Though Californians voted 57.1 percent in favor Proposition 64 last month, carrying the bill, some demographics were not so hot on the measure. Who were these groups who voted against the effort to legalize recreational marijuana in the Golden State? Among them was the growers of Humboldt County, one of the major hubs of cannabis production in California.
Humboldt’s top-producing regions opposed the measure across the board, as reported by The Cannabist. Though Humboldt growers still opposed the proposition, the county was actually a little more friendly toward legalization than they were back in 2010 when lawmakers tried out the similar Proposition 19. Population centers, in particular, seemed to welcome the change in the marijuana market. The towns of Arcata, Trinidad, Eureka and McKinleyville all voted in favor of Proposition 64.
More rural, grow-heavy municipalities voted the other way, with 60 percent of Southern Humboldt’s voters going against legalization and 55 percent of Willow Creek’s Precinct casting their ballots the same way.
Why don’t the state’s biggest cannabis suppliers welcome a legal market that could make them legitimate? Probably a couple of reasons. First off, Proposition 64 has provisions which may allow big business to get their claws in the California cannabis market. The new measure has no limit on licenses for commercial marijuana cultivation and no limit on growth sizes, and Humboldt growers may be fearing that these new permissive laws will allow corporate interests to trample on the county’s economy and tradition.
The other reason Humboldt growers may not be too keen on the idea of a legal market is that they might be more seriously regulated than ever before. Area cannabis producers have a longstanding tradition of not having the government look over their shoulder, but that may change now.
The offenses of Northern California growers aren’t just drug crimes either. Several disturbing incidents of human trafficking and sexual abuse on black market cannabis grow operations surfaced this year, culminating in the story of four men who escaped from captivity on an illegal cannabis farm in Northern California where they were forced to work as slaves and beaten.
Photo via Flickr user Michael Dourasch