Meet Sarah Schaefer Arcata City Council Candidate

Sarah Schaefer

Arcata City Council

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

Yes, the time for innovation in the cannabis industry is now and Arcata is already at the forefront. Arcata needs to focus on passing zoning regulations to allow onsite cannabis consumption at regulated dispensaries. The city should work hand and hand with the cannabis industry with growing and maintaining the cannabis innovation zone and coming up with creative ways to draw in the industry to Humboldt County and more specifically, Arcata.

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.

Overall, I would embrace the growth of cannabis industry within Arcata and in the cannabis innovation zone. Within the city limits of Arcata, I would be wary to not over saturate the market yet keep it competitive with the number of operating dispensaries.

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 am only 28 years old so I was not alive during the war on drugs. I am a product of two So Cal hippies who moved up here and fully embraced the culture of Humboldt County and Arcata. I was raised in an environment that embraced the safe consumption of marijuana and lauded its medical benefits. I have a degree in history so I greatly understand the context of the war on drugs and the necessity that exists today to move forward and continue the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana on the federal level.

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?

Over the last few years I have watched the cannabis industry grow and thrive within Arcata. This includes the growth of the cannabis innovation district and many cultivation, extraction, packaging, and distribution businesses. There has also been a recent growth in the number of dispensaries in Arcata bringing more retails spaces into downtown. The number of jobs the industry brings to Arcata and Humboldt County is essential to economic growth here.

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)?

The state taxes on cannabis sales and cultivation is already extremely high. If we over exploit the cannabis industry, these valuable jobs will leave Arcata. Extra taxes on cannabis and cannabis business within Arcata would de-incentivize the growth of cannabis business. Arcata already greatly benefits from sales tax generated by dispensaries. The number of jobs and people working within the cannabis community in Arcata stimulate our local economy by bringing in revenue to local businesses and renting and purchasing property locally.

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?

As a way to alleviate local pressures for these businesses, the city could consider reexamining cannabis permitting and the extra prices and barriers for these businesses. We should be looking at ways to incentivize cannabis businesses to stay locally and grow here (no pun intended). We need to find ways to provide local resources because due to marijuana’s criminalization on the federal level, many resources are not available.

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

When looking at Arcata and Humboldt County’s economy, it is important to recognize what businesses are booming and to capitalize on that. Cannabis business is successful in Humboldt County and brings in many new jobs and opportunities each year. As more and more states are legalizing marijuana and the popularity of consuming cannabis is becoming less taboo, it is essential for such a legendary area for cultivation to embrace that.

I see the future of cannabis based tourism really having the opportunity to take off in Humboldt County and especially Arcata. The cannabis cultivation business district here is state of the art and one of a kind. This along with farms located in our breath taking scenery make Humboldt County and Arcata a destination for the developing field of cannabis tourism.

To support this idea of cannabis tourism, I think Arcata needs to embrace the idea of on-site consumption lounges at dispensaries as well. The safe and regulated consumption will take smoking off the streets and out of local parks while creating community hubs for locals and tourists alike.

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

Growing up in Arcata, I was often surrounded by the local marijuana culture. I have created a very positive relationship with cannabis as a way to manage anxiety and to just enjoy recreationally. I love to patronize our local dispensaries and am a huge supporter of locally grown and produced cannabis products. I am always in awe by the knowledge and professionalism of our local bud-tenders.

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The Humboldt County Growers Alliance is a California mutual benefit, not-for-profit, trade association that is funded and owned by, and for its members

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