April 20, 2018 -- During the cannabis update at last week’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting, several small growers voiced their concern that the current application system favors large growers.
Some growers are worried that under a streamlined permitting process, county permits won’t necessarily lead to the coveted state license. Kelly Overton, the Cannabis Program Manager, told the board he expected the number of permits to increase, as of Friday the 13th, because he planned to start using a new software system to process applications for grows on parcels in Rangeland zones.
And Supervisor Dan Gjerde floated the idea of starting to work on a coastal plan amendment, to open up the coastal zone to cannabis businesses.
In another cannabis item, the board held a hearing to repeal a chapter in the county code and amend the cultivation ordinance to include non-medical as well as medical grows.
Much of the discussion revolved around what kinds of permits would be required in forestland and timber production zones, as well as various definitions in the amended ordinance.
The board also decided that references to the Department of Agriculture or the Agricultural Commissioner include authorized representatives of other departments.
This was one of the definitions that Devon Jones, the executive director of the county farm bureau, did not agree with.
Jones was also concerned with the definition of disturbed land, which came from the State Water Resources Control Board Cannabis Cultivation Policy. According to this definition, disturbed land includes areas where natural plant growth has been removed by physical, animal, or chemical means.
Disturbance activities include water storage areas. In correspondence to the board and the county planning commission, Casey O’Neill of the California Growers Association argued that this is particularly problematic, since state agencies are requiring many growers to store water for the dry season.
The board will revisit the amendments to the ordinance at its next meeting on April 24. They will be enacted 30 days after that.