A new cannabis trade association called the Humboldt County Growers Alliance issued its first press release today, introducing itself to Humboldt County with a lofty statement of identity and purpose (published below).
The group is led by Terra Carver, a longtime industry insider, and Natalynne DeLapp-Hinton, former executive director of EPIC (the Environmental Protection Information Center). In the press release they advocate a sustainable and “well-regulated cannabis industry,” one that remediates environmental damage while providing copious jobs and tax revenue.
The group’s professional-looking website — which, LoCO notes approvingly, features nary a single pot leaf, the most overused icon of the industry — describes the HCGA as a California nonprofit mutual benefit corporation governed by a board of directors.
“[W]e are ready to be your advocates, guard dogs, policy wonks, and sound boards,” the group declares on its website. And in the release they sound ready for a fight, noting that their letter “may spark a backlash, or toss fuel on a fire of local distrust,” which could refer to black market die-hards suspicious of The Man or drug war hardliners who resent the whole industry.
The newly minted organization has already gotten involved in local policy decisions, weighing in on the county’s permitting process during Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.
Anyway, here’s the group’s first press release:
Hello Humboldt County,
We are excited for this opportunity to introduce the Humboldt County Growers Alliance (HCGA). HCGA is a trade association that represents Humboldt County cannabis farms and cannabis businesses that have made a commitment to work in a responsibly regulated industry.
We are the seed hunters, carriers of the torch, next-generation extract artists, innovators, and the pioneers who have sacrificed at times, their freedom, to protect and nourish a plant that is so deeply woven into the story of Humboldt County.
This story hasn’t come without significant impacts to our community and environment. HCGA champions a different approach to the status quo, one that benefits all who call Humboldt home. We envision a well-regulated cannabis industry that remediates legacy environmental issues, promotes regenerative agricultural practices, provides jobs, generates much-needed tax revenue and honors family farms and family businesses.
We understand that this letter may spark a backlash, or toss fuel on a fire of local distrust and result in comments aimed more at creating chaos than solutions. We are not naive to the narrative from some about this industry; we know there are those who believe that cannabis belongs elsewhere, and not in Humboldt. We hear you and recognize your frustration. However, with all due respect, local statistics report differently.
Humboldt County continues to express the desire to regulate and tax commercial cannabis. On Jan. 26, 2016, the Board of Supervisors approved the Commercial Medical Marijuana Land Use Ordinance (CMMLUO) with a 5-0 vote. On November 8, the voters of Humboldt passed Measure S, the local cultivation excise tax with 69.61 percent in favor as well as Prop. 64 a statewide initiative to regulate adult-use of cannabis with 59.45 percent in favor. Arcata, Eureka and Rio Dell also have developed regulatory frameworks.
The will of the people is clear. Most wish to move this industry into the light, a light where prohibition and the ramifications it has created can be rectified. Will this transition be easy? Absolutely not. It is and will continue to be extremely difficult. Success requires everyone, including the local government, state agencies, the public and the industry to work together to come up with solutions that provide a path forward. The one thing we all have in common is that this is a new frontier, mistakes will be made and frustrations will run high. However, it is paramount we continue to move forward with grace and professionalism.
If we don’t, we face a continued existence where our community and environment pay the ultimate price. In our opinion, this is not an option that is worth considering.
We openly and warmly look forward to working with all stakeholders who believe Humboldt’s future is one worth working for, one worth fighting for. A future that embodies our unique collective culture, and that values the welfare of the community, the health of the environment and the longevity of family farms and businesses, which are so vital to Humboldt’s economic success. One is not more important than the next, and only with all of us working together will our county thrive.
We also want to thank everyone from all walks of life, from all occupations, from each corner of our large and diverse county who are working toward making Humboldt a better, safer and healthier place to live. We are grateful for the work you do every day.
Humboldt County is what each of us calls home, so the question is not “Why should we all work together?” But, “What is at risk, if we don’t?”
With the utmost respect,
Humboldt County Growers Alliance