Happily isolated on California's remote Humboldt County coast, Arcata has long made room in its heart for marijuana. But the mellow days are coming to an end. Even Arcata residents who support legalization of marijuana have become fed up with high-volume indoor growing operations that take over much-needed housing and take advantage of the state's loosely written medical marijuana law.
The neighbors of these clandestine pot farms complain of the skunk-like stink of cannabis, fire hazards, rising rents, vicious guard dogs, caches of guns, illegal pesticides, and late-night visits from shady characters. Now City Council is fighting back: Measure I on next week's ballot would impose a 45% electricity tax on households, with minor exceptions, that use three times the amount of power a typical family home does. If it passes, it would be the first measure of its kind in the nation aimed at marijuana growers.