◼ Pot initiative enters circulation This one at least is news.
Months ago, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said it's “time for a debate” on the legalization of marijuana in California. Now, some want to skip the debate and get to the legalization.
Wednesday, the first of three initiatives seeking to effectively legalize marijuana possession, cultivation and sales entered circulation. While there seems to be a rising tide of support for such a state policy change, it remains wholly unclear if any of the three initiatives would garner support from a majority of the state's voters. And, if one does, the potential impacts on Humboldt County are murky.
”Complete legalization would not be good for the Humboldt County economy,” said local attorney and longtime medical marijuana advocate Greg Allen. “But, there's no question that for the state's economy, legalization would be a good thing.”
After years in the background as the state was awash in controversy over medical marijuana laws, the debate over out-and-out legalization in California was thrust forward amid the state's epic budget crisis earlier this year. With the state then facing a projected $42 billion deficit, state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, introduced a bill in February seeking to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana. It was the prospect of new tax revenue -- to the tune of an estimated $1.3 billion, according to the state Board of Equalization -- that seemed to give the idea a foothold.
◼ Search warrants served on suspect grow houses in Arcata
The Humboldt County Drug Task Force and the Arcata Police Department served three warrants on suspected grow houses in Arcata on Wednesday -- including one home within 150 feet of Pacific Union School -- and the task force was zeroing in on two others in Fortuna.
The five residences are separately owned by two individuals, according to task force Agent Jack Nelsen. No arrests were made.
Nelsen said the task force reported finding a total of nearly 300 plants growing in a home on the 3000 block of Janes Road and another on the 3700 block of Coombs Drive near Diamond Drive in Arcata. Those two houses are reportedly owned by Steven Robert Mialocq, who is currently out of the state, according to Nelsen.
He faces charges of cultivation of marijuana for sale, possession of marijuana for sale and maintaining a drug house, along with a possible enhancement because the Janes Road house is located near a school, according to the APD.
The APD said each house had living space converted into marijuana grow rooms and unpermitted electrical modifications.
On the other end of town, the APD was called in for a civil standby by PG&E, which suspected a residence on the 200 block of G Street was stealing power, Nelsen said. The responding PG&E representative found the meter had allegedly been bypassed.
No one responded at the small, one-story home with a peeling facade, but officials reported the sound of fans and the odor of marijuana and the task force was called.
After obtaining a search warrant, task force members loudly announced their presence and that they had a search warrant several times before knocking down the front door around 3 p.m. Inside, a curl bar and a couch were visible from the street.
”It doesn't appear that anyone lives in the house,” Nelsen said after agents made entry. “It's purely for growing and packaging and a crash pad, but no one is living here.