Can’t stand the smell of bad gas taxes? Join the petition to repeal it!

Head over to this website if you want to take steps to help repeal the highest gas tax increase in California history.

No CA Gas Tax

In case you aren’t hip to the B.S. that is the recent gas tax increase, here’s an informative primer on just what the tax is, what it will (or will not!) accomplish, and how much it’s going to cost you.

The true cost of CA gas tax – the State’s numbers just don’t add up

An excerpt:

Does the recently passed gas tax devoting $57 billion to our roads seem to good to be true? Well, that’s because it is.

While poring over a whole heck of a lot of information on SB we came across an article in the Los Angeles Times which notes that only $34 billion of the first $52 billion raised by the tax will go towards roads. Here’s some more on that:

“About $34 billion of the first $52 billion raised will go to repairing roads, bridges, highways and culverts, with most of the money split 50-50 between state and local projects.

An additional $7 billion over the first decade will go to mass transit projects. Other money will fund improvements to trade corridors, including the roads serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and will go toward reducing congestion on the most clogged commuter routes.”

Gee, seems like all that money going to Southern California roads and to mass transit systems which those of us in the northern reaches of the state will almost certainly not benefit from is part of a common refrain – we’re getting gouged for taxes that don’t benefit us in the ways that we’re being sold on, and in many cases won’t benefit us at all.”

 

As for the petition itself, it is all over the news.

Gas-tax repeal? California lawmaker launches a ballot initiative

Initiative filed to repeal California gas tax increase

At this point, the repeal petition is still in its infancy, but you can either make a donation to support the process or sign up to keep updated on the latest developments.

We’ll be sure to keep you informed on the latest with the petition – until then, we’ll say that we just love the smell of tax repeal in the air!

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Think your rent is bad? Odds are good it’s going to get worse

Seems like rents are astronomical in Humboldt County, even though we’re not in the same stratosphere as urban centers like San Francisco, L.A., and San Diego.

A common complaint in Humboldt County is that those darn pot growers are taking  up all the available housing for use in cultivation. Although that may be true to a certain extent, we think the effect of that has been over-exaggerated, especially in recent years.

You see, what’s to explain all the crazy rents being charged throughout the rest of California? Those darn pot growers?

Think again.

As we’ve talked about before, we think California’s housing shortages can be attributed mostly to one thing – there just aren’t enough units to go around.

The Sacramento Bee published an article a few days ago that looked at the critical need to build more housing in California that touches on the current state of continually rising rents and the prospects of our leaders pulling their heads out of their asses and doing something about it. (Forecast: bleak.) Read the article here:

Think rent is high in California? Here’s why it probably will get higher

Want to know something funny? The Bee compared California’s out-dated approach to “encouraging housing” to our very own swine-in-chief:

““President Trump wants to keep people out by building a wall. California is more sophisticated – it uses zoning and development laws to keep people out, but they have the same effect.””

Something surely must be done to provide more housing. Cue our state representatives and leaders riding to the rescue of California’s beleaguered citizens, right?

Well…the Legislature reached a budget deal last week that included no new money for affordable housing.

But then Jerry Brown swooped in and is now seeking a cool $400 million to dedicate towards the creation of affordable housing.

Gee, Jerry – what a great idea! Let’s throw another $400 million of tax payer monies at the housing shortage problem just like we have for the past four decades. Look at how well that’s worked for us so far.

However, Brown did propose relaxing regulations and streamlining approvals to get the ball rolling:

“The Democratic governor wants to streamline housing development by limiting environmental project reviews, lowering permit requirements that can drive up per-unit costs, providing financial incentives to cities and counties that build new housing and strengthening laws that require low-income set-asides in new construction.”

It was a great idea, until environmental groups and unions did us all a favor by shutting those ideas down.

An actually exciting prospect on the horizon is that a few state senators are proposing bills that – you guessed it – would introduce some new taxes to help fight the problem. At least, it’s exciting when you’re only considering the need for more housing.

Of course, it would be more exciting if there was any remote chance of increased funding for housing coming to pass any time soon. Want to know what one of the biggest reasons why our lawmakers won’t act on easing restrictions? Because they’re reluctant to introduce a new tax after they just bamboozled Californians with the gas tax this year. (Which reminds us – tune in tomorrow for an important update about what you can do to get rid of that awful, awful gas tax we’ve been saddled with.)

Of course, there’s a simple answer to the problem that doesn’t occur to the majority of our money-hungry politicians: we can encourage housing by relaxing regulations on all types of housing construction. Boom. Fixed that problem for you, California.

Assembly Bill 73, introduced by Senator Weiner, proposes to do precisely some of those things. We’ll keep you updated on that bill’s progress, but don’t hold your breath.

The Sacramento Bee article goes on to discuss how rents are forcing people out of their homes and often onto the streets. In Humboldt, of course, we don’t need any reminders. We get those every day when we see our streets, greenbelts, and trails overcome with homeless who – among other things – have fallen victim to our State’s inability to care for its residents.

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Humboldt Bay Firefighters’ Union can’t stop complaining, Pt. 2

Yesterday, we detailed how the firefighters’ union decided to tell a little fib to put the . (Let’s note here that, in our opinion, using the suspension of a life-saving program to try and grab more money for themselves seems a little exploitative, to say the least.)

But that wasn’t the only time that the Union, and Union President Matt McFarland, made headlines this past week.

The second time came when McFarland filed a grievance because HBF Chief Bill Gillespie over his desire to wear a politically divisive Black Lives Matter pin on his City-issued, tax-payer-funded uniform. Here’s a link to more on the story:

Local Firefighter Files Grievance After Being Told to Remove a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Lapel Pin From His Uniform

According to Gillespie on the matter, “McFarland’s job description requires him to work closely with police and other public safety agencies, to deliver “a high level of customer service to the public and staff” and to maintain effective working relationships, all of which, he argues, are undermined by a polarizing lapel pin. Regarding the First Amendment, Gillespie says numerous courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, “have held that a [public employee’s] uniform is not a venue for freedom of speech.””

We don’t care what side of the Black Lives Matter issue you fall on – we hope we can all agree that wearing any type of politically divisive flair on the uniform of a public safety employee who ostensibly serves everyone equally is not okay. Not to mention that it is expressly against HBF uniform policy.

If you put aside the seriousness of the clear animosity between HBF and the union, it sure is fun to watch these two go after each other again and again. (Read more on that at the links provided at the end of this post.)

And in what appears to be a win for logic, the Humboldt Bay Joint Fire Authority board upheld Gillespie’s position. More on that from LoCO:

Firefighter Cannot Wear ‘Black Lives Matter’ Lapel Pin: Humboldt Bay Fire Board Upholds Chief’s Order

Turns out that key testimony provided by witnesses called by McFarland’s Union-appointed legal representative which alleged “that many minorities see “an invisible pin” on law enforcement uniforms, one that implies they’re not entitled to the same justice afforded to whites”, was unable to sway those mean, mean folks on the board. (Of note is that Council Member Austin Allison, a yuge advocate for firefighters, serves on the board.)

Let this serve as notice: citing imaginary or “invisible” evidence usually isn’t a sound route to take.

Of course, Matt McFarland and the firefighters’ union haven’t contained their whining ways to just this past week. Here are a few THC flashbacks that help paint a picture of just what kind of organization we have looking out for us:

Humboldt Bay Firefighters ready to burn the taxpayer for first raise “in years”; THC calls B.S.

Humboldt Bay Firefighters fudging the numbers amidst their demands for higher salaries

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Humboldt Bay Firefighters’ Union can’t stop complaining, Pt. 1

Sure seems like the only time the Humboldt Bay Firefighters Union makes headlines these days is through complaining about established and logical Humboldt Bay Firefighters, or by just downright lying.

They even manage to do both in the same number of days early this week.

First, let’s look at the Union’s side of a story centering around the recent suspension of HBF’s rescue swimmer operations. In summary, if you’re stuck in the water in a dangerous situation, don’t call the fire department because they just don’t have the money to come and get you.

Here’s a press release from the Union on the matter:

Citing Lack of Funds, Humboldt Bay Fire Suspends Rescue Swimmer Program, Firefighters’ Union Says

In that press release, Union President Matt McFarland had this to say:  “Union members are committed to finding budget solutions that will allow a swim based program to be reinstated in the future.”

Of course, within a few hours, HBF Chief Bill Gillespie put out a contrary press release stating that the suspension of the swimmer program had absolutely zero to do with money, but a lot to do with a lack of firefighters willing to get trained to perform those rescues.

Here’s the HBF press release:

HUMBOLDT BAY FIRE: Contrary to What Our Firefighters’ Union Told You, The Rescue Swimmer Program Was Suspended Due to Lack of Swimmers, Not of Funds

We take Gillespie’s comments to mean that none of the members of the Union are willing to go through the training to provide the life-saving service. And, hey, we don’t find a whole heck of a lot of fault with that, other than it’s a shame to lose a tool that has, according to Gillespie’s press release, “…over the past 6-7 years the swimmer-based program has been responsible for a number of rescues of persons who ended up in the water due to one circumstance or another. Some of these persons would have drowned had it not been for the swift action of our swimmers.”

But the screwy part is the Union’s insistence that the program’s failure is due to funds, when it would appear that there’s plenty of opportunity for firefighters to fill that gap if they actually wanted to. Those of us in the real world would call that lying.

On the bright side, maybe those now-unused funds can be re-appropriated since they aren’t being taken advantage of and put to good use elsewhere in the City’s budget. (We’re thinking dealing with our grave housing issues, but that’s just us.)

In the meantime, HBF can leave water rescues up to the qualified – and willing! – folks over at the Coast Guard and the Sheriff’s office.

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CA Bill which protects dangerous felons “playing a dangerous game”. (Part 2: What’s at stake for CA)

A reader just emailed this over to us after going through our last post: an interesting look at just what is at stake for California should Trump come after us for defying his authority. Yikes!

Here’s the full article, by Jon Coupal of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers’ Association via the Orange County Register. (We know, we know…can it be any more conservative?)

Taxpayers need sanctuary from foolishness

From the full article:

“This is not a trivial issue, although one might think so after listening to the Sacramento leadership. Approximately 40 percent of California’s budget is allocated through the federal government. California receives $368 billion in federal funding, or about $9,500 for each Californian. The funding is most prominently used for welfare benefits and retirement pensions; however, the federal government spends money in various capacities in California — from infrastructure upkeep and maintenance, to assisting refugees.”

And examples of what could be cut off by the Feds:

“• California’s Department of Health Care Services received almost $54 billion from the federal government in order to provide health care services to millions of low-income and disabled Californians each and every day.

• California’s Department of Education receives almost $12 billion from the federal government, which include K-12 and higher education.

• California’s Department of Social Services, which is responsible for the oversight and administration of programs serving California’s most vulnerable residents, receives $7 billion from the federal government. Those programs include food stamps, child welfare and veteran services to state a few.”

As a required piece of THC ranting, did you catch where they mentioned welfare benefits and retirement pensions up there? Hmm…seems like California probably can’t afford to jeopardize funding for those programs since we are already facing an impending economic catastrophe as a result of our pension obligations. It would be bad for the State of California, and even worse for the people who rely on that assistance.

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CA Bill which protects dangerous felons “playing a dangerous game”

Below, find an interesting piece from Friday’s Times-Standard which focuses on State Senator Kevin de Leon’s SB 54, which would prohibit California law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration forces.

Making the State a sanctuary for the deserving

Now, we’ve said before – and will say it again – that we certainly don’t endorse prosecution or intimidation of vulnerable communities in our County or our State. With that said, it sure seems like CA SB 54 does a lot more to protect criminals from deportation than it does to protect all of California’s communities from those criminals. On top of that, the Bill potentially opens the state up to getting their funding cut off by ol’ Trumpster – something which we fear is a very real possibility given his history of bat-shit craziness.

The potential for cutting off federal funding is a big issue, and it’s reminiscent of the “Sanctuary County” status that Virginia Bass flirted with before backing off because she just couldn’t find the wherewithal to take a strong stand on anything. If Humboldt became a sanctuary county, we’d be open to the same repercussions.

Read the full article below or by following the link above.

(As an aside – you may remember Kevin de Leon’s name from our article yesterday, which looked at how he helped the effort to pass a gas-tax bill which totally screws us over. Thanks, Kev!)

Full article:

Making the state a sanctuary for the deserving

California’s Senate President Kevin de Leon is playing a dangerous game of chicken with President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions over the state’s criminal aliens’ sanctuary status. With his sanctuary state SB 54 bill, de Leon, to use his words, aims to “freeze out” Immigration and Customs Enforcement from California, proposes to limit assistance with ICE “to the fullest extent possible,” and wants to convert public schools, hospitals, courthouses and hospitals into no-go zones for federal immigration officials.

And de Leon, who is on record that half his family entered the U.S. illegally, then committed identity theft to get and keep jobs, charged Trump and Sessions as being sympathetic with white nationalists’ principles. According to de Leon, the Trump administration has engaged in unconstitutional “constant and systematic targeting” of California’s diverse cities. De Leon promised to lead California’s resistance to DOJ threats to withhold up to $20 million in grant funding.

While de Leon and others in the California Assembly rail against Trump, a recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement action in Los Angeles underlined the urgency of deporting felony reentries, fugitives from justice, and other unlawful criminals. Over a five-day ICE Enforcement Removal Operation, officers arrested 188 illegal immigrants from 11 countries. Most had prior convictions for drug offenses, drunk driving, and sex crimes, including rape and sex with a minor. Since earlier this year when President Trump signed his executive order that prioritized deporting criminal aliens, ICE has arrested 41,000 offenders nationwide, a 40 percent increase over the same period last year.

In his statement, ICE representative David Marin said that taking the aliens off the street, and removing them from the U.S., makes “communities safer for everyone.” Marin’s logic is irrefutable. Everyone should agree that California is safer without cocaine traffickers and sex offenders. Yet, illogically, de Leon, many of his California Assembly colleagues, and the state’s sanctuary mayors in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento vow to battle President Trump to the end.

But de Leon is locked in a losing battle, one that might have more dire consequences if the Assembly passes, and Gov. Jerry Brown defiantly signs, SB 54. President Trump is on firm legal standing when it comes to cutting off funds to sanctuary cities, assuming the designated recipients fail to cooperate with immigration officials, and DOJ follows proper procedures. Headline stories reported on a U.S. district court’s sanctuary ruling last month and claimed the administration is barred from defunding noncompliant cities; those stories simply are wrong. Assuming the administration limits itself to three federal DOJ programs, money can be withheld. DOJ has set a June 30 deadline for sanctuaries to submit evidence that they’re compliant.

Penniless California can illafford to lose millions of dollars because of its misguided, illegal alien advocacy. Gov. Brown projects a $1.6 billion deficit by mid-summer, with state and local governments owing $1.3 trillion.

With California’s population at 39 million and with an estimated 3 million illegal immigrants, citizens and legal permanent residents outnumber aliens at a 13:1 ratio. Sacramento should be focused on making California a sanctuary for the deserving, not thecriminal.

Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org and on Twitter @ joeguzzardi19.

Joe Guzzardi

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The true cost of CA gas tax – the State’s numbers just don’t add up

Does the recently passed gas tax devoting $57 billion to our roads seem to good to be true? Well, that’s because it is.

While poring over a whole heck of a lot of information on SB we came across an article in the Los Angeles Times which notes that only $34 billion of the first $52 billion raised by the tax will go towards roads. Here’s some more on that:

“About $34 billion of the first $52 billion raised will go to repairing roads, bridges, highways and culverts, with most of the money split 50-50 between state and local projects.

An additional $7 billion over the first decade will go to mass transit projects. Other money will fund improvements to trade corridors, including the roads serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and will go toward reducing congestion on the most clogged commuter routes.”

Gee, seems like all that money going to Southern California roads and to mass transit systems which those of us in the northern reaches of the state will almost certainly not benefit from is part of a common refrain – we’re getting gouged for taxes that don’t benefit us in the ways that we’re being sold on, and in many cases won’t benefit us at all.

Remember how a bunch of our local tax measures from the most recent election cycle promised to devote the money to a specific cause but actually contained provisions to funnel money towards other items? Our own local road tax, which included setting aside money for trails and hiring County employees, stands as a good example.Now it’s just happening at a state level.

On top of that, it looks like the actual costs of the gas tax have been misrepresented as well. Check this out (from this article):

“Specifically, the gas-tax hike which politicians tell us is 12 cents per gallon — which is bad enough — in actuality could be as high as 19 cents gallon. How is that possible?

The explanation is a bit complicated but important to understand. It involves a convoluted process known as the “gas tax swap” passed by the Legislature and implemented by the California Board of Equalization in 2010.

The gas tax swap eliminated the state sales tax on gasoline and replaced it with what was supposed to be a revenue-neutral per-gallon excise tax. This made it more legally defensible for the state to repay Proposition 1B transportation bond debt when California was in the midst of recession. The BOE was tasked with adjusting the numbers every year in a “backward looking” process so that California would collect no more revenue from the excise tax than it would have collected from the sales tax had it not been eliminated.

But here’s the kicker: The tax hike just jammed through the Legislature in less than one week by Senate Bill 1 contains a provision that, beginning in July of 2019, adjusts the base excise tax to what it was in July 2010 when the gas tax swap started. Currently, the excise tax on gas is 27.8 cents a gallon. But in July of 2010 it was 35.3 cents a gallon. So as it stands right now, that’s a seven cents per gallon increase, on top of the new 12 cents per gallon tax.

Magically, the 12-cent gas tax increase will likely be a 19-cent-per-gallon increase. And, of course, that entire 47 cents per gallon excise tax (35.3 + 12 cents) will be adjusted annually for inflation beginning Jan. 1, 2020 under SB1. If this seems complicated and hard to understand, keep in mind that the politicians like it that way.”

And a final trick from those intent on raising taxes further:

“Under the less costly scenario, cap and trade would raise gas prices by an estimated 15 cents per gallon in 2021, increasing to 24 cents per gallon in 2031. Under the more costly scenario, cap-and-trade would raise gas prices by an estimated 63 cents per gallon in 2021, increasing to 73 cents per gallon in 2031.

If one adds up all the hidden government costs, fees and taxes that California may soon impose on gasoline, drivers can expect to pay close to two dollars more than the national average.”

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County of Humboldt announces that local residents are too stupid to know where the ocean is

Holy moly! What with all of the serious issues pervading Humboldt County the last few years, we were beginning to wonder if our County Government is controlled by a bunch of idiots.

But, thankfully, it turns out that the people of Humboldt County are the stupid ones, rather than the County of Humboldt.

At least, that’s what occurred to us when we heard that the County of Humboldt is super excited about unveiling their new Tsunami Danger Zone App. (Turns out the signs posted all over the place, combined with tsunami alert systems, just aren’t enough.)

But…what could this sign possibly mean?

At long last, we can stop relying on the tried and true “oh shit, I’m close to the water and there was an earthquake, better get a move on” tactic that has served us remarkably well for generations.

You see, the County of Humboldt isn’t just saying that you’re too stupid to head for higher ground in the event of an earthquake, or that you can’t figure out where the ocean is – they’re assuming that you are probably so stupid that you won’t raise any questions about why the hell they’re wasting their time and resources on creating an app in the first place. (Quick reminder: their resources consist of your tax money.)

Of note from the County’s press release is this: “The app is still under development. The current version requires internet connectivity. In the future, it will be possible to download the map info and view at a later date without being online.”

We’re no technical wizards, but we’re pretty sure that the goal of downloading the maps for later use is a function that could have been accomplished without an app, right? As in, you can literally already do that by following a link on the current tsunami education website.

But why not waste time and money creating an app? Guess they just have too much time and money on their hands – we should remember that next time the County comes asking us for more.

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Top Humboldt “environmentalist” continues to fight for marijuana, not environment

With all of the chatter surrounding the Board of Supervisors revising the Measure S tax on marijuana this past week, it would have been easy to miss some of the more subtle political undercurrents swirling around marijuana’s attempts to go legit.

We almost skipped over one of the most brow-raising tidbits to come out of the affair, but thankfully we haven’t laid into the doobies just quite yet today.

Thanks to the handy Times-Standard article  below, we learned something new: Natalynne DeLapp-Hinton, formerly the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Information Center, has taken over the role as Operations Director at the relatively new Humboldt County Growers Association.

Or, we should say, the Times-Standard Article reminded us of the very bleak reality concerning many of the participation of our most prominent environmental groups and leaders in the marijuana industry. Y’know, before it was legal and before those same groups would even consider broaching the subject of cannabis’ detrimental effects on our environment.

The article in question: Supes okay change to tax code

THC ran a few stories last year on how environmentalists both nurtured and took advantage of the big pot rush in the years leading up to Measure S’ passage. (See below for a full recount.)

The Times-Standard’s snippet of DeLapp-Hinton’s statement to the Board of Supervisors is small, and unfortunately the video of the meeting wasn’t accessible at the time of writing. We’ll update later once we’re able to go through it.

But what that little snippet did highlight is this: many environmental groups were too scared to touch the subject of marijuana because attacking the industry for environmental damage conflicted with a lot of their supporters activities, their groups’ revenue streams, and with the activities of some of their own.

Since Measure S came on the scene, some groups gave lip service to needing to protect the environment from cannabis. But we’ll bet you big bucks that they’ll raise a much louder fuss over the relatively inconsequential Caltrans project over in Richardson’s Grove.

Hell, even Rex freakin’ Bohn came out with a stronger statement on the necessity of environmental protections than the former environmental “advocate” did. (Do your best not to laugh.)

Here’ s Bohn, per the T-S:

““We have 12,000 grows out there. We have to do something to protect our environment,” he added later.” He added later, “You need to pay to play.””

We’ll say this for the County’s efforts to regulate cannabis – it sure is allowing folks to show their true colors and pursue their biggest passions. Look no further than former environmental leaders going to bat for the cannabis industry as proof.

Here’s a recap of our rather extensive look at how environmentalists helped create the green rush:

How Humboldt’s environmentalists created, and protect, the Green Rush

How Humboldt’s environmentalists created, and protect, the Green Rush (part 2)

How Humboldt’s environmentalists created, and protect, the Green Rush (part 3)

Here’s a highlight from the first one:

“…we disagree…on the point that these”well-meaning” environmental groups are blind to the effects of cultivation “by denial or omission.” This is not the case at all; the issue of degradation is ignored because those groups are largely supported and funded by people who have vested interests in the green rush economy. What’s more, many of the people involved with running groups like the NEC and EPIC and Friends of the Eel River are directly tied to, and profit from, the marijuana industry that rapes the same Humboldt land and waterways that the groups proclaim need protecting.”

Go check out the rest!

 

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Former Crescent City Harbor Commissioner Accused of Sexual Harassment

A former Commissioner of the Crescent City Harbor District, and current Director of Rural Human Services, has been named in two separate accusations of sexual harassment.

Scott Feller, the accused, lost his position on the Harbor Commission in last year’s election.

Here’s a piece from the Del-Norte Triplicate about a petition started by CR professor to have Feller fired. (we guess since they fired Patrick Cleary’s lackey, Renee Saucedo, someone had to pick up her slack for stirring things up in the community):

Petition Calls for Feller’s Firing

(THC thinks that the Triplicate doesn’t like Scott Feller – they remind us of the NCJ.)

Here’s a link to a press release from Rural Human Services featured in the Crescent City Times:

Rural Human Services hired investigator on Scott Feller sexual allegations

Last, but certainly not least, here is an opinion piece featured in the Crescent City Times, notable not only for its take on the situation but also because – judging from the date on the letter – that the author was writing from the future!)

Scott Feller’s Predicament

As you can tell from the varied opinions in all these pieces, looks like the case is developing and we’ll keep tabs on it for you.

A big thanks to our reader in Del-Norte who asked that we give some coverage to this issue – a cache of THC stickers are on their way to them as you read!

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