COVID and cannabis: These two familiar topics were the main topics of discussion during the Humboldt County Supervisory Board meeting on Tuesday.
With the coronavirus, the focus was on the recent jump in cases across the country, the state and here in Humboldt County. The conversation on board touched on the tense social exchanges that can occur when customers refuse to wear masks while patronizing local businesses.
With the cannabis board, he listened to an in-depth presentation outlining some of Humboldt’s key marketing principles and strategies. famous-is cash harvest. This marketing assessment, prepared by the local trade group, the Humboldt County Alliance of Producers (HCGA), will serve as a guide for future marketing efforts funded by Project Trellis, the county’s weed-oriented economic development program.
Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovic, who continues to lead COVID’s response efforts in the county as staff seek its replacement, said it was difficult to know what to expect next in this pandemic. “Every day is a surprise right now,” she said.
Forty-one of California’s 58 counties are placed in the most restrictive “purple” layer of Governor Gavin Newsum’s administration, and while Humboldt is elevated to the second highest, “red” layer (jumping right over “orange”), Frankovic said that we too are at risk of turning purple if current trends continue.
In the first two weeks of November in Humboldt County, as many positive cases of COVID-19 were confirmed as in the whole of October, she said. And our number of cases jumped from about two cases per 100,000 residents to 4.8 per 100,000. About half of the recent cases involved travel outside the county, and Frankovic reiterated his final warnings against large gatherings and family visits on that Day. gratitude.
“For us, doing well means sacrificing the gathering this year so that our friends and family are safe and alive, and we will celebrate with them next year,” she said.
The state of California has signed a contract with OptumServe to continue offering Redwood Acres Fairgrounds tests until April. The company’s samples are now being sent to a government laboratory in Valencia, not to a commercial testing laboratory. Frankovic said there was some “growing pain” in the state facility, leading to time to run test results ranging from two days to more than a week.
Frankovic also turned to the recent news that both Pfizer and Moderna have developed highly effective vaccines (at least according to press reports from the pharmaceutical giants). It is very likely that the Pfizer vaccine will be available to the local health service by December. “We’re planning this,” Frankovic said.
The Pfizer vaccine requires deep-free storage and should be administered in two doses delivered one month apart. With only two million health care workers in California, supplies can take some time to reach the rest of the public. It is also not clear how long immunity lasts after receiving the vaccine. However, Frankovic called the recent events “really encouraging”.
With Humboldt County Chief Billy Honsall available for the COVID briefing, Third District Chief Mike Wilson shared a recent experience at a local burrito site. Two men inside refused to wear masks and “behaved uncomfortably,” Wilson said. He claims that these men take advantage of the fact that employees are not required to make customers wear facials. The cashier at this restaurant was a smaller woman, Wilson said.
“They did not understand the dynamics of how scary they are,” he said, citing anti-masks. Given the country’s social tensions and news of people turning violent when asked to wear masks, Wilson said the duo “did not understand how everyone in the room was terrorized.”
He said he had seen two similar incidents, including a pair of “I’ll just say, young white men” walking around the Arcata Farmers Market without masks, ignoring the effect they had on vulnerable customers.
“This behavior scares business people who really need business,” Wilson said.
Honsal said most companies already have labels indicating their mask requirements, but he also suggested employees should take a position. “People need to feel comfortable in these conversations, [saying] “No mask, no service,” he said, adding: “If they are not comfortable, they should not work with this cash register.”
Wilson said the cashier at the burrito bar was not shy; she was scared. “It’s really unfair that we see this dynamic,” he said. “I have no answer to that.”
Honsal said there are fewer people who react with aggression or “do stupid things” when asked to disguise themselves, and said his office will issue quotes for violation to customers who absolutely refuse to do so.
Fourth District Superintendent Virginia Bass also recounted a clash with a pair of masked men who collided at Walmart. He saw an employee ask them to cover their faces, and when they continued into the store without doing so, Bass had to ask for their faces to be covered.
In response, “They followed me around the store,” she said. “They were wearing masks, but they were coughing directly at me. … People will be fools. “
Honsal told his deputies have issued citations of infringement, and he noted that the Joint County Information Center (JIC) was “indefatigably issuing mask-wearing content.” He again urged people to “be brave” and “say something if you see someone in a store not wearing a mask.”
Even the first district superintendent, Rex Bonn, who sometimes opposed public health orders related to COVID, asked the public to take precautions. “Seriously, boys, listen to professionals and science,” he said. As for the coverage of the face, he suggested: “Convince our young people: this does not show weakness; shows brightness. “
Shortly afterwards, during the meeting, the chairman of the board and the second district supervisor, Estelle Fennel, refused the opportunity to continue serving as a substitute for a position in a state government organization. She did so in recognition of the still unresolved and extremely close re-election efforts against contender Michelle Bushnell.
Bonn was a county delegate on the California County Rural Board (RCRC) board of directors, as well as the Golden State Financial Authority (GSFA). Fennel was a deputy and, according to a staff report, both she and Bonn have expressed interest in continuing in these roles.
After Fennel agreed to step down, Fifth District Supervisor Steve Madrone was quickly nominated for the alternative position. Wilson proposed reassigning Bonn and Madrone as alternate.
Bass then spoke, saying he wanted to talk to Bonn, and Bonn said that while appreciating Madrone’s strengthening, Bass would be happy to play the alternative role, “because there are so many connections.”
However, with a proposal already on the floor, the council instead voted unanimously to reappoint Bon and Madron to serve as his deputy. Bon’s vote was less than enthusiastic.
Then came a presentation on the marketing assessment of cannabis across the country, an 80-page document prepared by the Humboldt County Alliance (HCGA) and presented by Ross Gordon, the group’s policy director. (You can see a summary of the report in pdf format here.)
However, first the county’s director of economic development, Scott Adair, gave an overview of the industrial landscape, noting that with the national decriminalization of cannabis on the horizon, other communities in the country began to aggressively market their weed products. Humboldt County must do the same, Adair said, if we hope to protect our “brand” and our market share in an industry that generates significant tax revenue.
A previous request for marketing proposals was too vague and generated a wide variety of responses, many of the big marketing companies outside the county, Adair said. Thus, the county hired HCGA to develop a detailed and in-depth marketing assessment. The completed report, which includes eight findings and 30 recommendations, was disseminated to the community and received approval from most of the local industry participants who responded.
Gordon said in a PowerPoint presentation that the goal is to come up with a strategic direction and vision based on research from similar industries in other regions, including the wine-growing areas of the Napa Valley and Bordeaux and the coffee industry in Kona, Hawaii. big island and Colombia.
The vision for the county as a whole, Gordon said, is for “thousands” of independent small businesses to be able to move into the legal market, generating fair value for their products while cultivating in an environmentally sustainable way. The vision also includes making consumers around the world understand the “unique qualities of artisanal cannabis Humboldt.”
Gordon emphasized a number of key principles of the strategy, including equal participation of all stakeholders in local industry, protection of intellectual property (including the name Humboldt), quality control, sustainability and a focus on public policy.
Following Gordon’s presentation (which gained fame from Fennell and Bohn), Adair told the board that county economic development officials recommended issuing a new application for marketing proposals, this time restricting applicants to local nonprofits and directing them to use marketing evaluation as a framework.
During the public comment period, a number of stakeholders from the cannabis industry called for support for the HCGA document and the strategy it outlines.
The board voted unanimously for staff to issue a new request for proposals (RFP), encouraging Humboldt-based NGOs to develop a new marketing plan for cannabis.