Lawsuit: Measure A Proponents Deceived Public on Humboldt Cannabis Initiative
The Humboldt Cannabis Reform Initiative Claimed to “Support Small Farmers” While Gutting the County’s Cannabis Ordinances
Eureka, CA–on Wednesday, October 11th, seven small cannabis farmers, along with the Humboldt County Growers Alliance, filed suit in Humboldt County court on the grounds that signature-gathering efforts for the Humboldt Cannabis Reform Initiative – currently slated to appear on the March 5, 2024 ballot – were based on a lie.
“If the signature-gathering efforts for Measure A were truthful, this initiative never would have made it to the ballot,” said Natalynne DeLapp, HCGA’s executive director. “Claiming to protect small cannabis farmers and public participation, while in fact targeting small cannabis farmers with a panoply of new restrictions and locking broken policy in place permanently, is exactly the subversion of the democratic process that elections laws are designed to prevent.”
Throughout 2022, signature gatherers approached Humboldt voters at farmer’s markets, grocery stores, and fairs, asking voters to sign an initiative petition they said would “ensure greater public participation” and “support small-scale, high-quality cannabis cultivation.”
The lawsuit documents how Measure A’s backers included materially false and misleading information that deceived voters into believing the initiative was about restricting large-scale cultivation and failed to include the full text of the initiative as required by law.
“The reality is that Measure A would be a disaster for public safety and the environment, fatally undermining the regulatory framework that was designed to end the harms of prohibition and the social and environmental impacts of the Green Rush,” DeLapp continued. “When the proponents decided to write policy behind closed doors and ignore the input of law enforcement, environmental groups, farmers, and regulators, the result would always be chaos, not a functional program that protects county residents.”
“Measure A would effectively repeal and replace 143 pages of county cannabis ordinances developed over eight years of public deliberation, and yet none of this was disclosed to voters who were told they were simply ‘protecting small farmers,’” said Ross Gordon, HCGA’s Policy Director. “The Planning Department’s recent analysis of Measure A has made it clear how dangerous this policy would be, but we never would have been in this position in the first place if the proponents had simply disclosed the truth about what this initiative does.”