In his column today Union Columnist George Boardman is promoting legal marijuana as the economic future of Nevada County. Link to column his is HERE. His premiss is based on recreational marijuana becoming legal in California in 2016. Once it is legal, Boardman thinks that mom and pop legal growers will pop up all over the county, taking advantage our excellent growing conditions and reputation for producing some of the finest marijuana in the state, thus boosting the local economy.
Here is where I think that Boardman is wrong. If the state legislature passes legalization legislation it will come with a whole host of controls and restrictions that will have to be met by these local growers. These regulations and restrictions will be difficult for the mom and pop growers to meet. This will not be by accident, the major agricultural growers working with state legislators will make sure there is no room in the market for small growers. That is how big business works in a crony capitalism world.
In addition, to manage and monitor the growing operations, insuring that every ounce of taxes are paid, the state will prefer large grows that can be monitored much easier than hundreds of small time growers scattered across the state. This will reenforce the need to restrict small growers, while promoting large agricultural operations through the regulatory process. We do not have room for large industrial grows in Nevada County, while valley counties do.
Legalization of marijuana will have a negative impact on the local economy, not the positive one that George Boardman envisions. He is not looking at the larger picture.
Your thoughts on the legalization of marijuana and it’s impact on the local economy.
Update: George Rebane has some thoughts HERE.