Cannabis Chronicles (Updated Thursday) – December 20, 2007

Few would dispute that Arcata is the unofficial capital of Ecotopia, and if there was ever any doubt that it’s also Cannabis Central… well, let’s just say that there isn’t any more doubt. How could there be at this point?

Oh sure, Southern Humboldt gives us a run for the (THC-infused) money, and you can probably score a bag without too much difficulty in Anytown, USA. But where else is an estimated one-seventh of the residential homes dedicated whole or in part to marijuana cultivation? And what other town has no less than four hydroponic shops and three (going on four) bustling cannabis dispensaries serving thousands of patients?

This Wednesday, the Arcata City Council will consider staff recommendations to deal with the proliferating grow houses and dispensaries/clinics. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

A staff report by Community Development Director Tom Conlon makes two recommendations:

• That the council direct staff to draft standards for personal marijuana cultivation in residential zones based on state SB420 guidelines, with a single Prop 215 recommendation allowed per residence. These standards would be added to the pending Land Use Code and processed by the Planning Commission and later, the council.

• That the Medical Marijuana Working Group authorized by the council on Oct. 17 be considered during annual goal-setting and budget study sessions, which take place during in the spring.

On this week’s Humboldt Review, we’ll get an update on whatever action the council takes Wednesday night. We’ll also talk with cannabis clinicians about their work, and the differing cultures of the various clinics. Our first confirmed guest is Eric Heimstadt of Humboldt Medical Supply, LLC.

As usual, expect updates as we confirm guests.

Tuesday update: Someone purporting to be from from NORML posted a “CODE RED” alert on the cannabis boards and blogs last night regarding Wednesday’s City Council meeting. So the cannabis-activist community will be aware that the grows are being considered. The Humboldt County chapter of Americans for Safe Access are already decrying the proposed recommendations as illegal.

recall-wheetley.jpg

Meanwhile, Mayor Wheetley has run foul of at least one person with access to a printer and staple gun. The flyer above appeared across from Arcata City Hall Tuesday morning.

Wheetley has been the main torch-bearer for City action on grow houses, initially proposing not only a task force or working group but suggesting individuals with publicly disclosed views on the matter to be members. Whether he’s anti-Arcata or not is a matter of opinion, but he does not oppose Prop 215 per se, as discussed during last week’s show. His concerns have centered on the proliferation of grow houses and their impact on neighborhoods.

Interestingly, the cannabis clinicians have mixed views on the grow houses, too. Hopefully we’ll get into that on Thursday’s show.

Update Tuesday night: Our first segment’s guest will be Richard Bull, chief of police, City of Ripon. Ripon’s indoor grow ordinance is suggested as a starting point for an Arcata version. We’ll discuss how Ripon’s law works, and how well it works.

Our last segment guest will be Gregg Foster, the former executive director of Redwood Region Economic Development Corporation (RREDC) and made bringing a third airline to the North Coast a priority before he moved on to Lost Coast Communications.

UpdateWednesday afternoon: Steven Gasparas, proprietor of the iCenter cannabis dispensary and its companion business, Sai Om Shree, will also be with us. The other two cannabis clinics in Arcata have so far declined invitations to appear, but Mr. Matthews is still working the phones.

UpdateWednesday night: Mariellen Jurkovich, director, Humboldt Patient Resource Center, will be with us in a pre-taped interview.

We now have participation by three of Arcata’s four existing or planned cannabis dispensaries/clinics, two of them in real time.

Wheetley says the recall poster is his new screen saver.

Thursday update: We’re still working on guests (trying to get someone from Americans for Safe Access). But we do have the above listed folks, and I doubt that I’ll have time to do another update before the show.

By the way, if you have never been to a medical cannabis dispensary, below is the homey view that greets you when you enter Mariellen’s Humboldt Patient Resource Center. What you can’t see is the growing-marijuana smell, which is like every grow house you’ve ever walked past, combined and multiplied by 100. But after a few minutes, you get used to it.

hprc.jpg

Don’t forget, you can always call in or send questions in by e-mail.

(707) 786-5104, studio@khum.com

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