At its January 7th, 2015 business meeting San Juan Island Grange #966 resolved to oppose the Proposed Moratorium on Marijuana Production. Even though the San Juan County Council has withdrawn the proposal, San Juan Island Grange #966 would like to make clear its position towards the regulation of marijuana production in San Juan County.
The Grange Movement in the United States is rich with the traditions and struggles of farm families and rural farm communities. The local, state, and national Granges have always, and continue to, advocate politically on issues important to rural families, including the right to farm, good government, land use policy, rural access to new technologies and vital services, job development, and strong rural economies. Part of the mission of San Juan Island Grange #966 is “to support a resilient community of growers, makers, and keepers” and “to foster social and political engagement.”
In 2012 the voters of San Juan County overwhelmingly endorsed the passage of I-502 Legalization of Marijuana by the largest majority in Washington State. A small number of local farmers, entrepreneurs, and county residents have endeavored in good faith to comply with all existing local and state rules, laws, and regulations pertaining to developing their farms and farm products. The proposed San Juan County moratorium on marijuana production would have placed new and unnecessary restrictions on growers without substantiating an imminent emergency. The Agricultural Resources Committee (ARC) and the San Juan County Community Development and Planning Department (SJC CD&P) are already committed to a working group to study marijuana farming and other agricultural issues in 2015.
San Juan Island Grange #966 resolved at its January 7th, 2015 business meeting to oppose the Proposed Moratorium on Marijuana Production, because:
- It is a core purpose of the county government to maintain such commons as air, water, topsoil, healthy ecosystems, fair economic systems, and just political systems;
- The County should make preservation of farm land and support for local agriculture an economic and land use priority; and
- Decisions concerning agriculture and protection of farm land should come from research and recommendations conducted and written by individuals and organizations made up of farmers, the ARC, SJC CD&P, and others qualified to study and analyze existing farm conditions and new farming strategies.
San Juan Island Grange #966 felt that regulations that come from a joint ARC/CP&D working group must recognize the following points:
- The best agricultural soils in our county must be reserved in perpetuity for growing food and feed;
- Greenhouses are an appropriate way to increase resilience by increasing the growing season for many food and feed crops;
- Food production is so fundamental to the resilience of a community that it must at times take precedence over concerns over noise and light pollution; and
- Marijuana is now a legal agricultural crop and should be recognized by the County and treated the same as the cultivation of food, feed, wine grapes, hops, spirits, food grade and medicinal herbs, and all other recognized agricultural crops with regard to policies, regulations, and all other governmental actions.
San Juan Island Grange #966 Executive Committee
Boyd C. Pratt, 2015 Master
Roger Ellison, 2015 Overseer