To the Editor:
My family is lucky. We operate an independent, multi-generational family ranch. My father-in-law manages the grapes and olives, and my husband and I manage the cannabis business and the grazing contracts. We own enough contiguous parcels to run a one acre sun grown fully legal cannabis operation.
With an eye towards the future, we have added two college graduates with degrees in horticulture to our team this year. One of the main selling points was the opportunity to learn from us how to grow cannabis regeneratively and at scale. And yet, I worry every day that I won’t be able to grow their careers as promised, as the future of our family business is now threatened by the anti-legal cannabis referendums.
Our business has been able to grow slowly and steadily, while complying with all of the county and state regulations governing cannabis cultivation. Our plan was to expand to five acres of responsibly grown legal cannabis over the next six years. Our site, water availability, setbacks, and previous environmental reviews all point to us being in an ideal location for scaling up in ways that are truly environmentally sound. If we can’t do this, production at scale in other parts of the state and downward pressure on prices will shut us out of the industry entirely. We need reasonable expansion to exist. Otherwise, responsible farmers such as ourselves are truly going to be left behind.
Please, don’t be the signature that kills our family business. Do not sign either referendum.
–Ingrid Wentzel, Ukiah