Del Norte Cannabis Discussions Turn Into Bickering Session

What was supposed to be a constructive conversation about commercial cannabis in Del Norte County devolved into squabbling last week, forcing mics to be cut off before a five-minute recess.

Del Norte is working on a plan to repeal and replace an existing ban on commercial pot. The board’s cannabis working group meets regularly to discuss the matter. But the two entities have often clashed.

Jesse Davis, the group’s vice chair, recently filed a recall petition against two members of the board, Roger Gitlin and Bob Berkowitz. Unsurprisingly, the three men exchanged words.

The meeting is described as tense all the way through. First, Davis and Berkowtiz voiced their disagreements with each other. Then it was Gitlin’s turn.

Gitlin accused Davis, “a grower,” of exhibiting bias in the process. The working group, he added, is homogenous in its views on commercial cannabis which makes the process unbalanced and unfair. Gitlin then went further, arguing that cannabis is not a good product and that it can wreak havoc on a community.

In response, Chair Chris Howard said he wanted to issue an apology.

“I’m sorry members of the public have to go through some retaliation, so to speak, from individual supervisors,” he said. “We don’t take a stand on either side. We can kinda let our positions be known, but when we haven’t even made a decision yet, as a board, specifically on one item, whether it’s an ordinance or a new policy, the public needs to know that we have an open mind when were approaching these issues, and in this case in particular, at least what we’re seeing now is a closed mind.”

Gitlin attempted to respond and the two continued to bicker.

Attendees described the meeting as an embarrassment.

Read more on last week’s contentious discussion here