Pot's rural impacts
My husband and I, organic farmers, supported marijuana legalization. We didn’t realize the impact the law as written would have: Noise from industrial fans, increased worker and supplier traffic on rural roads, light pollution, increased thefts and assault, damaged farmland.
Businesses are consuming RR and EFU land, graveling over the soil, plopping buildings there and importing new soil for “weather-protected” marijuana. The land will take years to recover. Does this sound agricultural? Now they’re installing cannabis processing facilities.
These greenhouses and processing plants belong in industrial zones. Industrial-sized fans wouldn’t keep neighbors from being able to hear one another. Lights would be where they belong. Traffic on lightly used rural roads would ease. Crime response and fire prevention would be more accessible. Valuable farmland wouldn’t be damaged.
Greenhouse by greenhouse, boxcar by boxcar, fence by fence, our way of life is being chiseled away. Sure we have more jobs, but how much of our home are we willing to sell off and ugly-up? We need regulations to make the recreational marijuana industry compatible with our land and way of life.
Tell our commissioners, state senators and representatives, and the governor, to step up and protect our communities before greed reshapes our state.
Support popular vote legislation
The Oregon State House of Representatives passed a bill to promote election of the U.S. president by nationwide popular vote. Now the Senate needs to pass it.
Even though two-thirds of the 2016 campaign took place in just six states, some Oregon senators only half-heartedly support this bill, and would still like to require a ballot measure for this decision. Doing that would:
- Encourage out-of-state money for an ad campaign to defeat the popular vote, funds that cannot be matched by nonprofit groups like the League of Women Voters or Common Cause.
- Send a negative signal that the Senate is not willing to support this important legislation, even though it has already passed the Oregon House four times in recent years.
How to contact your senator? Search “Oregon senator finder.” Encourage him or her to directly act now to make our elections more democratic; to not send the question to the voters. Support original bill SB 823, but not SB 825 (returning the question to a ballot).
For information on how this would work, see www.nationalpopularvote.com or search for “National Popular Vote Intestate Compact.” Tired of the Electoral College? Let’s bypass it!
Budget imperils salmon
The Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund invests in salmon and steelhead recovery work throughout their range. In Oregon, the $215 million invested since 2000 leveraged $330 million of state Lottery funds, bringing the total to protect and enhance salmon to $545 million. Unfortunately, the president’s 2018 budget proposes to eliminate the $65 million currently appropriated to this fund each year.
These funds are an economic investment that provides big returns: Recreational fishing generates about $500 million and 16,500 jobs annually, commercial salmon fishing creates over $16 million and 900 jobs each year and, according to the University of Oregon, every $1 million spent on habitat restoration creates 15 to 24 local jobs.
PCSRF funds are also an investment in our natural heritage. The grant program supports local projects like the Rogue River Preserve. The preserve, a project of the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy, will protect 352 acres and two miles of Rogue River frontage and will serve as a place to educate and inspire our community.
Without the PCSRF, salmon recovery in the Northwest will stall and one-time opportunities like the Rogue River Preserve will be lost. We hope you’ll join us in asking Congress to continue to support this important program.
Kevin Talbert, president-elect, Southern Oregon Land Conservancy