Many cannabis producers dreams are being crushed as legal weed is falling in Trinity County.
Trinity County is a Gold Rush town located in the northwestern part of California. Its lush forest areas are known to be an optimal location for growing weed. Many growers in the area have chosen it as a home base due to a promised upcoming ‘Green Rush’.
But their dreams have been shattered as legal weed is failing in Trinity County. Read on to find out how this is affecting the economy.
Why Legal Weed is Failing in Trinity County
Trinity County enjoys a climate of hot days and cold nights which is ideal for weed growing. It was a popular weed mecca during the counterculture movement of the 1960’s. Once weed legalization began happening, many growers moved to the area which was expected to flourish after the legislation passed.
But after the green stuff got okayed (in a measure that passed unenthusiastically with just a handful of votes) critics took action. They worried that the commercial growers would cause ecological harm and diminish the community’s sense of safety and trust. Proponents argued back stating that the new legislation would lead to higher tax revenue and increased property values.
But any arguments made were laid to rest when a Superior Court judge invalidated nearly all licenses that been awarded following a lawsuit. It was ruled that the county approved the licenses without requiring the growers to document potentially harmful environmental impacts and taking measures to prevent harm. As a result, legal weed is failing in Trinity County
The Current State of Trinity County
Fast forward to today and residents are still feeling the effects of legal weed is failing in Trinity County. With only 44 licenses being reapproved, about 300 farmers are still waiting. In the meantime, some have let their land remain barren. Others have decided to produce illegal harvests.
Some illegal growers have damaged the land with their efforts. They have poisoned the area with toxic chemicals, destroyed wildlife habitats, and threatened people who came near their crops.
The local government has stated that it’s aware of the problems in the area and are working on reinstating more licenses. But in the meantime, legal weed is failing in Trinity County.
History of Trinity County
The issue of legal weed is failing in Trinity County is a sign of history repeating itself.
The area first became an attractive place to settle during the Gold Rush of the mid 1800’s. People settled in the area after hearing stories of people extracting precious metal from the land with their bare hands. But eventually, hydraulic mining leveled the area washing entire prosperous hillsides into the Trinity River.
The county was still a prime spot for growth due to its lush forest lands. But industrial logging companies moved in thinning out the vegetation and kicking spotted owls out of their homes.
Environmentalist groups fought timber companies launching what became known as the timber wars.
As a result, the timber industry, which was once a main employer in the area, closed many of its Trinity County locations. Today, only one of the area’s 28 sawmills that once populated the county remains open.
Local supporters believed that cannabis legalization would bring an end to the county’s boom and bust economic history. They felt it would stimulate the economy of the area which is one of the poorest in California (with a poverty rate of 18%). They thought it would put an end to the unsavory characters who abused the land and posed a threat to other residents.
However, the fact that legal weed is failing in Trinity County has brought its share of new safety threats and economic damage.
The Current State of Trinity County
Legal weed is failing in Trinity County causing many growers to grow illegally. County records estimate the area to have around 3,000 illegal cultivation sites. One popular growing spot, Post Mountain is now nearly stripped bare of its once-pristine forest because of the environmental impact.
The many wildfires that have been occurring on the land due to climate change are not helping.
Illegal operations are also diverting water from South Fork Trinity River disrupting the breeding habitats of local sea life. The farms have discharged sediment into streams polluting them with dirt, pesticides, and toxins.
There are also threats to human safety. A lone deputy on patrol was confronted by a truck full of men carrying assault rifles to defend their crops. The deputy was forced to retreat.
One local man made a wrong turn when leaving his home and was forced to turn around when an illegal cultivator cussed and yelled when he saw them coming near. The farm was cited, but the owner disregarded the citation and continued to grow.
Many moved to the area and invested thousands of dollars in their farms only to have to shut them down due to legal weed is failing in Trinity County. As a result, the economy in the area is going downhill. Many other businesses in the county were forced to close their doors as well.
Experts state that the problems surrounding legal weed is failing in Trinity County occurred because officials rushed the legislation through. They focused on the potential review without thinking of the technical details.
“Their eagerness to accommodate as many licenses as possible and get the taxes shot them in the foot because they rushed it,” said Dominic Corva, a sociology professor and director of the Cannabis Studies Program at Caly Poly Humboldt.
Is There Hope?
While legal weed is failing in Trinity County, some see signs of hope and believe the community can rebound. One positive step is the reopening of The Northern Delights coffeehouse. New owner Shawn Hill has expressed hope that the town will pull through.
It’s all about bringing a new attitude. It’s almost like a game of poker. If you want to be at the final table, you gotta be able to handle the swings,” he said.