MENDOCINO Co., 9/29/19 — The following is a letter-to-the-editor submitted by Mendocino County District 3 Supervisor John Haschak, published here as a column, in which he updates his constituents on the past month of activity. You can see Haschak's previous letters to his constituents here.
Third District Supervisor Report September 2019
One key point in the Mendocino County Grand Jury report issued last May is the lack of a vision statement for our County’s future or a strategic plan on how to achieve it, which leaves our County Supervisors focusing on the crisis of the moment rather than seeing the bigger picture.
While I generally agree with this criticism by the Grand Jury, since their report was issued, a major economic vision for the future of the cannabis industry in Mendocino County has been proposed by some of my colleagues on the Board. Their strategic plan to achieve this vision involves the creation of several “Enterprise Zones (EZ)” throughout the County with 10 acre maximum grow sites as well as industrial scale processing facilities. One idea is that entities would pay around $100,000 just to complete the Environmental Impact Report for these EZs. This would allow large corporations to control cannabis production in our County. .
As Supervisor for the 3rd District, I have major problems with this EZ proposal. First, there is no specificity as to where these mega production sites will be located in the County. But wherever they want to put them, I believe they would impose an unreasonable nuisance on the entire neighborhood.
But my greatest concern with EZs is how they would shape the future of the cannabis industry in our County. Do we really want large corporate interests to come in and mine our County’s rich tradition of cannabis farming, and in the process dispossess the very farmers who established the Mendocino County brand in the first place? Is this the vision for the future of the cannabis industry that we share for our County? I don’t think so.
In talking with my constituents, I’ve heard lots of concern about this corporatization of the industry and I’ve also heard and support ideas about promoting cooperative models which would help small cannabis farmers survive in this new economy. Making our cannabis economy work for the people of Mendocino County rather than a few wealthy corporate players is the vision I have for the future of the cannabis industry, and drawing up County regulations that encourage small farmers to join together in cannabis cooperatives is the strategic plan for how we get there. I am currently in the process of developing a co-op friendly counter proposal to the corporate model. I welcome constituent feedback on this fundamental issue facing our County. (707-972-4214, haschakforsupervisor.org).
The Board of Supervisors has decided to move forward and hold a series of meetings. The two supervisors on the cannabis economic development ad hoc committee are having an open meeting on Oct. 5 in the Ukiah Valley Conference Room from 4:00-7:00 and then one in each Supervisorial district, to receive public comment on this Enterprise Zone proposal. Dates for the supervisorial meetings have yet to be determined. If we are to prevent a corporate takeover of the cannabis industry in our County, it is imperative that people show up to voice their opinion and vision for our county. I’ll keep you posted.
3rd District Supervisor Town Halls are set for Oct. 16 in Willits at 5:30 at City Hall and Oct. 18 in Laytonville at 6:00 in the Book Room. I greatly appreciate the people helping to set those up and I hope to see you there.
3rd District Supervisor