On Tuesday, the residents of the “hippie town” of Arcata, California will have the opportunity to punish – or relieve – local pot growers as they will vote on Measure I, which would levy a staggering 45 percent electricity tax on any residence that uses three times the volume of energy utilized in an average family home.
Measure I is obviously aimed at indoor pot farmers, with the overt intention of the Arcata City Council being to “drive the large-scale growing operations out of town” as Councilman/Vice Mayor Shane Brinton told the AP. The Council claims they are responding to the concerns of their constituents who complain that the indoor pot gardens are fire hazards and “stink up” the neighborhood.
If Measure I passes, it will be the first law of its kind specifically targeting pot growers and could set a dangerous precedent in other “Emerald Triangle” towns. There will be loopholes for those homes with residents who have medical and other issues that require an excessive use of energy.
But is Measure I truly about eradicating indoor pot growers or raising money for strapped city coffers? Power utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric reported that 633 Arcata residences use enough energy to power a large retail outlet and are presumed to be growing pot. Such homes would be hit with a $700 monthly power bill, likely more than their rent.
Should the pot cultivators decide to pay the tax, it would raise $1.2 million dollars for Arcata – four percent of the city's annual operating budget.