In November 2016, 57% of Californians voted in favor of Proposition 64 to legalize recreational use of cannabis. Within the City of Mt. Shasta, over 60% of voters agreed.
Afterwards, the city planning commission and council held numerous public hearings to craft permitting rules. Contrasting with other planning issues, these hearings were straightforward, not controversial, and perhaps a bit boring. As a result, the city attracted new processing businesses that are now part of the community, providing jobs and tax dollars.
No one believes these small cannabis businesses alone will revive the city’s economy. Yet by remaining open to new ideas and opportunities, city officials have shown leadership, and must be commended for their diligent work on the new ordinances.
A few people, coming late to the game, now object to a minor ordinance revision, and beyond that to the industry entirely. As with any permitted business, there is a legitimate discussion about rules and requirements. However, the processing facilities are not open to any member of the public, and thus present far less danger to schoolchildren than the long-permitted production of sugary drinks.
Speaking for myself, if we want to remove the financial desperation that causes uncontrolled resource extraction and clear-cutting, we have to attract living wage jobs to the city. Resistance to change creates continued poverty, as we see clearly elsewhere in the county.
The city made good decisions in regulating and welcoming this industry, and is starting to reap its benefits. Decision makers and staff are open to public input, yet for most in town this isn’t a concern.