License to Grow

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North Coast state senator Mike McGuire (D, Healdsburg), introduced SB 67 last week in an effort to shore up a teetering legal cannabis market that’s seeing temporary cultivation licenses expire without a long-term solution in place.

The fear, says McGuire, is that cannabis growers in California who were lured from the black market into the new world of legalization, will be “dropping back into the black market at no fault of their own. Without valid licenses, there isn’t a legal, regulated market here in the Golden State and a crisis will take hold.”

The bill would extend temporary growing licenses now held by farmers while their annual applications are being processed.

Gov. Gavin Newsom had already taken executive action to put an expedited licensing process in place but, says McGuire, “we remain concerned that the processing time may still not be able to address the large number of temporary licenses out there.”

Since the passage of Proposition 64 in 2016, there are some 6,900 temporary state cannabis growing licenses in the state system that will expire by July without government action. Four thousand temporary growing licenses issued by the California Department of Food and Agriculture expired this month.

Marin County has taken a cautious approach to the rollout of Proposition 64 and most of the local permitting and licensing activities have been focused on permits for the county’s cannabis-delivery businesses. Where Sonoma cities such as Santa Rosa have engaged with legalization across the full spectrum—growing, processing, marketing, retail shops—San Rafael, for example, has flat-out banned the commercial cultivation of cannabis within the city limits. Seventy percent of Marin County residents voted in favor of legalization. —Tom Gogola

Flashback

50 Years Ago

The uneasy truce in the San Geronimo Valley between hips and straights was shattered by an Easter Sunday celebration. The straights were outraged by rock music and “obscene” language over a loudspeaker. But what seemed to bug them the most was the fact that children could redeem prize Easter eggs for money. The hip set considered this a beautiful put-on of what they consider to be the money-oriented middle class society.

—April 9, 1969

40 Years Ago

Radioactive steam pouring out of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has driven home the ultimate question about atomic energy—can we afford to keep these plants operating?

There are now 70 active nuclear power plants in the U.S. with 90 under construction, an overall average of more than three for every state in the union. Nearly every major American city is within 50 miles of at least one. Chicago is ringed with them, as is, to a lesser extent, New York City.

Do the risks of another Three Mile Island outweigh the staggering capital and energy costs of dismantling this mammoth nuclear program?

—Harvey Wasserman, April 6-12, 1979

30 Years Ago

As I write this, it has been more than a week since the Exxon Valdez plowed into well-known, well-marked Bligh Reef, causing the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Exxon officials are no doubt a-huddle with lawyers and accountants. The drunken captain, Joseph Hazelwood, is in hiding. To look for an apology is perhaps naive and silly; on the other hand, many judges and juries have opted for the death penalty because a defendant showed no remorse.

. . . The federal government should immediately put a price freeze on all Exxon products, so that the corporation has to absorb the cost of the oil spill rather than passing it along to consumers, which you just know is what Exxon is planning to do.

—Mary Lowry, April 7, 1989

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