Grand Jury Criticizes City Of Shasta Lake Cannabis Industry

Another critical grand jury report has been released, this one addressing the City of Shasta Lake’s embracing of the legal cannabis industry. While most other Northern California governments took positions of resistance to the wave of decriminalization and tried to maintain the prohibition to which they had grown accustomed, the City of Shasta Lake saw an opportunity to cash in on the potential tax windfall. After putting the question to voters in the form of their “Measure A”, the city hit the ground running at the start of the year in order to allow businesses to establish themselves as soon as it became legal to do so, but the grand jury says that in its rush to be first, the city did not effectively plan for the impact on infrastructure. The city already had the county’s only remaining medical marijuana dispensaries, and they made a fairly seamless transition to retail recreational sales. The grand jury points out the inherent problems in the conflict between state law and federal law, which still considers cannabis to be a prohibited substance. Since federal law oversees banking, the cannabis industry is forced to be a cash-only operation, which has obvious potential security issues. Despite crime problems experienced in Colorado and Washington, the reality is that the city’s cannabis businesses have brought no crime issues at all. No violations of the law have been identified by the sheriff’s office, which provides the city’s law enforcement needs under contract. While the cash-only system may eventually pose problems concerning security and the temptation for graft and corruption by city employees, it apparently hasn’t yet. The grand jury says ethics training and cash management standards for city staff is needed. The primary remaining issue the grand jury found was in allowing cannabis-related businesses in the Shasta Gateway Industrial Park. When the park became zoned for the new industry, every available lot was quickly snapped up. The biggest problem is access, specifically egress in the event of a disaster. There is currently only one secondary emergency road and it’s unpaved and sometimes gated. The grand jury says this needs to be addressed before any more development is allowed there. The panel also points out the huge electrical needs and thirst for water that cannabis operations will demand, as well as the sewer system’s processing of pesticides, fungicides and other chemicals. A long list of required responses is demanded by the grand jury in its report, which can be read in its entirety through a link on the KQMS Facebook page.


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