Indoor commercial grow filled with plants in the pre-flowering stage.

Rory Savatgy

Growers’ Opinions of Prop 64 Mixed Month Before Vote

Some California growers are opposing Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, over fears that the measure will cause too much red tape and onerous oversight, with some saying the required regulatory inspection are akin to warrantless searches, according to a report from Reuters.

Hezekiah Allen, director of the California Growers Association and a third-generation cannabis farmer from Northern California, worries that the regulations outlined in the proposal welcomes big business, which could wipe out independent and small farms.

“I don’t want to replace a criminal injustice with an economic injustice,” Allen said in the report.

In a recent poll of the 750 farmers, distributors, and retailers who are members of the association, 31 percent supported the initiative, 31 percent were opposed – and the majority, 38 percent, was undecided. The split vote forced the group to formally take a neutral stance on the measure.

Steve Dodge, CEO of the Humboldt Growers Collective, said that the law “is setting up the state for failure.”

“We are asking farmers to come out from behind the curtain, but not providing the assurances they need,” he said.

Another trade group, the Humboldt Sun Growers Guild, is split over the measure due to concerns that it will make the industry vulnerable to big agriculture and open them to increased taxes and harsher penalties.

Stephen Dillion, a guild member, said the split is largely due to their desire to have illegal growers, who often fail to respect the environment, punished. Such grows reportedly drain creeks for irrigation and pour pesticide-spiked runoff back into the water supply. He said that while the law would revoke the licenses of any bad actors, the environmental regulations outlined in the initiative could cost $20,000 to $100,000 per farm to meet.

Another guild member, Chrystal Ortiz, said she supports AUMA because it erases most prior marijuana convictions and reduces the majority of criminal penalties which primarily affect “black and brown underprivileged people.”

According to our poll aggregate, 61 percent of Californians approve of Prop 64, while 36 percent are opposed.     

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