From WILL PARRISH
The Mendocino County Supervisors will soon vote on a series of environmental protections that would include putting 714,000 acres of rangeland off-limits to new cannabis cultivation permits and adopting an impressively strict oak woodlands protection ordinance, while also allowing existing growers to become legally-permitted.
The end of marijuana prohibition has opened up the possibility of a damaging “green rush,” which these measures aim to prevent.
The person who has most vocally opposed these protections is Stuart Bewley, one of Mendocino County’s wealthiest landowners, who made his fortune in the wine industry and has now moved aggressively into the cannabis business..
I’ve described in the past about how marijuana growing is often used as a scapegoat for environmental degradation, but it’s also the case that extreme marijuana grows are a major source of environmental damage, land speculation, and cultural upheaval, as many people who have opposed damage from the timber industry have also pointed out.
As with so many of Mendocino County-based backwoods cannabis proprietors, Stuart Bewley’s journey to the rugged hills and gullies of Bell Springs and west Laytonville began during the 1970s. In that heady time, young idealists flocked to the remote and disjointed terrain of California’s northern coastal mountains, in collective pursuit of a better life in a better place. Desperate to earn a living, some of the more entrepreneurial members of their sub-culture soon developed breakthrough techniques for cultivation ofsinsemilla, fostering what has budded out into a multi-billion dollar industry.