Will wine tasters be set off their cabernet sauvignon should Napa County decide to allow farmers to legally grow marijuana? Local vineyard industry leaders told the Napa County Board of Supervisors that they would at a meeting on Tuesday. In response, the board decided to send the issue of local pot grows to the county’s voters in next year’s March elections.
At issue was the cannabis agriculture regulations presented in Measure J, which has been backed by the cannabis industry. That proposal includes limits on the size of cannabis grow ops, and how close they can be planted next to vineyards. It also includes harsh limits on the kinds of pesticides that can be used on marijuana.
The pesticide issue presents its own concerns. An expert presenting at Tuesday’s meeting concluded that unlawful chemicals could reach cannabis fields from nearby vineyards. Conversely, producers of other crops worried that cannabis farmers’ failure to include such bug killers would leave neighboring fields susceptible to any entering plagues. “Cannabis could create vectors for introducing diseases or pests that are otherwise controlled,” said auditor Mark Lovelace of HDL Companies.
Napa County has been slow in deciding whether it would opt into California’s relatively new