.


How would you make resources more available to cannabis businesses since they are often precluded from relief and other opportunities provided to other small businesses, such as federally-funded assistance?


I believe equity in this arena should be looked at with a new lens. Encouraging growth with minority and women owned businesses through small business loans would be something I would be willing to support. Federally-funded assistance has a lot of rules around distributing loans and it would have to be something discussed with the city attorney as federally, cannabis is still illegal. I know the city offers their own small business protection type loans and I would be curious to see if those could be made available to citizens.


How do you envision the future of cannabis in your city, and in Humboldt County more broadly?


I envision the cannabis investors and companies that have come from out of town and are operating here to get more involved within the communities that they are profiting in. I imagine a world where everyone is not trying to take such a large chunk out of the pie and finding more reasonable amounts to satisfy their greed. I would like to see more of the processing taken into towns to provide jobs for locals in safe working environments, protected by labor unions, in order to keep the money circulating in our economy. I believe in some form of protection for existing farmers to not get pushed out by large money coming into the area.


Do you currently, or have you enjoyed/consumed cannabis?


I have and do still occasionally.

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