In response to the continued scrutiny of our region’s industrial cannabis economy and its environmental/socioeconomic implications: What does the Gold Rush, the Industrial Logging Boom, and the Industrial Cannabis Boom share in common?
o All three are mono-economies that have dominated or, in the case of cannabis, currently dominate our bioregion.
o All three arose and were created through disproportionate values being placed on a single commodity.
o All three are vulnerable to distant, uncontrollable market forces.
o All three placed (place) all those participating in direct competition with each other.
o All three depended (depend) on a single commodity being exported out of our communities; separating the “producers” from the “consumers.”
o All three attracted (attract) passing, unrooted speculators and profit seekers.
o All three experienced (are experiencing) rapid, uncontrolled expansion.
o All three, being mono-economies, are inherently vulnerable to centralization.
o All three created a “mono-cultural mindset,” in which the dependent population can no longer envision a future without reliance on that particular single commodity.
o All three left (are leaving) a legacy of environmental damage to future generations.
o All three did not (will not) last indefinitely.
These similarities are being highlighted to emphasize the dangers of our continued reliance on a mono-economy to support our rural communities.
As a co-author of the Northern California Farmer’s Guide “Best Management Practices,” I support the continued education of our region’s cannabis farmers, as well as supporting the proactive and community informed regulation of cannabis production to protect small-scale family farms and the environment in the event of a statewide legalization.
However, I do not believe that hard-wiring our region to be dependent on an export commodity (no matter what it is) is a wise adaptive strategy amidst an era of declining global resources and climate change. Our current reliance on a mono-economy has been a distraction from our communities creating goods and services that can be circulated locally.
The cannabis economy can be best utilized as a transitional tool to help build and support essential community infrastructure, restore the land, and to facilitate our communities in creating diverse and lasting bioregional economies.