March 6 BOS Meeting Recap

We have successfully flipped the script. Congratulations to all of the farmers for keeping it professional, respectful and solution-based during commentary at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting — a public input session for the upcoming cannabis cultivation ordinance.

“It makes my job so much easier when you tell me what you want and what you need,” said Supervisor Heidi Hall.

In less than two years, we have been able to turn the “forks and torches” attitude that the growers were known for into one where insightful commentary helps shape the future of policy that affects the way we do business.

In addition of nearly two hours of public comment that successfully explained the need for things like a transition period, 100-foot setbacks and the inclusion of Adult Use in the county’s licensing system, the board gave additional direction to staff on how to move forward with an ordinance.

Most of the conversation centered around the issue of whether to regulate personal grows and where it could happen outdoors: on parcels of at least 1 acre, suggested Supervisor Hall.

However, here are a few important points the Board and county staff discussed during the meeting:

  • Our message for the need to have an ordinance in place by May 1st seems to have stuck somewhat. The Board discussed the possibility of implementing a temporary permitting system for cultivation this spring. However, staff didn’t feel confident they could finished the CEQA study required for the implementation of an ordinance before then.
  • Discussion around Medical vs Adult Use did not seem to advance in favor of Adult Use and there seems to be consensus on starting with a Medical-only cultivation license.
  • The Board discussed capping commercial cultivation at 10,000-square-feet of canopy on parcels of at least 20 acres.
  • Supervisors discussed the possibility of a registry for personal grows so the county could keep taps on how many plants people were growing for personal use. The state currently allows six plants.
  • The Board also discussed limiting outdoor personal grows to properties of at least 1 acre.
  • Assistant County CEO, Allison Lehman said staff is gathering information about a cannabis tax for the November general election that would help pay for the cost of enforcing the cultivation ordinance.
  • There is still answers needed on zoning allowances for mixed light, indoor and outdoor Type 1 and Type 1C licenses.

Much more discussion and input from our industry is needed to steer the ordinance towards a place where responsible farmers are able to operate and be successful. Please continue to write to your Supervisor, encourage friends, family members and neighbors to do the same, even if they are not in the cannabis industry. The outcome of this ordinance will likely affect our local economy as a whole.

Here is HOW.