Sandi DeLuca, Cutten-Coldwell Banker

Hi, my name is Sandi DeLuca. I am a local real estate agent with over 19 years experience selling properties in Humboldt County. I stand here not as a farmer, but as a concerned business woman and community member.

Over the past six years, I’ve witnessed the rise and fall of cannabis property values. In 2017 the price of properties ballooned because of the perceived value caused by a limited number of properties that would benefit from a cultivation permit in Humboldt County.

What no one understood then is the complexity of bringing pre-existing farms into compliance with California environmental and agricultural law.

Turns out the costs associated with bringing farms into compliance has been so costly for the farmers who signed up for the cultivation permit, that many of these farmers are currently spending their last dollars to achieve compliance.

In 2018 the value of farm properties began to drop. Farmers were struggling to keep up with county and state costs, and discouraged by a transitioning market.

By mid 2021, more and more farms were listed for sale and now in 2022 I know of at least 40 licensed cannabis farms that are currently for sale.

Sadly, recently I hear from more and more people wanting to sell than I do people or investors wanting to buy.

When investors are calling, they often do not understand what it means to purchase a cannabis farm in Humboldt County. They are assuming they can find large flat land with city water and city power; they want farms that are easy to permit.

Turning these rural farms into farms that meet the California agricultural standards is a process that is costing our farmers everything they have.

What happens if they cannot pay their Measure S tax bills? Their permit is directly tied to their tax payments. Their ongoing compliance requirements are tied to their ability to pay for continued environmental upgrades and remediation.

What happens if they give up? How many abandoned farms are already out in our hills? What kind of environmental and economical hit would our county take if all of these farmers give up and walk away today?

Again the reason I am here today is because WE, all of us who make up this community will be impacted if we lose our existing legal cannabis industry.

Please stand with your neighbors and ask the Board of Supervisors to not only Suspend Measure S, but adjust it accordingly each year moving forward to support our county during this economic transition.