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The Humboldt Medical Marijuana Advisory Panel is a community-based nonpartisan policy group created to foster comprehensive approaches to legal marijuana policy, integrating health, safety, economic, and regulatory issues in Humboldt County, California and the United States.

HuMMAP speaks for the interests of legal marijuana growers, patients, caregivers, distributors and support services across Humboldt County. Join us!

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Wait and see, for now.

A brief update on HUMMAP, August 15, 2012.

We began work in April, 2010 when, like much of Humboldt County, we began to realize that if Proposition 19 were to  pass in the coming November election, Humboldt County’s economy and culture would have to make some rapid adaptations or face extreme hardship. We were specifically working to help the County Supervisors implement a medical marijuana ordinance that clarified much of the gray area around Proposition 215 and SB 420, the laws currently governing medical marijuana in California.

The idea was that, irrespective of the outcome of Prop 19, Humboldt County would be leading the way with an ordinance that worked for a diverse pot farming economy, specifically one that did not inordinately discriminate against small “mom and pop”- scale growers. If Prop 19 were to pass and marijuana were to become legal for “social” use, the ordinance could be easily modified to accomodate the new economic opportunities available to Humboldt growers. Others were working on similar ordinances and the Supervisors took a few stabs at writing their own.

When Prop 19 failed at the ballot box and the motivation for immediate action waned, most organizers took a much needed break. Prop 19 was very far from perfect as a legalization initiative—virtually no one except its most ardent backers liked it— so when it failed, most activists in Humboldt saw that as an opportunity to push forward a better initiative in 2012.

In the meantime, the U.S. Attorneys office has been sending threatening letters to cities and counties, telling them that any ordinance governing marijuana for any purpose is illegal. As a result, Mendocino suspended its established grower-permitting process and Humboldt County and the City of Arcata dropped their permit discussions. The feds have also raided or threatened many permitted dispensaries in California, including Matt Cohen’s permitted medical marijuana farm and delivery service in Mendocino County and Harborside Health Center in Oakland, two of the most by-the-book medical marijuana operations in the state. It seems the feds want marijuana to stay in the shadows of the illegal black market.

Despite this, around half a dozen pot legalization initiatives were proposed for the California ballot earlier this year, with two getting to the signature-gathering stage. For various reasons, all of them were eventually withdrawn, so there will be no new opportunity to vote for or against legalization in California this coming November. A couple of groups have been pursuing a legislative solution, but that has stalled for now. Meanwhile, Washington, Oregon and Colorado all have legalization initiatives on their state ballots this November. The tide is turning, but at this point, California is far behind the wave.

Humboldt County still needs a good medical ordinance, but for now everyone is taking a wait and see approach and working quietly behind the scenes. Perhaps if pot is legalized this winter in three other states, that will provide the push for a new round of activism in Humboldt, if not throughout all of California. In the meantime, support those who are fighting this latest federal crackdown, attend rallies, write letters and educate those you meet about the need for medical marijuana to be legal and safely accessible, with clear policies in place.


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