Local License Fallowing Proposal from Hannah Nelson

While we are all working our hardest to create a solid foundation from which to start the coming season, it is possible that some folks would benefit from taking some time out from the licensed market without losing their current status and their investments by leaving the program completely.

Currently, there is a process to Stay an Application and an opportunity to not cultivate for up to one year (out of every five years) built into 10A.17, but these options are overly restrictive and arbitrarily limited in ways that are not optimal for licensees.  The incomparable Hannah Nelson has volunteered her time to provide a redlined version of the existing language in the ordinance and corresponding form.  She provided this proposal to the Cannabis Ad Hoc, and authorized us to share it with the community, for which we are sincerely grateful!

Here is the email that Hannah shared with the Ad Hoc along with the revised documents (linked below):

“On a pro bono basis, I reviewed the current cultivation ordinance and MCP form (there used to be another form for Permit holder Stay, but it was removed from the website and only this APPLICATION Stay form was present). I decided that the best chance that we have for getting this necessary reform done quickly was to conduct the bulk of the proposed ordinance redlining work myself. Attached are two documents: One that contains redline of existing ordinance provisions that would be implicated in both types of fallowing (for applicants and for annual permit holders). That document also has some comments in the edits that were tracked (in the column on the right side of the page) as well as some points relating to the need for specific components of any fallowing program, and an alternative to the simple ordinance strikethrough and additions if it is believed to be a better option (a new type F (for fallowing) permit).

I genuinely hope that the Ad Hoc can immediately bring this to staff, including MCP and County Counsel. As you know, time is of the essence. With the further delays in the Equity Grant Program, CEQA and Permit Application Processing, the increase in the state cultivation tax effective this year, the drought, and other extreme conditions, there is an URGENT need for a fallowing program that is reasonable and considers the current realities of the situation. Every applicant has VOLUNTEERED to be regulated and stepped forward into the abyss. No one thought it would be as torturous of a process (neither the County nor the applicants) as it has been and continues to be. Every one of these tax-paying businesses is tracked and traced at the state level. Accountability of state license holders is no longer the issue, it is now the County. At a minimum, the County needs to provide a reasonable fallowing program immediately. The tax year has begun, and decisions regarding spring planting must be made soon.

Thank you for your attention to this issue and any effort to EXPEDITE it would be greatly appreciated.”

She further indicated that from the beginning of the current Stay of Application process, it was envisioned in part as a tool to prevent denial of an application and to give the applicant a way to correct things, resolve issues instead of being denied.  It appears that the Board of Supervisors may be discussing this item on March 1, and we will let you know as soon as we have confirmation.

CLICK HERE to review the redlined County Documents

If you agree with these recommendations to support our licensed operators during this challenging time, please email bos@mendocinocounty.org to let them know you support Hannah Nelson’s Fallowing proposal.

The messages that have the most impact will include a few sentences about how these issues impact YOU directly.  Feel free to share your story with the Supervisors!

In the meantime, if someone gets denied, they may want to consider the existing Notice of Application Stay but would be required to follow the more restrictive requirements, including not having any cannabis inventory, until the changes proposed by Hannah are adopted.

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