Cannabis workers in Sonoma County participated in a protest in early September. The cannabis workers and their allies gathered outside of the Board of Supervisors’ office in Santa Rosa. They were there to protest cannabis cultivation regulations, along with cannabis taxes. These new implementations are a result of the tension between the neighborhoods and cannabis companies. Unfortunately, the cannabis workers are the ones being affected the most during these events. Cannabis Farmers protest in Sonoma county for change and help from the city government.
This protest is not the only form of movement coming from cannabis workers that we’ve seen this year. There has also been a movement of unionizing on behalf of cannabis workers. Cannabis workers and farmers are joining unions as a way to protect their workers’ rights and security. Similarly, the cannabis farmers in Sonoma County are taking to the streets to initiate change in order to save their jobs.
Cannabis Farmers Protesting Rescritctions in Sonoma County
Cannabis Farmers are protesting the restrictions placed on the recreational cannabis companies located in Sonoma County. They were outside of the Board of Supervisors’ office as a form to gather attention to this prevalent issue. Many people surrounded the area, displaying posters in support of cannabis companies. Many of them pleading that the Supervisors do what they can to save and help cannabis workers.
They’re counting on city officials to loosen these restrictions in order to allow them to expand. This would allow commercial cannabis companies to widen outside of the city territory. Failure to change the restrictions will leave cannabis farmers in a tough spot in Sonoma County. It’s likely that their business may close down or simply be negatively affected. For others, it means they’ll have to return to the black market.
Cannabis Taxes and Regulations
The restrictions in place affect cannabis farmers and companies in multiple ways. First, Sonoma County issued excessive taxes on cannabis companies. These taxes made it extremely difficult for cannabis cultivation companies in the area to prosper.
Second, high licensing fees and slow turnaround time make it hard to get the proper permits to do anything. Third, the constant restrictions placed on the cultivation companies make it difficult for them and their employees to get the job done.
These regulations placed by the city aren’t the only force affecting the cannabis farmers.
Neighborly Tension in Sonoma County
Many residents of Sonoma County seem to feel unwelcoming towards the cannabis cultivation companies in their homes. In fact, earlier this week a large group of Sonoma County residents held a protest of their own.
The group gathered around at the entrance to the administrative center for the Sonoma County government. They do not want officials to adjust the law that will make it easier on cannabis companies. These changes would make it easier for growers to get a permit to raise cannabis crops. Additionally, it would allow them to open up more ground where those farms can go outside cities.
Sonoma County residents argue that allowing commercial residents to grow in their area will have dire effects. First, many believe that having cannabis farms close to their neighborhoods will use up water that is already so limited in Sonoma.
Secondly, they also believe that cannabis farms will attract thieves. Perhaps the thieves will be coming to steal from the farms initially, but along the way, also hit the residents in the area. Third, they do not want to deal with a “skunklike” aroma when growing weed. Lastly, they fear that having cannabis farms nearby will also cause the property value to go down.
It’s important to not misunderstand the residents of Sonoma County. They are not against marijuana or the personal cultivation of it. They are against the commercial grow of cannabis in their neighborhood.
Other Protests From Cannabis Farmers
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen cannabis farmers protest in the name of their practice. For example, in 2018, Humboldt had its own conflict surround cannabis. Humboldt County cannabis farmers protested the marijuana tax. Similar to Sonoma, they showed up to the Board of Supervisors chamber. Many of the farmers at the time had received temporary permits in December 2017. Those who did had to pay the county’s cultivation tax. Whereas those who waited to apply for a permit in 2018 did not have to pay the tax. This upset the former group.
Many of the cannabis farmers expressed that they felt betrayed by their own county. Many of them would have to face financial loss due to the cultivation tax. Although they were there requesting change, many of them offered solutions to the issue.
For example, they suggested the county issue more temporary permits. This would allow all farmers who are working but are struggling to meet the tax, have an opportunity at the state market as well.