Just because pot is legal does not mean it's regulated to be safe
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (FOX26) —
The doors of pot dispensaries practically flew off the hinges Monday, welcoming the first customers of the new legal industry.
But not everyone is celebrating.
Ben Deci from our news partner KTXL in Sacramento hears from some who say that just because it's legal does not mean it's being regulated to be safe.
Randy Fletcher, Chairman of the Yuba County Board of Supervisors, spoke at an anti-pot rally at the State Capitol. "We cannot handle the situation, said Fletcher."
Fletcher was in Sacramento to declare an emergency. He's worried the perception among pot shoppers is now that the industry is legal, it is also thoroughly regulated. "That is what they're thinking. The problem is, that's not reality. The reality is in rural counties, and we have a problem," said Fletcher.
Marijuana isn't the only controlled substance at a marijuana grow. There's fertilizers, fuel, water... and at illegal marijuana grows, there are no safeguards keeping that stuff from doing environmental damage, even at indoors grows.
Fletcher says the illegal grow industry will itself keep growing, despite California's new regulatory structure.
In Yuba County, sheriffs deputies destroyed 29,000 illegal pot plants last year. In Calaveras County it was 100,000.
So far, none of those grow sites have been cleaned up. Fletcher says the counties can't afford to do it, so he's calling on the State and Federal Governments to help.
This is an industry that's very nervous about he Federal Government, but when Fletcher was asked if he's worried about backlash, he said, "No at all. The backlash the community should be worried about is, are they going to do anything. We can't just bury our heads in the sand and say it'll take care of itself."
Fletcher says water quality has only been tested in a few foothill locations, but he says those locations can't keep supplying the rest of California with clean water, if they're also supplying the rest of the State with marijuana.
The first day of legal pot sales was not exactly smooth sailing. There is supposed to be a computer system in place to track plants but that system is down for now. That means vendors are having to keep track of the plants and sales manually, something that critics argue will make more problems for regulators.