Arcata City Council
Do you support the growth of cannabis industries in your city? Please explain specific policies that you support or oppose.
I absolutely support the growth of cannibals industries in Arcata. As a planning commissioner back in June we met to discuss and review policies to support industrial businesses in the cannabis innovation zone. I was in favor of increasing the cap on the number of cannabis businesses that do manufacturing and distribution. My only concern was saturation of the market thus making it difficult for current businesses to make money. In addressing my concern Ross Gordon (of the Humboldt County Grower’s Alliance) said , “Obviously, there is competition among many of these businesses, but really the competition is between Humboldt County and outside areas like the Bay Area and Los Angeles. He went on to explain because of how complicated licensing is on the state level, it is more convenient to have different cannabis businesses centrally located. Rose pointed out that the ability to keep the supply chain, the manufacturing and distribution in town, “is one of our greatest strengths” and “keeps this entire thing moving.” I am excited to have a central location in Arcata in the “Cannabis Innovation Zone” and was in favor of the cap increase after hearing my concern of over saturation addressed by Ross Gordon at our June meeting. Beyond that because the draft ordinance is on the agenda for this upcoming planning commission meeting 9/22, with city staff looking for direction on amendments to the Land Use Code with a proposed resolution at a noticed public hearing within a month, I can not further comment.
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 am interested in seeing more manufacturing because of many job opportunities it creates. Additionally, these jobs are typically higher than minimum wage. I also am particularly interested in the value-added products like beverages, both human and pet edibles and other baked goods (ooh cannabis chocolates, but not for canines of course), capsules, concentrated oils, beauty and skin products like hand creams and body lotions, bath balms and salts that can reduce inflammation and reduce pain. I whole heartedly support all segments of the cannabis supply chain and am honored to have the "Cannabis Innovation" zone in Arcata. As long as the industry can benefit and wants to expand I am in full support.
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 have always been pro cannabis. The war on drugs was an utter failure and a waste of time and money. Humboldt County did not follow the nation’s lead on the war on drugs. The Humboldt brand has always and continues to be a huge benefit for the community as the cannabis industry pumps money into our local economy. I might be called an “early adopter” myself. I worked at HPRC, one of the first dispensaries in Arcata in the 90’s, while I attended HSU as an undergraduate. Because of my interest in the cannabis culture and the sociology of cannabis I continued to work for HPRC while pursuing my master’s in sociology. I was amongst some of the first employees at HPRC and worked there for six years.
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?
Although I was not yet an Arcata planning commissioner in 2016, I fully supported medical marijuana as a citizen and community member. Arcata was the first jurisdiction in the country to approve distribution of medical cannabis as well as the creation of a “Cannabis Innovation Zone.” If I am not mistaken Arcata was the very first in the country to approve a land use designation specifically meant to promote and regulate the production of marijuana and cannabis-related products. We currently have close to 20 businesses in Arcata in the manufacturing and distribution not including retail. Hundreds of jobs have been created in Arcata alone. In addition to the multitude of new jobs in Arcata it is important to point out these jobs have higher wages than the typical wage in Arcata. Not only have the cannabis businesses invested in employees, but also have invested in revitalizing the entire industrial area on West end now know as the “Cannabis Innovation Zone”. I feel that the monies collected from permits and fees should have a portion go back into reinvesting in the cannabis industry.
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)?
I could support a city based excise tax based “upon sales” as long as the money was reinvested in the cannabis industry by promoting the Humboldt brand and getting it out nationwide. The competition can be fierce and Humboldt has always been on the cutting edge from the beginning and this is no time to lose traction. Any excise tax on cannabis should be reinvested into the local cannabis industry. On a related note to taxation, I support the two recommendations made by Humboldt County Growers Alliance, regarding the proposed CPI increases as it relates to Measure S to the supervisors: suspending CPI increases and a credit from last year ’s inappropriate percentage rates with new adjustments from 4% (Bay Area) to the more appropriate 2% (nationwide).
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?
Like any other business, the cannabis industry has been directly effected by COVID 19. Adding to the financial disaster of COVID 19, the recent fires have also greatly effected our cannabis industry. Being that cannabis businesses are often precluded from relief and other opportunities I would like to see a city fund set up specific fund for the cannabis industry. Long before the legalization of marijuana, the cannabis industry has not only been the backbone of City of Arcata, but the county as well. When the logging industry collapsed it was the legacy farmers and our cannabis community that was the glue that held us together during some very tough economic times. It is time that we as a community invest in our cannabis industry to assure it remains live and vibrant during these difficult times with low interest cannabis “innovation” business loans and grant relief programs and reinvest in our cannabis industry. I would love the city to heavily promote the Humboldt Brand as part of our economic revitalization and recovery and take the nation by storm as we begin to reemerge from COVID 19. We could have cannabis eco tours, a city cannabis festival, as well as cannabis friendly Airbnb’s, hotel, Bed and Breakfasts promoting the Humboldt brand all behind the Redwood Curtain.
How do you envision the future of cannabis in your city, and in Humboldt County more broadly?
I envision Arcata taking the lead and it is my hope that Humboldt County will continue and expand the branding of Humboldt Cannabis as we have been known and continue world wide as being the cannabis capital of the world.
Do you currently, or have you enjoyed/consumed cannabis?
Back in the 90’s I used cannabis both medically and recreational. I have not used it in several decades due to an allergy.