Measure AF Proponents Continue Pursuing Local Cannabis Permits and Warn About Delays

December 19, 2016: Ukiah, CAThe Yes on Measure AF Campaign extends heartfelt appreciation to all Mendocino County residents who voted in the November election, including the nearly 13,800 voters (37.93% of the voter base) who voted yes on AF at the ballot. No matter which way you voted, one thing is clear: the war on drugs has failed all of us, and the environment. Mendocino County is ready for solutions in cannabis policy.

Measure AF was a big step forward in giving voice to a long-marginalized community and it moved cannabis policy to the center of public discourse. The citizens’ initiative raised awareness about several crucial aspects of regulation including the state’s designation of cannabis as an agriculture product and the need for industry-wide permits to bring local farms into compliance with state legislation. Regulation will provide unprecedented protection and accountability under the law.

The Heritage Initiative also brought attention to the need for localized market development to protect Mendocino’s craft farmers, manufacturers & distributors through the development of state-approved appellation designations which define the unique terroir of our distinct cannabis growing regions & crop varieties, as in the wine industry.

Mendocino remains at a crossroads and policy will determine whether or not cannabis can shape a brighter economic future for the county, creating new highly skilled jobs at legally sanctioned dispensaries, laboratories, manufacturing facilities, plus supporting a multitude of related professional services from real estate to banking. Delays due to CEQA lawsuits could severely compromise that future, and the viability of the industry that has propped up our County for decades.

AF Campaign Manager Sarah Bodnar comments: “The cannabis conversation is no longer about the polarized past. Cannabis is here and as a community we must work toward regulations that protect the environment and local family farms and businesses and lift up Mendocino’s economy.”

With the passage of the County’s cannabis tax measures, AI & AJ, voters showed broad support for taxation of cannabis to fund crucial public services. However, there can be no taxation without permits, and local farms and businesses remain vulnerable to criminal prosecution until every aspect of the industry has laws to follow. Stakeholders continue to work with the Board of Supervisors and County Staff to deliver local permits, and to prepare locally for the full rollout of the state’s Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) as well as Proposition 64 – the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

AF Steering Committee Member Tim Blake says, “We’ve been working for change for a long time, and we’ve taken some big steps forward this year. The work doesn’t stop. We have to continue to stay engaged with our lawmakers, and also prepare our businesses to survive as huge corporations try to corner our industry. We have something special in Mendocino that you can’t find anywhere else, and we have to continue protect it.”

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