Ban Commercial Cultivation

in Calaveras County

3rd World Farms

I have been a resident for 3 years and recently being unemployed I heard of all the jobs that were going to be created.  Searching for a job the past two months, I landed one with a cannabis farm in Calaveras County.  The rate of pay was listed as 40-60K annually and after finally getting an interview I was offered 24K a year with a bonus at harvest time. This farm owner also stated that he was robbed by an employee who brought his RV to the farm to stay over for night security. Well the employee loaded up the drying cannabis and skedaddled.  So I basically ignored my sense of this is not a professional operation, giving in to a job with a possibility of moving up to a lead farmer in the new agricultural industry.  I worked one day; this was like going into a third world country.  Storage containers, no power, generators running all day, gas cans lying all around, exposed electrical, spraying chemicals that they could not give me a name to or MSDS and the smell of rotting garbage with trash everywhere.  The sprayer they were using was a makeshift container strapped to a dolly with a car battery attached to a pump. It was leaking all over.  The owner also stated the county was there and cited them for many things several times.  How can these farmers get a second chance at keeping the citizens of the county safe when this kind of negligence, laziness and disrespect for the environment exists on this scale?  This is exactly what we didn't want in our county.  The owner was really shady and had no drinking water or restrooms for employees.  I also received no pay for the 8 hours I worked.  My question is where are all the jobs???  This ordinance is a joke...... the farmers are tearing up our land, I witnessed it first hand at the cannabis grow.  The rush may bring more harm than tax revenue and a ban until we can get a hold on the industry, looking into warehouses or indoor facilities to produce clean medicine, air filters for smell and an actual regulated square footage.  The water can be metered and taxed from an indoor perspective and it will be more secure to thieves and the bad element.

 Calaveras Resident 

Living Next Door to Nightmares

We have lived here for 15 years on property of less than an acre in Calaveras County.  New neighbors moved in 7 years ago behind us and began growing marijuana, chaining their pit bulls around it.  During September and October there are tents with people sleeping in them.  They all carry guns and we frequently hear gunshots.  We cannot use the back yard of our property or open the back windows because of the smell from August to October.  Cars speed down the street, thumping music at all hours of the night, stay for 15 minutes, then thump away again.  The neighbors in front of us decided to grow as well.  Now we can open no windows because the odor is so strong.  At night there are frequently strange people lurking around two marijuana gardens.  Cars and houses have been broken into since the pot grows began. All outdoor enjoyment of our property is gone.  We feel trapped inside our own home.

Calaveras County Homeowner

Tragic Vandalism

May 23, 2017

Mr. Garamendi, you are my supervisor.  I want to make you aware of the atrocious vandalism which has occurred in the past few weeks to Natural Bridges public park, off Parrots Ferry Rd.  Recently, vandals spray- painted a huge, black marijuana leaf on the pristine rock on the opposite side of the stream, with some gangbanger- style writing next to it.  It can be seen from higher on the trail and was not there when I hiked down the day before Easter.  It was there on May 5th.  Last week I took a friend from out of town down the trail, and now there is graffiti sprayed in black paint on the stone slab that borders the trail.

This is a great example of the negative impact of supporting an “industry” which has been drawing in the type of folk who would vandalize a beautiful, local natural resource.  There is no way to prove the connection  to growing and selling marijuana, of course.  However, our family moved to this county to get away from these anti-social, drug –driven groups of folk in the Bay area.  And now, here they are.


Our Home in the Mountains WAS Our Sanctuary.....
August 4, 2016

Our home in the mountains was our sanctuary when we moved here just two short years ago. The fire made it onto our property, but we were lucky and our home was spared. Obviously, things have changed dramatically since then. Many of our friends and neighbors have opted to move out of the area, feeling like they've been twice brutalized - once by the fire, and twice by the influx of commercial growers into their neighborhood. We will stay - primarily because we love our town and are willing to fight for it, but partly because we would have a very tough time selling our home. You see, our home is zoned R-1. Growers have no use for R-1 property as they can't get a permit on R-1, and people wanting to move to the mountains to get away from it all, typically are looking for a place where you can - well - get away from it all. Not a place surrounded by commercial growers - many of whom have absolutely no regard for our way of life, but rather insist that we accommodate theirs. I personally have no problem with personal marijuana growth. Our county has for a long time been a kind of live and let live sort of place. But commercial cultivation belongs in a commercial setting. Lots of people who like beer would be very upset if a brewery opened next door to them. One element I see missing from arguments against commercial cultivation, is what this influx of commercial activity is doing to people's property values. Higher priced home sales are grinding to a halt - let's face it, how many people are going to plunk down half a million or more on a house surrounded by commercial enterprises of any sort, let alone, one that smells, attracts crime, creates noise, additional traffic, etc. Median priced homes are slow to move too. And if you live in a homeowner's association, well it could take years to sell your house. Are the taxes the growers want us to approve going to compensate the residents for their lost equity? I say - vote NO on measure D, and NO on measure C. Vote yes on banning commercial cultivation.

Calaveras County Resident

Letter to the Department of ........................

September 27th 2016
I would like to make the following comment on the Medical Cannabis Cultivation Program, to be filed in the record for: Both PEIR & Regulations

Cannabis requires massive amounts of water. A single plant needs up to 8 to 15 gallons of water every day depending on environment and temperatures, with a continuing western drought, considering legalization of such a crop that does not create food is insane.
Cannabis is not compatible within any residential zoning including residential/agriculture zoning areas. The decreased property values of adjacent and nearby properties due to the smell of dead skunks, the negative criminal elements of the drug and traffic, is an unavoidable impact. These growers have been illegally growing and selling, even though it has been illegal to do so. These growers will not follow the laws, regulations and ordinances to regulate them legally. Even with potential legalization, the lure of additional profit through circumventing the payment of taxes and cost of the legally regulated production will continue the criminal elements of the growers with the black market continuing to thrive.

Marijuana growers are often heavily armed and operate with little or no regard for the environmental impacts of their operations.

Marijuana grow sites harm surrounding habitats in other ways, too. Cultivators use fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and rat poison, which wash into waterways and leach into groundwater contaminating the water supply. The use of excessive pesticide, herbicide and rodenticide, poisons used to keep rodents away from plants have lethal effects on fish and wildlife. They also produce large amounts of trash and non-biodegradable waste. The air pollution created is extremely noticeable without the use of air testing equipment.

Cultivation of marijuana presents a clear danger to the public health, safety and the environment; regulation will not fully mitigate this reality.

We have owned our 5 acre horse ranch for many years. We, as well as the several surrounding horse ranches, now cannot use or enjoy our outdoor areas of our properties; due to Calaveras “cannabis” County allowing a one acre grow site at an adjacent property, as well as more than 700 other sites in the county. We no longer feel safe on our own property. Under California law we must disclose this, if we were trying to sell our property. According to property appraisers, we now have lost more than 30% property value. How will that be mitigated? We know firsthand of the numerous negative effects involved with cannabis cultivation. We want our neighborhoods back!

We also have to bear the cost of our own water well testing and don’t know what we will do when the test come back with contamination, as it is our only water source.

Calaveras County long-time Homeowner and Resident

Cultivation Debate on YouTube
July 13, 2016

For the Gentleman who plugged this website during the debate. Let me introduce myself, my name is ------ and I have now been in Law Enforcement for 29 years down in the valley. Four years ago, I visited a community in Calaveras County and knew this is where I wanted to retire. Being in law enforcement for that amount of time and dealing with criminal aspect, I appreciate the friendly and quiet community that it has to offer. I purchased a home on 13 acres and pretty much spend my weekends and vacation there. After watching the debate on YouTube, the purpose of this letter is that I see one argument that isn't being made. When the one grower spoke out asking everyone if they didn't want the $3,000,000.00 in tax dollars that they were providing. It is the crime that will be brought into Calaveras County that I'm concerned with. Being in law enforcement, I see the potential of gang members and meth users coming into the County to steal and rob during harvest season and while looking for grows, home invasions and burglaries of innocent citizens. The incident at Rail Road Flats that happened last Fall is a prime example. The county will have to flip the bill for the investigations, incarcerations and prosecutions of the individuals and that has the potential of costing the tax payers millions more than whatever revenue from the growers produce. My home survived the Butte Fire, from my property, I can see six commercial grows with a seventh on its way. I am really contemplating on selling my property. I love my home and area, but the board of supervisors may be forcing my hand and I would hate to abandon my neighbors next door, nicest retired couple, since we are surrounded with growers and probably the only option I would have now is to sell to another grower. That is probably the only reason at this point there isn't a "For Sale" sign out in front. I'm going to ride the storm and see what happens. I got 3 years left before retirement. Wishing you the best in your cause.

Calaveras County Homeowner