Thank you all for your demonstrated commitment to public service and the best interest of all the people of Calaveras County, my home since the early 1970’s.
I respectfully ask your time and attention in consideration of the following comments for public record about your pending decisions regarding Commercial Cannabis Prohibition/Regulation, an issue with profound and complex long term implications for the County and your constituents:
I am a resident of District 2, a 1978 Calaveras High School honor graduate, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Resources Engineering and many years of water quality control related specialty work experience including service with Army COE, State Water Quality Control Board, an analytical testing lab, and County of Calaveras. I have decades of amateur outdoor organic gardening experience. I have lived in my current home for more than 25 years. I am a respectable, taxpaying, peace loving good guy, here for the long run.
Your efforts to protect public safety, prevent public nuisance and prohibit environmental degradation associated with illegal and irresponsible cannabis cultivation activities are much needed, commendable and appreciated. In recent years there have been at least four multi-thousand plants illegal wildland grows eradicated within about a mile from my place, including one eradicated from the small highly porous limestone rock watershed basin immediately above my home water supply spring. I have grave concerns about the environmental impacts of illegal and careless land use of any kind. Likewise, I am dismayed that relatively peaceful residential communities have been disturbed by an overwhelming influx of practically uncontrolled commercial cannabis agriculture.
We need effective regulation along with adequate administration and enforcement resources. Clearly, an outright ban alternative without identified funding for effective enforcement would be an irresponsible choice and will not have the desired effect of eliminating illegal grows or protecting the environment. Responsible independent landowners of modest means like myself (not part of any nebulous so called “Big Cannabis Industry”) want to build successful environmentally sustainable small commercial medical cannabis growing businesses at home and contribute to the future success of the County. I have paid all fees and specified taxes in a timely manner. I have legally agreed to compliance with a myriad of regulatory requirements from many government agencies with the simple personal goal to enjoy the reasonable use of my land to create a sustainable income and more satisfyingly peaceful lifestyle than might be otherwise possible.
My wife, 9 month old son, and I live off grid on a 24 acres parcel beyond the end of a county road within the Butte Fire area. In many ways the parcel is ideally suited for small scale outdoor cannabis growing. Our property is surrounded by many larger (more than 40 acre) wildland canyon parcels and is in an isolated valley out of public view. We have only one full time neighbor. The garden is 75 feet from the nearest property line and more than 200 feet from the nearest house and considerably more than 500 feet and out of view from the two other neighbor dwellings in the valley. Prevailing winds disperse cannabis odors away from neighboring homes. My County-inspected registered 4,900 square foot commercial outdoor garden is located in a pre-1970 garden area in an old homestead walnut orchard planted on reclaimed gold rush era placer mine tailings. No land conversion/grading was needed. Ample drip system water is supplied by gravity flow from a free flowing natural spring. No pumping/water extraction is needed. The soil is rich and the garden site has great sun exposure. Natural fertilizers and amendments are used in place of non-natural chemical fertilizers that pose greater potential for water pollution. By using integrated pest management practices, I have been able to completely avoid the use of all pesticides. Independent test samples results have demonstrated garden product meets accepted purity standards.
My neighbors know about the garden and have expressed no objections or concerns about what I do on my property. Indeed, I have had heard nothing but support from my neighbors.
As I understand the current status, in order to eliminate conditions of public nuisance and threat throughout the County, the Board seems intent to either enact a Ban on all commercial outdoor garden business (both illegal/noncompliant and currently registered/compliant) or adopt a regulatory ordinance prohibiting all outdoor commercial cultivation within 500 feet of property lines and on parcels under 100 acres in size.
It is perplexingly unclear why, without an objective standard for the primary issue of cannabis odor nuisance threshold conditions, a Board majority seems biased to the completely unsupported conclusion that a great safety or environmental threat or condition of public nuisance is occurring and will occur on all registered, multi-agency regulated, inspected, tested, organic outdoor commercial cannabis gardens of any size on all parcels smaller than 100 acres or within 500 feet of all property boundaries. More curious than that, among other proposed restrictions, it seems water from naturally flowing reliable private spring sources will apparently not be allowed.
Perhaps in your “last hours” hard work hashing out technically complex regulatory ordinance details agreeable to a minimum of three of five elected officials with diverse expertise and views, some focus on the end goals has been lost.
What seems proposed as “regulation” is so restrictive it will effectively ban without reasonable supporting nexus most existing registered tax paying commercial garden registrants except those with very large acreage and/or large financial assets necessary to relocate to a conforming parcel- a framework that will favor “BIG CANNABIS” with deep pockets while concentrating and exponentially increasing vehicle traffic on access road systems and disturbances in the vicinity of the allowable locations. Many registered compliant small gardeners like myself, already marginalized by proportionally larger and ever increasing overhead expenses and down trending product wholesale prices will be largely unable or unwilling to risk additional financial and other necessary resources relocating to an allowable site.
I am a responsible cultivator, landowner and neighbor. I have been subject to no complaints of any sort associated with my land use from any one. My garden is in reclaimed placer mine land. No water is being extracted from surface streams or ground. Good environmental stewardship practices are used. Working at home allows me to minimize vehicle impacts on public roads. Geographic isolation and topography block public view and prevailing breezes direct any odors away from neighboring occupied parcels. Security control is not a problem at my site.
I welcome each one of you to contact me for follow up discussion and/or to visit my home to see that my organic garden business land use poses no public/environmental threat or public nuisance.
Please do not adopt prohibitively restrictive, over reaching regulations for compliant small commercial cannabis businesses. If highly regulated home gardening businesses like mine cannot reasonably be considered a legitimate public nuisance or threat to the public or environment, local regulation should not be so restrictive as to interfere with my reasonable right/privilege to work hard for the comfortable enjoyment of life and property that includes responsibly growing a State permitted natural medical product for income and associated tax contributions for the betterment of the citizens of the County of Calaveras.
Commercial Cultivation Registrant #2016-0191