Union columnist misquotes from Keene report on local marijuana trade

As regular readers know, The Union’s weekly columnist George Boardman struggles with the details in his reporting — or the major points for that matter.

It happened again this week. In his column on Monday Boardman wrote: “While nobody in a position of authority has ever made an attempt to quantify the amount of money pot generates in Nevada County, a Cornell University graduate student spent two years studying its impact on the county.

The student, Sara Keene, estimated last January that pot’s economic impact could range from an average of $416 million to $2.5 billion annually. ‘The (marijuana) industry contributes a lot to the local economy,’ she said. ‘The county should be having more of a dialogue.'”

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But according to The Union’s own reporting of Keene’s study on January 17, 2015, City Editor Liz Kellar wrote: “The numbers averaging the total value of pot production from 2008-2013 are startling in black and white — from a low average of $416 million to a high average of nearly $2.5 billion. Of course, Keene notes, those averages represent several years when the amount of marijuana seized was very high.

“But even when Keene averaged the years when only smaller-scale seizures took place, the figures are still staggering — from a low average of $106 million to a high of $640 million being generated by marijuana in this county, between 2008 and 2013.

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After working for smaller newspapers, George went into p.r. In this case, in inflating the estimates, he’s doing some p.r. for the Sheriff! LOL. BTW, does Brian Hamilton or Jim Hemig read George’s columns before they are published? Podunk.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

9 thoughts on “Union columnist misquotes from Keene report on local marijuana trade”

  1. This is all George can say before resorting to personal attacks: “Jeffy seems to have a problem with some of the statistics I used in the column. The same numbers didn’t concern him when I used them several months ago.”

    Instead, he ought to be apologizing for the mistake and running a correction. Will The Union run a correction for him? You can’t fix stupid.

  2. Jeff,you are absolutely right it is Podunk .The Union has always been a poor excuse for a newspaper even when you were there. Iam looking at the clock and Rush is on the air,ah KNCO a waste of radio spectrum.

  3. Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your work, Jeff. We moved here six months ago and have been shocked at the disconnect between reality and what is reported locally. Love the breadth of topics you address. FYI, I discovered you via Facebook.

    Liz Currie


  4. Jeff,my middle son who was born and raised here graduated from NU could not wait to get out of here.Moved to Roseville ten years ago and tripled his salary. Keep up your work,all the best

  5. Wait! We’re supposed to be attracting the college-educated millennials and creating the good jobs here, not the opposite. Well, we need a little culture change first.

  6. You can’t make this stuff up! Boardman: “I can’t see anybody commuting from the Tahoe area (to Tesla in Reno) for that kind of money.” I wonder if George stopped to think about where Tesla’s new workers might go skiing, boarding, hiking, biking, sailing or swimming on weekends. Who knows, these people might even shop or eat out in Truckee-Tahoe once in a while. LOL.

  7. The numbers from Ms. Keene’s research shows the County derives around $51 million a year from MJ and around $23 million a year from all other agriculture combined. That $2.5 Billion number is a statewide estimate.
    — if we got “$2.5 Billion dollars” from MJ in this county alone, with a “B”– let me see what would be the sales tax be from that alone? The BOS would shut up and all be drivin’ Tesla’s


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