I read with disbelief Nick Welsh’s report titled “Herbal Angels Gets Wings Clipped.” Most shocking was not that the applicants apparently had falsified their affidavit — greed has always been a powerful motivator to cheat, so no real surprise there. Nor was it that the county’s right hand didn’t know what the left hand had been doing, so the Planning Commission had green-lighted a project that was concurrently being investigated for criminal activity by local law enforcement — there have sadly been enough prior examples of our local government agencies’ bungling ways. What left me slack jawed was learning that the applicants’ felonious activity won’t necessarily invalidate their permit. The county’s process is disturbingly flawed and encourages criminal fraud.

Quoting Welsh: “The county supervisors voted in 2017 they would not verify the accuracy of affidavits submitted by cannabis growers seeking to be grandfathered into the process; to do so, the supervisors opined, would have required a massive investment in staff time that exceeded the county’s capacity.”

Pardon me, but could this not easily be solved by charging applicants for the staff time required to verify the veracity of their affidavit? Isn’t this what permit fees are for? Why is a county generally notorious for its indifference to the painfully drawn out permitting process for local businesses so eager to speed up cannabis applications? Had the supervisors been smoking too much pot when they cast this vote?

This goes beyond incompetence and stinks of corruption. It looks like we all need to wake up, smell the skunkweed, and hold them accountable. Perhaps instead of more cannabis under hoops we should be growing coffee, because I badly need a second cup of espresso.


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