Saturday, May 14, 2011

Marijuana-Based 'Emerald City' in the Works

The Time-Standard newspaper in Eureka, Calif. is reporting that a group of residents from southern Humboldt County are hoping to form a new community based around revenues from the local marijuana industry.

Right now the so-called Emerald City - yes, just like in Wizard of Oz - is still in the preliminary planning stages with the Humboldt Emerald City Organizing Group working to fulfill the initial requirements for the formation of a new city. If they are able to make it through the process, Emerald City will encompass parts of the communities Garberville, Redway and Benbow, including the Garberville Airport.

The organization is working with LAFCO, or the Local Agency Formation Commission, the government agency that regulates the formation of new cities, and will be required to have detailed plans on how the city will run financially and how they will provide basic services, such as public safety, to their residents.

”They need to show where the money is going to come from because as a city, they would be responsible for a range of services and those services will need to be clearly defined,” said LAFCO Executive Officer George Williamson. 

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Right now the group is trying to raise $7,500 for a Financial Feasibility Study, the first step in the process of incorporation. Several additional studies, including an environmental impact report, will have to be completed and signatures will have to be collected from 25 percent of registered voters in the area before the city can become official. 
Many residents in southern Humboldt County have been campaigning for years to break off and form their own county. Many argue that southern Humboldt has a completely different economy than the more urbanized areas to the north and that local residents should have direct control over their services. 

Many of the larger cities also have ordinances against medical marijuana industries which play a huge part in the economy and lifestyle of the southern part of the county. 
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