No, say several residents of the North Pole. No to pot businesses. On Oct. 4, residents of the Fairbanks, Alaska suburb will vote on Proposition 7, which would effectively ban marijuana-related businesses from the town. Councilmember Elizabeth Holm, who gathered the signatures required to add the proposition to the ballot, cited the "family friendly" atmosphere of the town as one reason to ban potential dispensaries in the far frozen north. The North Pole receives hundreds of thousands of letters addressed to Santa Claus every year, and many visitors come to take pictures of its Christmas-themed streets (Santa Claus Lane, St. Nicholas Drive, Snowman Lane) as well as the world's largest fiberglass version of Mr. Kringle himself. To be honest, it sounds like a stoney good time, minus the potential of breaking a tooth on one of the candy-cane striped streetlights. Whether the measure will pass is anyone's guess – Alaska legalized recreational marijuana use in 2014, and a previous moratorium on pot cafes in the greater Fairbanks area was voted down earlier this month. So, if the stockings are stuffed a little later than usual this year, or there are misfit toys under the tree, you can point the finger at North Pole voters.
No, says Facebook. No to ads promoting marijuana. Facebook's "Prohibited Content" category is pretty explicit on this subject – it also bans ads related to tobacco and "adult products" – but journalists who report on issues related to the herb are feeling the sting. Mikaela Lefrak, associate editor for the New Republic, delivered an autopsy of her back and forth with the site's ads team in 2015 after she attempted to promote an article about CBD oil and was rejected. Facebook later reversed its decision, but its rules around this issue continue to appear murky. Dispensaries and other cannabis-related businesses have reported having their pages and Instagram posts taken down. With the line between real journalism and native advertising continuing to blur, the site might be taking pre-emptive measures to keep pro-ganja forces from doing an end-run around its guidelines. Or, like most institutions and media entities (which of these Facebook is remains equally murky) it may just be kind of lost as to how to navigate the ever-changing legal and social status of cannabis.
No, says Steve Lazar, Humboldt County Cannabis Services Division senior planner. No, the county did not "extend the deadline" for the registry of existing cannabis grows. Lazar was responding to a legal challenge from the Humboldt-Mendocino Marijuana Advocacy Project, which alleges the press release sent out earlier this month encouraging growers to continue applying for permits after Aug. 23 is a violation of its July settlement with the county halting "further modifications" to the county's cannabis ordinance and imposing a hard Dec. 31 deadline for permit applications, pending a full environmental impact report. The Aug. 23 date initially advertised by the county applies to the "good standing" status, which may give Humboldt County growers a foot in the door when state permits become available in 2018, Lazar said.
"We made that clear in (the) press release that went out that week, as well as in our policy statement," he said in a phone interview with the Journal on Tuesday. The deadline for permits is the end of the year. That has not changed."
Meanwhile, HuMMAP issued its own deadline, ordering the county to confirm by Sept. 27, that "the County has not and will not issue commercial grow permits under the CMMLUO to any existing grower that did not register pursuant to CMMLUO section 188.8.131.52 by Aug. 23, 2016."
Lazar could not comment on the county's official response as of press time, but said his department is still encouraging people to apply for permits.