Amid November’s national display of democracy California passed Prop. 64, joining the brotherhood of states legalizing recreational marijuana use. Humboldt Nation, on the North Coast, is the crossroads of both Cali weed and steelhead culture. It’s no secret that illegal weed grows have dewatered and poisoned key steelhead and salmon spawning tributaries. But soon skunked spey-rodders may be able to roll a blunt legally, knowing that it’s actually benefitting the fish.
TU, CalTrout, and the Nature Conservancy collaborated with Prop. 64 authors to incorporate rules designed to rehabilitate and protect fish and wildlife populations affected by illegal marijuana operations.
Funding, in the form of 20 percent of the new taxes on the sale and cultivation of weed in CA, will be allocated to an Environmental Restoration and Protection Account. Those funds will be directed toward restoration of habitat damaged by grow operations, preventing future damage from marijuana cultivation and—believe it or not—enforcing environmental laws. Licensed growers will be bound to follow rules restricting pesticides, land use, and abide by the Clean Water Act.
Brian Johnson, California TU director said, “Legal or otherwise, marijuana cultivation has been devastating many of our best salmon and steelhead waters, especially on the North Coast. We cannot simply turn a blind eye to its impacts if we want to save these fish. So we have tried to make sure that as California moves to deal with this issue, there will be policy and funding for habitat restoration and enforcement of water quality and water-rights laws.”