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California Pot-Growing Haven Fears Legalization

Marijuana growers and others in Humboldt County, California where the illegal drug is grown in large i i

Marijuana growers and others in Humboldt County, California where the illegal drug is grown in large quantities, worry what legalization will do to the local economy. Jae C. Hong/AP Photo hide caption

itoggle caption Jae C. Hong/AP Photo
Marijuana growers and others in Humboldt County, California where the illegal drug is grown in large

Marijuana growers and others in Humboldt County, California where the illegal drug is grown in large quantities, worry what legalization will do to the local economy.

Jae C. Hong/AP Photo

In most U.S. counties, when residents and officials have a public meeting to discuss their concerns about marijuana, the worry is about children being turned on to the drug or the problem of neighborhood drug houses.

In Humboldt County in Northern California, however, the good citizens are worried about what legalization of pot in the state and perhaps elsewhere could do to their marijuana prices. Humboldt is renowned for its pot growers.

Their anxiety is apparently not just paranoia caused by smoking their harvest. If a proposed initiative successfully gets on the November ballot and voters go for it, California could become the first state to legalize marijuana.

Though it's still a big if, it could result in a lot more people growing cannabis which in turn could lead to falling marijuana prices.

So some Humboldt County folks plan to meet Tuesday to talk about the potential for negative fallout on the local economy if legalization were to happen.

The website of the Times-Standard which covers the Eureka, Calif. area reports the following:

In what may be an unprecedented event, residents, local business people, officials and those involved in the marijuana industry are planning to meet Tuesday night and break a long-standing silence to talk about what supposedly is the backbone of Humboldt County's economy — pot.

More specifically, the meeting will focus on the potential economic effects of the legalization of marijuana.

"It's time to talk about the elephant in the room," said organizer Anna Hamilton.

A Shelter Cove resident, Hamilton said she is "intimately involved" with the marijuana industry and has seen the market get worse over time due to changing marijuana laws.

"I've lived here 20 years and every time there's been a discussion, an open discussion, about marijuana, it has emboldened people to grow more pot with less fear," she said. "As it's become more widely grown, the prices dropped. The effect on our local economy is harsh."

Marijuana growers tend to be a fairly secretive lot, probably even in Humboldt, so I wonder what the attendance will be like and if the Drug Enforcement Agency will be there.

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