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California’s business environment going to pot

California’s business environment going to pot

As a Californian, I am thrilled to discover there is actually one business our bureaucrats won’t over-regulate.

Sadly, it is medical marijuana farming. However, the lessons it offers about the effects of selective reinforcement of regulations are enlightening.

In the Merced Sun-Star, Dan Morain describes how marijuana farming practices in Butte County threaten regional water quality.

In a state that prides itself on its environmentalist sensibilities, emboldened marijuana growers have ripped out ponderosa pines and bulldozed deep terraces into steep slopes above Lake Oroville, all so their crops can receive full sun.

….Growers don’t obtain permits and take no steps to limit erosion. Although they probably are breaking law governing discharges, California Regional Water Quality Control Board officials shy away from inspecting the farms, fearing for their safety.

Because many growers display notes from doctors swearing that they’re cultivating the marijuana for medicinal purposes, Butte County law enforcement officials don’t have power to make arrests.

By way of background, Californians approved 1996’s Proposition 215, which authorized the growing of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The practice of procuring the medical marijuana is to have its farmers post doctors’ notices certifying the crops as “215-Marijuana-for-Medical”.

This news is especially troubling, because California’s eco-activists have targeted farms in the state’s famous Central Valley in an effort to protect an invasive fish species. So, our states’ bureaucrats are selectively reinforcing regulations, leaving our almond fields bare but ensuring bumper crops of pot.

But there is at least one upside to this news: California has finally managed to find a way to attract red state businesses.

Butte County is not exactly ready to eradicate its pot-growing business. While Californians are leaving the state for better business in Texas and Florida, entrepreneurs from Texas and Florida flock to California for better weather conditions to grow the weed. Medical marijuana is not legal in Texas or Florida, but business booms for the growers in Butte.

Big money involved in the business, along with the questionable disposition of the crop for medical use, make environmental enforcement lax at best. Cannabis growers get a pass on regulations while farms that raise food crops or timber are scrutinized, cited, and fined for infringements.

In conclusion, it seems that in the progressive ranking of priorities, the ability to get high is more important than the need for a clean environment. Fascinating!


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Is anyone seriously surprised this happened? Come on people!

I had assumed that the California government would regulate (over-regulate) marijuana in the same heavy-handed manner it regulates everything else, and that that might lead to it being even harder to get than when it was illegal.

Milton Friedman – “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.”

Little did I think that this would be the one issue the government would back off on.

But here’s some advice for the almond farmer who got fined $300,000 for grading his land the same way the (un-fined) pot growers do: Disguise your crop! Call your almond trees “marijuana trees” and post 215 authorization notices around the place.

    Here’s a better idea: Sue for Due Process violation in the FEDERAL courts. If the law is being applied in a discriminatory manner by exempting one industry without legislative approval, or is not being applied equally, sue for an injunction against application of the law at all.

    Make it an “as applied” Title 42, Section 1986 complaint to either force the state to treat the Pot Farms equally, or to cease enforcement against other agricultural growers.

    Alternatively, annex the Pot Farms business model: do everything in cash (so there’s no governmental attachment of assets from a bank), arm yourselves to the teeth (so the government regulators are afraid to enter upon your property) and be ready to shoot anyone who trespasses (government or otherwise), and arm the transporters of your crops that if the governmental agents attempt to harass your product shipments, that they know to shoot first and ask questions later.

Midwest Rhino | August 25, 2013 at 10:12 am

Is protecting the smelt or slug really important to these eco-terrorists, or is it just another tool to destroy “capitalist America”? They laugh at “creationists”, yet they refuse to admit evolution includes species routinely dying off as a NATURAL process.

We either prosecute indiscriminately, or we end up with rule by the most terrifying mob. Will that be organized crime and their government cronies, public union mobs run by Lois Lerner or Pelosi types, Mexican drug cartels and their American big city distribution gangs, or banker types that get billions in bailouts for their 300:1 leveraged bad bets?

Or do they all divide turf in DC back rooms, reaching detente, with law abiding America their slaves? (aka “our current condition”)

It’s a question of priorities.

And, when progressives determine the rankings of those priorities, you can bet they’ll be screwed up!

Living here in California is like being in a big bowl of granola. What ain’t fruits and flakes is nuts.

SoCA Conservative Mom | August 25, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I’m sure the California legislature will get around to regulating marijuana farms when their realize the potential revenue from licenses, fees and taxes. Can’t tax it if you don’t know how much they are growing. I’m actually surprised CA hasn’t moved to tax it the way Colorado is.

    It likely won’t be taxed or regulated. How many of those California Legislators do you think that the Mexican Cartel’s have in their back pocket? I’ll give you a hint, it almost makes up an outright majority of the California Legislature.

    Further, California’s new “primary” system where the top two vote getters in a primary are the candidates, regardless of party, makes it easy and convenient for the Cartels to control the process. They just have to buy off the one party in a district, and then task resources to making sure that one party wins the top two spots on the primary ballot.

    None of the California Legislators want to end up in a ditch somewhere, hands and feet bound, with a message carved into their chests saying “you were warned not to interfere.” That is very likely to happen to any legislator who proposes taxation and regulation of the farms.