Kym Kemp / Tuesday, July 17, 2012 @ 8:29 p.m. / Marijuana and/or Cannabis
Medical Marijuana Growers Diss Feds for Cracking Down on Dispensaries and Not Focusing on Illegal Grows on Public Lands
Emerald Growers Association Press Release:
In response to a study released by UC Davis this week, declaring that California fisher populations are declining from ingestion of rat poison used at illicit marijuana grow sites on public lands, the Emerald Growers Association released a statement today calling on the Federal government to re-allocate its limited resources to enforce eradication of illegal marijuana grows on public lands instead of closing down medical cannabis businesses complying with state laws.
The Emerald Growers Association (EGA), a medical cannabis trade association located in the Emerald Triangle region long-known for its high-quality cannabis cultivation, has been working to regulate the medical cannabis industry on a local and state level.
“What the Federal government is completely ignoring is that the more they shut-down state law-compliant medical cannabis businesses in our communities, the more they increase the demand for black market production and destruction of our public lands,” said Kristin Nevedal, Chairwoman of the EGA, “We want to see our federal administration focus on the real problems in cannabis cultivation – namely the illicit grows on public lands that we’ve known are trashing habitat and depleting our water, and now we know they also are killing the California fisher, among other species.”
EGA Vice Chair, Matt Cohen, whose work helped to establish Mendocino County’s groundbreaking Medical Marijuana Cultivation Regulation ordinance (otherwise known as the “9.31 Program”), knows first-hand the pressure the federal government is putting on local law enforcement by cracking down on legal medical cannabis cultivators instead of illicit growers. The 9.31 Program exemplified cooperation between small-scale medical cannabis cultivators and law enforcement, and was featured on PBS’ documentary series Frontline. Cohen was raided by the DEA in October 2011 after the airing of the Frontline documentary, despite being a model of compliance with the program.
“By targeting law-abiding medical cannabis cultivators, federal authorities are putting tremendous pressure on local law enforcement who should be focusing on the true outlaws,” said Cohen, “The 9.31 program saved four Sheriff Deputies from getting laid-off in Mendocino, but now the program has been gutted because of threats from US Attorney Melinda Haag’s office against our county government and local law enforcement rather than the illicit growers ruining our public lands.”
The EGA is calling on the federal government to utilize their limited resources to focus on the real issues effecting public safety and environmental degradation rather than focusing on medical cannabis patients and providers.
Citing the links between public safety, environmental safety, and patient safety, Alison Sterling Nichols, executive director of the EGA, asserted that, “This is a classic example of our federal government having their heads so far in the sand that they don’t even know what beach they’re on. To prioritize shutting down lawful businesses in our current economic climate, instead of protecting the health of patients and our environment is beyond irresponsible, it’s reprehensible.”
The EGA’s mission is to “promote the medicinal, environmental, social, and economic benefits of lawfully cultivated sun-grown cannabis from California’s Emerald Triangle Region (Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity Counties) by advocating for public policies that foster a healthy, sustainable medical cannabis industry.”