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 industry in Arcata. I support the growth cultivation permits that the city has passed in West End Road area and have many friends who are employed there. I oppose the number of retail permits, fifteen, that the city approved not because of the cannabis itself but because I feel that is an over saturation of the retail market place.
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 in support of the growth of cultivation, manufacturing, testing and distribution in Arcata. These industries bring desperately needed jobs and economic grow through our Arcata which, if all the citizens believe it or not, has a positive impact on Arcata’s economy. I do feel that the amount of retail businesses, fifteen, is too many for the population of Arcata and has a negative impact on the retail businesses to earn enough money to survive. As a result they have to raise the prices on their products which has a negative impact on their sales revenue.
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 been fighting for the cannabis industry for years. I was born in 1967 so I don’t have much experience in the 1970’s but I started medicating with cannabis in 1983 and I remember the “just say no” campaign very well. I took ownership of Arcata’s Pacific Paradise in November of 1996, just days before proposition 215 was passed, and ran it as a smoke shop until 2019. In March of 2019 my retail cannabis permits were approved and Pacific Paradise was the first business in Arcata to have its retail cannabis permits approved by the city. Since then I have hosted mixers for the Humboldt Cannabis Chamber of Commerce and many smaller events at my store.
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?
Arcata has a maximum of fifteen retail dispensary permits. Since there has been four new cannabis dispensary’s opened in Arcata, Pacific Paradise, The Fireplace, Humboldt Herb and Market, and Liberty which is located in the Valley West shopping center. Six retail cannabis permits have been approved in Arcata since 2016. In addition to the pre-mentioned four permits both the Humboldt Patient Resource Center and The Heart of Humboldt, which were cannabis medical dispensary’s prior to 2016, have had their retail cannabis permits approved as well which accounts for six out of a maximum fifteen cannabis permits in total. Both HPRC and the Heart of Humboldt have cultivation permits as well so they have a higher amount of employees then the other four retail dispensary’s. As I recall they both employ approximately thirty people. I have eight employees at Pacific Paradise and I would imagine that the remaining three have approximately the same the same as I do at Pacific Paradise. My application fees including zoning fees were approximately $1000.00 and the yearly state permit charges are $3000.00. It is my opinion that these city and state fees are too high and that they will be reduced in the future.
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 do not support any addition of a city-based excise tax in Arcata. I feel that cannabis is already taxed too heavily and to add a city-based excise tax would be damaging to the retail cannabis industry in Arcata. My retail products are already charged both sales tax at 8.5% and a 15% state excise tax. To add a city based excise-tax on top of the two existing taxes would bring the retail price to the consumer up and encourage the consumers to purchase their product through the black market instead of the retail market. I believe that if the city added a city-based tax on the remaining cannabis industries, cultivation, manufacturing, testing and distribution that it would have a trickle down effect to the retail industry which would ultimately be charged to the consumer and again it would bring the retail price of product up encouraging the consumer to look for their products elsewhere. On a side note I think that it would be more efficient for the retailer to report excise tax to the state then the current recording process which is for the distributors to report it to the state and I believe that it will be changed in the future.
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?
This question is simple, as long as cannabis is considered illegal on the federal level there will be zero assistance from the federal government including a federally insured bank accounts. I feel that it is ridiculous that my store is considered an essential business and yet it is not able to receive federal assistance during this years Covid 19 pandemic. I feel that the cannabis industry is discriminated against on many levels such as insurance, worker’s compensation, security and the list of large financial fees goes on and on. What the cannabis industry needs is in the form of relief is to have all of these large fees lowered so that these businesses have a lower overhead which will allow for a higher profit margin and a higher level of success in the industry. In addition the industry needs to be legalized on a federal level so that it can receive federal assistance during these type of pandemic situations that we are experiencing this year.
How do you envision the future of cannabis in your city, and in Humboldt County more broadly?
As you know Humboldt County has had a reputation for quality cannabis for years and I would like to see it move forward using that reputation to its advantage. The marketing of our products is essential to the success of the cannabis industry in Humboldt County as well as the future of cannabis tourism. Ideally the cannabis cultivated can be both exported and sold locally in an effort to increase the tourism industry, county revenue and provide local jobs to our residents.
Do you currently, or have you enjoyed/consumed cannabis?
Throughout my youth I medicated with cannabis all day everyday which is partly responsible for my purchase of Pacific Paradise instead of using my wildlife education instead. Now that I am older, married and have children I partake much less and enjoy it much more when I do.