Several members have approached us about going to visit the Board of Supervisors to plead their case for a more reasonable ordinance that would give them a piece of mind for the next planting season and help pave a path towards state compliance.
Are you thinking about calling or visiting your Supervisor?
Here are a few key messaging points:
The Alliance team has been meeting with each Supervisor individually to advocate for changes to the placeholder ordinance while the county finishes hiring a mediator and begins the stakeholder process for the permanent ordinance. We believe the changes we are advocating for are a good step towards getting many farmers on their way to compliance.
- Compliance: Tell your Supervisor about your desire to comply with county rules that would still allow farmers like yourself to be part of a local cottage industry and part of the statewide market.
- Fines: The current fine structure, effective Jan 1, is poised to bankrupt many cultivators in this county. In addition, lack of a proper appeals process places undue burden on many small farmers. These fine are far more punitive than those set out in Land Use Code Section L-II 5.23 pertaining to non-cannabis building and safety code violations. They are also more punitive than the procedures set out in prior ordinances 2405 and 2349. Cannabis activities have been greatly decriminalized by Proposition 64 and MCRSA. Local support of cannabis activities as evidenced by the failure of Measure W and the county’s overwhelming support of Prop 64 would warrant a process that is more in line with Code violations as set out in the existing Land Use Code.
- Setbacks: Tell your Supervisor how you feel about setbacks. If you are anything like 90 percent Nevada County, it’s likely that the setbacks in the placeholder ordinance has rendered your property unusable for cultivation. The setbacks in the existing ordinance are measured from the indoor or outdoor cultivation area to the property line of any adjacent legal parcel under separate ownership. It’s important to express how these restrictions are NOT in line with the Board of Supervisors’ intent to lift the ban on outdoor cultivation, nor do they pave the way for even the most limited commercial cultivation in the county. In prior ordinances, the county saw fit to address this concern by requiring cultivation areas to be setback from a neighbor’s residential structure or outdoor living area. This arrangement protected neighbors while also providing more options for the cultivator.
- Square Footage: With the passing of MCRSA and AUMA, California has FINALLY developed the framework for a licensed and regulated cannabis industry. For the past 20 years, most farmers have tried to comply with the very vague guidelines that Prop 215 provided. In order for local cannabis farmers to be in a position to seek cultivation licenses from the state in 2018, they will have to show that their operations have been compliant with local regulations. The very restrictive cultivation areas set out by the placeholder ordinance do not provide a pathway for local farmers to position themselves as viable small farms in the future. A likely solution would be to increase the cultivation area so that is commensurate with the smallest licence type anticipated by the California Bureau of Cannabis Regulation, which is TYPE 1C under MCRSA and allows for 2,500 square feet of cultivation.
- Permission or a registry: In order to move forward with state licensure, all farmers will have to not only be compliant with local laws but also have some sort of local permit or permission. The Alliance recommended that the Agricultural Commissioner be required to form a County registry to authorize legitimate growers and business owners. The registry shall meet the requirements of local authorization for the 2018 planting season which is needed by local cannabis businesses to obtain statewide licensure. IT IS IMPORTANT to express to your supervisor the need to protect farmers wanting to abide by the law from being retaliated against by law enforcement. Also express the need for privacy. As medical cannabis farmers, there are some protections that farmers can seek under HIPAA laws (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), which provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information.
- The Environment: Some elected officials care less about the economic impact of the cannabis industry and more about the environmental impact, which is beautiful. We believe that a well-regulated industry can help solve many of the environmental issues that have plagued the cannabis industry over the last several decades. If you farm other agricultural goods such as food, tell your supervisor about it, and how important your land and its resources are to you. If you use cultivation techniques that focus on water conservation and soil biology, talk to them about it. Talk to them about how ladybugs can be used to combat aphids instead of using harmful pesticides. Teach them something. They will appreciate it. It is important to note that to obtain a state license an operator must be compliant with the State Water Board, CA Fish and Wildlife as well as have proper erosion controls. One must also follow the strict pesticide use guidelines
- The Economy: Most farmers know this: You spend the money you make in this community. You hire fine folks to help you with your garden. You may also contract with accountants, attorneys, bookkeepers. You maybe even rent tractors, or have soil delivered. Your children may attend local schools. You may even shop local and support your local farmer’s market. Show them the trickle down effects that your efforts in the garden have on the local economy. A recent study by the California Department of Food and Ag (CADFA) has shown that nearly 1000 operators in Nevada County are looking to apply for state licensure.
Code of Conduct
- Leave your fear at home: Decades of prohibition tells us why we are all scared, but trust us on kicking fear out and letting love in. It’s time to come out of the closet and begin painting a picture of the cannabis industry that is rooted in family, community and love for the environment and our craft. It’s time to collaborate on our collective future, and part of that is being able to be sincere with the our elected officials.
- Respect, always: We speak with the same kind of respect we hope others would give to us. We are farmers, patients, parents, business owners, entrepreneurs, and we aim to meet all the same kind of folk in different industries and areas of concern.
- Be succinct and clear with your message: Elected officials will hear organized thoughts. Be ready to speak to them about what you care about most. Be respectful of their time.
- Community sensitivity: Elected officials, community leaders and fellow residents may not always agree with us, but we allow everyone their fair say on the impact cannabis makes in their lives, even our opposition.
- Maintain discipline and a spirit of cooperation: If we are here to build bridges and cultivate a balance of regulation and business and advocacy, we need everyone at the table. Be willing to listen to their concerns also and thank them for the exchange of opinions and information.
Please address all letters to your district’s supervisor, include the name and district of your Supervisor:
950 Maidu Avenue Suite 200, Nevada City, Ca 95959
Send faxes clearly addressed to your district’s supervisor: Fax: 530.265.9836
Make phone calls to the following number and ask for your district’s supervisor, or schedule a meeting with them through the receptionist: Phone: 530.265.1480
District 1 Supervisor
District 2 Supervisor, Vice Chair
District 3 Supervisor
District 4 Supervisor, Chair
District 5 Supervisor
Other Questions to Ask Your Supervisor:
- I am interested in running a legitimate farm in full compliance, registering with the waterboard, and getting my property up to code, why isn’t the county interested in me moving in this direction?