Cannabis Reform Initiative

The purpose of the Humboldt Cannabis Reform Initiative, the HCRI, is to amend the Humboldt County General Plan in order to protect residents, land owners, and our beautiful natural environment from harm caused by large-scale industrial cannabis cultivation.

More specifically, what will the Humboldt Cannabis Reform Initiative do?

The Initiative would amend the Humboldt County General Plan, Humboldt County Local Coastal Plans, and Humboldt County Code as they pertain to commercial cannabis cultivation. The Initiative would improve enforcement of environmentally responsible cultivation practices, protect watershed health for residents, property owners and ecosystems, and support the small-scale, high-quality, and sustainable type of cultivation that made Humboldt famous.  Specific goals are:

  • Prevent large-scale grows that damage the environment and harm the community by: a) limiting new and expanded permits to outdoor and low-wattage “mixed light” cultivation with a maximum area of 10,000 sq. ft. and b) not allowing new cultivation applications that result in multiple cultivation permits per person or per parcel.  
  • Support small-scale, high quality cannabis cultivation that minimizes environmental and social impacts by protecting the vested rights of farmers. 
  • Limit the number of permits and acreage under cannabis cultivation by capping total number of permits and acreage to levels existing as of March 4, 2022, while allowing continued processing and approval of complete permit applications filed before that date.
  • Reduce impacts of cannabis cultivation on water availability and quality by: a) prohibiting reliance on diversions from streams between March 1 and November 15 of each year and b) requiring hydrological analysis of well water usage on springs, stream flows, and other water users. 
  • Ensure greater participation and official accountability in decision-making by: a) requiring expanded public notice of cultivation applications and b) expanding the range of applications subject to public hearings.
  • Ensure that existing operations are inspected and compliance verified prior to permit renewal by requiring: a) annual in-person, on-site inspections, b) correction of violations, and c) investigation of legitimate complaints from the public before permits can be renewed.
  • Limit use of generators in cannabis cultivation operations by phasing in requirements that limit generator size and restrict usage to emergency purposes.

“We are not the only ones.” Sonoma County Cannabis EIR. November 9, 2023.

Sage Alexander, “12 water restoration projects funded from cannabis enforcement settlement“, Times-Standard, July 18, 2023.

Letter of June 26, 2023 to Board of Supervisors in response to the County’s Amended Analysis of Humboldt Cannabis Reform Initiative, which failed to respond constructively to clarifications and corrections offered in our April 20, 2023 letter.

Letter of April 20, 2023 to Board of Supervisors and John Ford by Initiative’s attorney Kevin Bundy about errors and mischaracterizations in the County’s analysis and recommendations report.

Press Release: April 20, 2023. Initiative’s attorney responding to misleading and inaccurate County ‘analysis’ of the Initiative.

Myths & Realities: Addressing some factual errors and misinformation being disseminated about the Initiative.

On October 25, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted to include this initiative on the June 2024 ballot for a vote of the people.

You may access a recording of the meeting via the following link:

Please write to your Supervisor:

The Humboldt Cannabis Reform Initiative offers a new vision for cannabis cultivation in Humboldt County.  It will:

Reduce the cannabis cultivation footprint, promote healthy environments and rural communities, ensure public involvement, and protect truly small-scale, environmentally-minded cannabis farmers by:

  • Stopping expansion of industrial mega-grows in rural neighborhoods and limiting new and expanded cannabis cultivation to less than 10,000 sq. ft. 
  • Setting caps on future total acreage and on total number of permits to around current levels, rather than allowing to triple, as per current county resolution 
  • Allowing permits only for new and expanded outdoor or mixed light tier 1 cultivation, or nursery 
  • Limiting the number of new cultivation permits per person and per parcel, but not affecting other types of permits (like bed-and-breakfast or dispensary permits)
  • Protecting residents, landowners, and watershed health by requiring analysis of whether new water wells will reduce flow of a watercourse, spring, or another’s well   
  • Shortening by two weeks the period allowed for diversion of stream water 
  • Requiring an engineer’s verification for applicants’ claims regarding certain road standards
  • Reducing noise pollution and risk of fuel spills by allowing only one emergency generator for new permits
  • Phasing out generator usage for permitted operations
  • Providing opportunity for public input in approval and renewal processes
  • Strengthening inspections and correction of permit violations

This initiative will not or cannot:

  • Force authorities to enforce the law 
  • Address fees, fines, or taxes 
  • Affect the many illegal, unpermitted grows 
  • Affect vested rights associated with permitted operations 


a Primarily Formed Ballot Initiative Committee

PO Box 599, Bayside, CA 95524

California FPPC #1443594