Eureka Rotary holds forum on marijuana legalization

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EUREKA- It was a “rare sight” Monday at the Elks Lodge in Eureka. Law enforcement, environmental protection agencies and marijuana growers joined together to talk legalization.

The event was hosted by the Eureka Rotary Club, and brought together local leaders, growers and community members to discuss the main issues surrounding marijuana cultivation in Humboldt County. Humboldt county sheriff Mike Downey, District Attorney-Elect Maggie Fleming, Natalynne DeLapp Executive Director at the Environmental Protection Information Center, as well as a local cannabis grower and a dispenser were on the forum’s panel and accepted questions from rotary members. Among the main topics discussed were how to regulate the substance if legalized in 2016, how to protect the environment from destruction, and how to use the industry to revamp local economy.

On the topic of regulation, several questions were raised including: how the substance would be kept from children, how would the county keep profits within the community, rather than leaving the community, and whether incentivizing legal growing would have positive results.

During the discussion, panel members discussed the possibility of marijuana tourism to Humboldt County. One grower, referred to as Luke, suggested Humboldt County could become the “Mecca” of marijuana consumption and tourism, bringing in billions to the local economy.

“I look forward to more conversations and I think everybody knows that there's a real problem and we need to come up with solutions and the only way we're going to do that is by bringing everybody together,” DeLapp said. “By bringing law enforcement together, the community, people that are old and young and from varying walks of life and different value systems, conservatives republicans democrats, liberal, conservationist, environmentalist, we all need to come together.”