The Humboldt County Sheriff Department working with CAMP (the federal Campaign Against Marijuana Planting) have set the tone for cannabis farms trying to become compliant. Despite strong efforts by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, the Sheriff Department will not recognize good faith effort toward compliance.
As originally reported by Kym Kemp, a medical cannabis farm growing high CBD, non-psycho active varieties used to treat epilepsy and cancer patients, has been raided by the Humboldt County Sheriff Department working with CAMP. No one was arrested but all medical plants have been eradicated, chopped down, and hauled away – leaving many potential patients without medicine.
This decisive action by the Sheriff Department has come at a time when many were waiting to see how police would react to new local and state regulatory laws. MMRSA (Medical Marijuana Regulation Safety Act) went into effect this year but essentially set a timeline for compliance. Until January 1st 2018, Prop 215 and SB 420 collective/cooperative model will remain the law of the land. Those operating within a collective/cooperative are supposed to be free to continue to do so. This gave many in the cannabis industry the courage to come forward and try to become environmentally and legally compliant – working with government agencies to assure farms did little harm to watersheds, wildlife, and community.
That is until now. This action by the Sheriff Department could sever all trust gained by the Board or Supervisors and the Planning Commission.
According to officers on the scene, “[The farm] wasn’t approved by the Planning Commission. Until they are approved, they are illegal.” It’s unclear where this officer got this information… Prop 215 was passed 20 years ago, SB 420 was signed into law in 2003, and MMRSA, which provides that all farms operating under these laws can continue to do so until 2018 became law January 1st of this year. Referred to as the grandfather clause MMRSA has provided legality to farms currently operating – farms that haven’t received permit and licenses from local authorities and the state. This clause states that a compliant and legal cannabis business, operating as of January 1, 2018, may continue to do so until its license has been reviewed.
This action by police also flies in the face of those in their own ranks. As reported by Kym Kemp (thanks Kym!), Humboldt Undersheriff William Honsal said, “People who’ve applied [to the permitting program] don’t have to fear as long as they are abiding by environmental laws and ordinances.”
Additionally, by the Planning Commissions own admission, their permit review process has been bogged down by the number farms wishing to gain compliance.
It seems local authorities have some communicating to do and maybe some apologies to issue. Their motives are unclear but in question. Does the presence of CAMP offer any incite. Our local police do receive federal grants to eradicate cannabis… Do these grants pit local law enforcement against the needs of our community? Who are they protecting and serving? They didn’t make any arrests… Maybe because Prop 215 and SB 420 provide an affirmative defense but not freedom from eradication, is this going to be how our local authorities appease their federal grant lenders while not violating state law?