The influence of marijuana and financial interests eager to capitalize on the promise of the big green cash cow is readily apparent in Rio Dell, of all places.
The generally un-exciting hamlet has been the site for a showdown between the big money behind the soon-to-be-legal cannabis industry and local community leaders who are doing their best to stem the green tide and look out for the interests of the people they represent.
THC has followed the questionable connection between those pushing for large-scale marijuana operations in Rio Dell and their history with a number of City employees who are very vocally pushing for Rio Dell’s City Council to allow huge marijuana processing businesses in the area, and you can read about that at length by following the links at the end of the post.
But what is even more appalling is the backlash directed at public officials, namely the members of the Rio Dell City Council, who have done their best to stand in the way of an ordinance that would throw the doors open for marijuana operations.
First, after the Council soundly voted down their proposed marijuana ordinance, one of their own members popped off to the public whining about how was that representative democracy had actually worked to thwart her pet project in the interest of the public good.
Next, pot-aligned citizens took aim at Council members for taking a stand against the misguided land use ordinance, despite the fact that the Council’s decision was based largely on public input that stood in opposition to permitting commercial marijuana in the city.
Just look at this article in the Times Standard, from way back in July, which highlights the concerted attack against Rio Dell Council member Tim Marks: Rio Dell councilman under fire after pot vote
This seems like a pretty darned clear power play to force the Council members opposed to cannabis out of the picture, only to insert people more friendly to weed – and more friendly to the developer most commonly associated with the push for Rio Dell marijuana business, Dennis Wendt – into their places.
Sadly, it seems like the backlash driven by the people who got a little pissy that their money and connection to Rio Dell’s Community Development Coordinator wasn’t enough to sway the Council to gifting them a weed empire has had the intended effect on at least one current Council member.
Jack Thompson has announced that he will not seek reelection to the Council, and it’s no surprise why. Considering the threats made to remove Marks from office, we can’t blame him for bailing ship.
By all accounts, the marijuana ordinance will fail to pass through Rio Dell’s Council once again, but it sure is a shame to see honest representatives be pushed around by the financial muscle of marijuana interests and their good ol’ boy connection to City officials.
This is the reality Humboldt is faced with. Marijuana comes out of the shadows, and all those eager to cash in on the crop won’t let anything stand in the way of getting what they want. Not even democratic process.
More from THC on Rio Dell’s cannabis catastrophe: