By Donna Westfall – June 30, 2017 –
The discussion this morning was hot and heavy into the Cannabis issue since 5th District Supervisor, Bob Berkowitz, and 1st District Supervisor, Roger Gitlin, attended a California State Association of Counties (CSAC) meeting yesterday in Eureka from 9am to 2pm. While they were sharing their take on yesterday’s meeting with grower, Jesse Davis and other attendees at the table, in walks our very own Senator Mike McGuire.
Bob and Roger were relating that all the Cannabis experts were at yesterday’s meeting EXCEPT the Federal government which was the elephant in the room that everyone was trying to get around. Gitlin expressed, “The massive over reach of government in this industry.” The conclusion was that the people running this thing were inept. Questions about how much money would be brought in on permits? How much money would be spent on all the mounting government agencies involved in it’s regulation.
Jesse Davis said that this is already a multi million dollar industry in Del Norte County, but the critical thing they are overlooking is the one thing that would put Del Norte County on the map. That is focusing on CDB medicine.
While comments were fast and furious around the table, McGuire took extensive notes and when it came time for him to speak, he rattled off point after point after point. What impresses me about this guy is that he assimilates information and seems to process, collate and respond so quickly…. almost like a computer.
While I was snapping pictures, McGuire was talking about the importance of raising cannabis organically since that’s the choice and trend of so many Californians. But he didn’t talk only about Cannabis, he addressed the gas tax and the necessity of the gas tax since our roads are in awful shape. More and more people are going to hybrid cars and gas consumption is going down, so the income from the gas tax is going down. Del Norters would be wise to remember that we are only 3% of the population that Sen. McGuire serves. Another thing he brought up is that there has not been a new gas tax increase in 30 years. Berkowitz countered that with the $15 million that was robbed from the gas tax fund and never repaid. Sen. McGuire lobbed back that there’s a proposition coming on the November ballot that would plug that loophole, called the LOCKBOX. Excuse me, but I have a problem with that kind of thinking. First have Sacramento pay back the $15 million they robbed from Peter to pay Paul.
Berkowitz brought up that most of us drive into Oregon and gas up saving from 50 cents to a dollar per gallon and recommends a tax free zone be established in our County to keep more business here.
All in all, not just a good, but an exceptional meeting. Remember the public is invited Monday through Friday. All you have to do is make it there at 6 am.