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Part One: Inside Marijuana
Measure I, Arcata's high energy use tax is in effect and the city is expected to see the tax coming into the city in December. The tax is designed to keep people from using excessive amounts of electricity, especially those using high amounts to grow marijuana indoors. '
Det. Sgt. Todd Dokweiler of the Arcata Police Department said even the smaller illegal grows that police serve warrants to use high electricity.
"The grows that we see with 15 or 20 lights going in a small home are ten or twelve times the baseline amount," said Dokweiler.
The tax charges a 45 percent tax on those using 600 percent over the baseline amount.
"A hot tub and a deep freeze in the back of the garage is not going to put out anywhere close to the size of consumption that it takes to get over the baseline," said Dokwelier.
Arcata City Council's Mark Wheetley said the city passed the tax for two reasons: to reduce the city's carbon footprint and curb the amount of illegal indoor marijuana grows within the city.
"We as a city, we pride ourselves on being really environmentally conscious," said Wheetley.
Other communities worry that growers may be forced to move into neighboring communities.
Michael Winker, an Arcata City Council member, said it is unknown if growers will leave.
"We see these indoor marijuana grows as a major minus and we want them to move out of our community, but not necessarily into others" said Wheetley.
Dokweiler said the tax will most likely force growers out and is unsure if they will absorb fee or leave.
"It's going to cut into the profit margin for sure," said Dokweiler.