After reading Bill McManus’ reasons for a commercial cannabis ban in Calaveras County, I find his reasoning to point out many reasons for regulation and no reasons for a complete ban. His major issues seem to stem from the environmental disasters wrought by illegal grows. To my knowledge, no permitted grower has been found to be causing environmental damage, let alone using illegal pesticides.

Permitted growers adhere to environmental standards and have to be able to pass an inspection to keep their permits. I do not know the county policy on random inspections after issuance of a permit, but I do know a permit would not have been issued to any grower who was in violation of any California law. Permitted growers are contributing more tax dollars to the county than any other single industry in the county.

In a nutshell, Mr. McManus, you are arguing that commercial marijuana cultivation should be banned in Calaveras County because of the illegal growers who have been polluting our public lands for decades. Your position would cut all tax dollars currently being paid by permitted growers, thus bankrupting any efforts to eradicate these illegal growers.

Illegal grows were everywhere in the area the Butte Fire scoured years prior to the fire. The fire just made burned land more readily available for purchase by outsiders because so many who lived in the hardest hit areas were poor and either could not afford or obtained insurance. Many of the displaced persons were renters, and many land owners opted to sell after the fire.

The Food and Drug Administration, which approved the manufacture and sale of Marinol, Syndros and Cesamet by pharmaceutical companies, has already proved your position that tetrahydrocannabinol has no medical value false. Since a botanical cannot be patented, these companies simply patented their synthetic versions, did their clinical trials and ultimately received FDA approval. These drugs can be as much as 100 times more potent than plant-derived THC, and can have horrific side effects not seen with the usage of cannabis.

Now, Mr. McManus, please put aside an outdated, politically motivated law scheduling marihuana as a Schedule 1 drug and show us proof that THC from cannabis has no medicinal value or use. Please explain to us how a chemical copy of a natural plant ingredient is better than the real plant itself. Please show us how an across-the-board ban of growing cannabis commercially will benefit Calaveras County. Please tell us where the funds to support the sheriff’s eradication teams will be obtained. Please tell us where any financial support for cleanup of contaminated, illegal, grow sites that were eradicated can be found.

All you have managed to convey to the citizens who read the Enterprise is that illegal grows are a huge problem in this county. We already know that.

Diane Starner

Rancho Calaveras

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