State Officials Are Reviewing Cannabis Cultivation Regulations

May 26, 2017

The California Department of Food & Agriculture held a public hearing in Ukiah on Thursday, May 25, 2017 on the proposed state cannabis cultivation regulations.

About 25 stakeholders spoke. Casey O’Neill of CGA offered a number of changes, including: amending the state’s square footage count from the entire garden, including walkways and empty space, to square footage of the plant canopy; eliminating the burdensome track and trace system for small farmers, and allowing farmers in very rural areas to use generators, often the only power source available, in cultivation-related activities. A physician from Lake County argued that most current medical patients would be disqualified from cannabis use if, as the draft regs require, a patient’s condition must be “disabling” if it is not on the short list of specified diagnoses. The draft regs would also prevent patients from leaving their county of residence for medical treatment elsewhere. Seems unfair. What if you can’t find a medical provider in your county who is comfortable with or knowledgeable about the use of cannabis in treatment and wellness care? County Supervisor John McCowen and cultivator Swami Chaitanya made impassioned pleas to the state reps not make the standards so challenging that farmers are driven back to the black market or must stop cultivating altogether. The latter could mean economic disaster for the county. State reps did not respond or answer questions, just listened. There is a 45-day public comment period before the next draft regs are released for more public comment. You can find the draft regulations on the California Department of Food & Agriculture Web site. Final regulations will be ready to roll Jan. 1, 2018.

Credit Jane Futcher