Be practical on Prop. 64

County supervisors set to discuss commercial aspects of the law Aug. 8

At long last, the Butte County Board of Supervisors will discuss the commercial impacts of Proposition 64 on Tuesday (Aug. 8). With five months left before state regulations kick in—requiring action on local jurisdictions’ parts if they don’t want to be superseded—it’s about time to start this conversation in earnest.

The CN&R’s stance has long been that legalization is the best route. With personal use and cultivation already allowed for those 21 and older, the next step is to look at the economic factors involved in the marijuana industry. Let’s face it, there is money to be made on this commodity in Butte County. So, we urge the board to direct staff to take a realistic approach to the implementation of the law. Rushing to ban all commercial activity—as the Chico City Council foolishly has done—not only ignores the wishes of local voters, who approved the proposition, it also ignores the implications of such a ban (i.e., perpetuating the black market).

In moving forward, we hope county staff will look at comparable communities in states where legalization has already been tried and proven successful. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel here. Look to Boulder County, Colo., which has a Marijuana Authority that issues licenses based on business type. And look to Shasta Lake City, which has passed common-sense laws that limit the number of dispensaries to three and the location of growing and manufacturing to an industrial park area. In 2016, that city took in $400,000 in taxes and fees from three medical dispensaries, which paid for a full-time law enforcement officer as well as business-improvement projects. Those dispensaries also employed 30 people in well-paying jobs.

The cannabis industry doesn’t have to operate in the dark anymore. Let’s regulate it, legitimize it, and boost our local economy in the process.