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Supervisors approve formation of Ad hoc committee to discuss cannabis reform initiative

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On Tuesday, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors approved the formation of an ad hoc committee that would further examine and present alternatives to a cannabis reform initiative that would severely restrict cannabis growing operations in the county.

More than a dozen local cannabis stakeholders appeared at Tuesday's meeting to voice their thoughts on the Humboldt Cannabis Reform Initiative.

During the public comment session, one woman described her acquaintance's reaction to the initiative. "She owns a long-running florist business in a small cannabis plot, and her only response was, 'just surreal.' Can this get any more heartbreaking?" she said.

The HCRI comes after years of frustration among a group of Kneeland residents who feel that large-scale commercial cannabis operations have disturbed their community.

"All it takes is one neighbor who's very dissatisfied, and then the whole thing is kind of thrown into a boil," Supervisor Mike Wilson said.

But despite their aggressive move to severely limit cannabis operations in the county, none of the group members behind the initiative actually spoke at Tuesday's meeting. On the other side, plenty of stakeholders opposed to the initiative did show up to have their voices heard.

"[The proponents of the HCRI] are not here. We are here. We've been here with you, and we need your help," Humboldt County Grower's Association Co-founder Natalynne DeLapp said to the board. "We need your support and we need you to oppose this initiative."

The initiative would have several consequences on Humboldt's cannabis industry, prohibiting any new cannabis operations, banning mixed-light and indoor grows, forbidding farms larger than 10,000 square feet and potentially forcing many Humboldt growers to shut down or seriously downsize their operations.

"This initiative would put me out of business," one local grower said.

The supervisors seemed to share many of these concerns, with Supervisor Rex Bohn even admitting his strong opposition to the initiative.

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Ultimately, the board approved the motion to form an ad hoc committee, where further discussion may be had. The committee would both inform the public of the initiative's impacts and develop a competing initiative to the HCRI.

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