Situated on the coastline of the notorious marijuana-farming Humboldt County, Greacen’s organization has witnessed firsthand some of the highs and lows for this new industry as it’s blossomed from a small handful of ex-hippies and cartel affiliates to a full-blown source of regional livelihood.
“We see that there are big groups waiting in the wings, ready to come in and start producing at large scale,” Greacen said. “I think that’s a pretty poor public-policy choice. Keeping it out of the hands of the corporations is one of the things we can do that makes sense.”
Of particular concern to Greacen is the environmental impact that large corporate producers could have, especially if met with lax, unspecific regulations for growing ever-larger crops. Many grow operations already make use of pesticides, rodenticides, and other chemicals potentially harmful to humans. With a $100 million dollar crop at stake, a company like Prohibition Brands or Diego Pellicer has a strong incentive to use such chemicals and cut other corners in search of maximum profits, according to Greacen.
But he stresses that not all is lost. Local government initiatives in Humboldt and Mendocino counties have proven promising to advocates for a sustainable, independent producer-oriented pot industry, with groups like the Emerald Growers Association lending their support in the effort to keep “homegrown” truly homegrown.
As to whether or not marijuana will ultimately go the way of alcohol and tobacco with such an enticing multibillion dollar carrot dangling on the horizon, Greacen gives the only answer he can so early in the game: “We’ll see.”
Article by: Dan Schneider
Published by: Dollars & Sense Magazine
Published: March 2014