Top 10, No. 3 | Cannabis sales up amid pandemic

Editor’s note: According to readers at times-standard.com, these were the Top 10 Humboldt County news stories of 2020. Got something to say about this list? Let us know at [email protected]

Dispensaries saw increased sales in 2020 after the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Half a dozen dispensaries told the Times-Standard in March after the stay-at-home order was issued, they saw a surge in customers.

“It’s kind of what’s going on in the grocery stores,” Mariellen Jurkovich, owner of Humboldt Patient Resources, said at the time. “People are stocking up.”

Deliveries went up and people started buying cannabis in larger quantities, dispensary owners said.

“It’s not quite double” the usual sales, said Savannah Snow, co-owner of The Humboldt County Collective in Eureka. “I’d compare it to a normal Friday for us. Our Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday sales were quite a bit larger.”

Customers can only buy an ounce of cannabis a day at Eco-Cann in Eureka, but dispensary owner Jeff Poel said, “there are signs people are stocking up.”

“People are coming in and making $500 purchases, then coming back the next day and making another $500 purchase,” Poel said.

Later in the year, the city of Fortuna took a decidedly less cannabis-friendly approach, and chose to fine people $1,000 each day for growing commercial cannabis within city limits, an effort to further discourage pot growers after they have been “warned and approached” by the city’s police department.

Ryan Plotz, the city’s attorney, clarified in September that both landlords and tenants could separately receive citations under the new ordinance.

“Now, of course, with the tenants, we would probably be chasing them for payment of fines, and we may never see it, even if we get a court judgment,” Plotz said. “But hopefully, the landlord can enforce compliance when made aware that his tenants are racking up fines on his or her behalf.”

Casey Day, the Fortuna police chief, praised the shift to city-administered fines, saying it’s no longer “realistic” to rely on law enforcement to take care of illegal marijuana.

“All of this is due to decriminalization in California,” Day said. “This (ordinance) gives us some impact with the regulations that California is adopting.”

Top 10 Most-Read Stories of 2020

No. 1 | COVID-19: The pandemic that ate 2020

No. 2 | Humboldt County protests, large and small

No. 3 | Cannabis sales up amid pandemic

No. 4 | Humboldt County loves hamburgers

No. 5 | Mad River hospital loses 3 physicians

No. 6 | Video reportedly surfaces of fatal stabbing of David Josiah Lawson

No. 7 | Liquor licenses for 2 Arcata bars revoked

No. 8 | Crab fishing season ‘devastated’ by COVID-19

No. 9 | County takes on apocalyptic look amid haze of wildfires

No. 10 | Humboldt County allows more in-law units to expand housing stock

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