chapter
Planning for marijuana
Development, governance and regional political economy
ByMichael Polson
Pages 18

This chapter explores marijuana's pivotal role in defining Humboldt's extraction and post-extraction developmental regimes. It argues that prohibition barred marijuana from formal county development, but nevertheless became critical to the political-economic maintenance of a timber-based developmental regime, particularly during timber's socioeconomically and ecologically treacherous decline. The chapter also argues that both developmental blocs converged on an acceptance of marijuana as a central aspect of development, but that each bloc sought to integrate marijuana in differing ways into county political economy. In late 2011, the US Attorney of the Northern District sent a letter to Eureka's city manager assuring him that regulating marijuana would violate federal law and regulators may be held civilly or criminally responsible for its abrogation. The power to regulate marijuana reverted from civil to criminal law. Marijuana's development did not halt, then, it just articulated with illegality under a resurgent federal prohibition.