Urgent Call to Action for the Licensed Mendocino Cannabis Community

This Tuesday the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will be considering Consent Calendar agenda item Item 4f – Discussion and Possible Action Including Acceptance of an Update from the County of Mendocino Cannabis Program.

It is our understanding that some Supervisors are not fully aware of the various challenges being faced by operators in the program, and we believe it is essential that we as a community provide this critical insight for consideration so they can better understand the continued challenges that applicants and permit holders face. This is especially needed since most reporting by Staff concentrates on the program’s achievements and does not accurately present the continued difficulties from the applicant’s perspective. A good example is how the Equity report does not list the fact that ZERO money has actually been distributed to grantees. Another example is that MCP keeps reporting how many “incompletes” applicants had without explaining how many of them were due to staff errors or confusing instructions or portal technology limitations.

The more direct outreach each supervisor receives on these important issues from their constituents, the more they will hopefully understand the need to take immediate corrective measures, such as the ones outlined by Hannah Nelson and MCA in our Op Ed of January 12 and Hannah’s subsequent Local Fallowing Program proposal. She is also submitting a legal memo regarding the stalled processing of Contiguous Expansion Affidavits and the potential requirement that even those applications now go through a full SSHR referral to CDFW. We are so grateful to Hannah for her superhuman pro bono efforts on behalf of the entire Mendocino cannabis community, often at the expense of her personal life. But she can not do all of this alone.

We strongly feel that at this time the most effective way to educate the Supervisors is for individual operators in the program (YOU!) to be very clear about your personal experiences with the program, and the challenges you are facing. 

Specifically, we are recommending that you write directly to your District Supervisor and the full Board, copying MCA, for Agenda Item 4f on Tuesday with your answers to some or all of the following questions (details below), or by using the linked form ( https://bit.ly/MCP_Update_Form ) provided for your convenience. We have separated these questions into three categories. Ultimately the goal is to let the supervisors know about the effectiveness and clarity, or lack thereof, of communications between you and MCP.

We invite you to either send an email addressing some or all of the items suggested below, or to use a form we have created that enables you to say YES or NO to the items that apply to you with space for additional comments.  Whichever method you choose, it’s essential that we as a community make our voices heard on these issues.

1. Portal Questions

  • Have you been told in an email or other method of communication what standards must be met for an application to be deemed ‘complete’?
  • Have you been told in writing what the standards of proof are if you have to disprove a wrong assumption made by staff that could be the basis of a denial?
    • Do you feel an error or incorrect assumption made by Staff has led to you being deemed incomplete’?
    • ​​Do you know what the policies and procedures of MCP are for the Portal? 
    • Do you know how to locate them?
    • Did you understand the portal questions and instructions?
    • Were you able to upload the documents you needed/wanted to in the portal system based on the questions you were asked??
  • Do you feel that you have been provided clear directions on how to address any incomplete items?
    • Are all the forms and instructions clear and without errors by the MCP? 
    • Does the Portal allow you to attach the documents you thought you needed to attach? 
    • Did the instructions cause you confusion as to what items to attach in what location of the portal? 
    • Did you find that if you checked the box you thought was applicable, that you were not able to upload documents that you thought you would be able to upload because there was no place to do it unless you changed your answer?
  • Have you been marked incomplete?
  • Have you been marked incomplete more than once?
    • Were any of those times due to MCP error or Portal Limitations?
  • If you received multiple incompletes were the reviews consistent?
  • How effective has MCP been in answering your questions about the Portal?

2. Equity Questions

  • Do you feel that MCP & Elevate Impact have clearly informed you of policies, procedures and standards of success versus failure for your application?
  • If you are unclear on those policies, procedures and standards of success from MCP & Elevate Impact, how effective are they at providing clarity when you present them with questions?
  • Do you find it difficult to get timely responses from MCP & Elevate Impact?
  • Do the webinars offered by MCP & Elevate Impact provide you with useful, clear information?
  • If you have been required to make revisions to your specific grant application or budget, were you given all the corrections at one time or did they happen in small successive installments? 
  • If in successive installments, do you believe that the information could have been presented to you more efficiently?
  • Do you feel like the goal posts have changed during your grant application process?

3. General Program questions

  • Do you feel that you have a clear understanding of MCP policies, procedures and standards of success versus failure for your permit or application?
  • If you are unclear on those policies, procedures or standards for success in the program, how effective is MCP at providing clarity when you present them with questions?
  • Do you find it difficult to get timely responses from MCP?
  • Do the webinars offered by MCP provide you with useful, and meaningful way to obtain clear information?
  • Do you feel like you can participate effectively in MCP webinars?
  • Do you know what the policies and procedures of MCP are? 
    • Do you know how to locate them?
    • Are all forms you need on the website? 
    • Are they in the location they should be for the task you must perform?

In addition to these suggested items, we recommend including any challenges or frustrations that you have experienced related to communications with MCP to provide the Board with your personal experience.

If you would like to provide this feedback to the Board, but do not want to be identified for whatever reason, you can send your email, including your District #, to MCA’s Executive Director Michael Katz at michael@mendocannabis.com and he will remove identifying information (except for District #) before forwarding on to the Board.

This is a critical time to speak up about our collective experience and MCA is here to help in any way we can.

Please send all communications to your district supervisor directly as well as to bos@mendocinocounty.org, cobsupport@mendocinocounty.org and info@mendocannabis.com  

Make sure to include Email Subject: Comment for Agenda Item 4f on Feb 1, 2022

District 4 – Dan Gjerde gjerde@mendocinocounty.org,

District 3 – John Haschak haschakj@mendocinocounty.org,

District 1 – Glenn McGourty mcgourtyg@mendocinocounty.org,

District 2 – Mo Mulheren mulherenm@mendocinocounty.org,

District 5 – Ted Williams williamst@mendocinocounty.org

If you do not want to send an email, but would like to leave a message for the Board of Supervisors instead, you can leave a voicemail comment to be played during public comment:

 – Call 707-234-6333 and leave a voice message, up to 2 minutes in length, to be played during public expression/public comment, as it relates to the agenda.

– Speak clearly, being sure to state your full name and Agenda Item 4f at the beginning of the message

– Anonymous phone messages will not be played back during the meeting

Please feel free to reach out to Michael Katz at michael@mendocannabis.com with any questions about this Call to Action.

And be on the lookout for more communications from us in the next few days as we get closer to the Board meeting! The more engagement we can bring as a community the more likely we are to truly being heard.

#wearecaliforniacannabis #weareMCA #strongertogether #joinmca #mendocinocannabisalliance #community #sustainableagriculture #marketaccess #economicdevelopment #personalcultivation #cannatourism #mendogrown #craftcannabis #boutiquecannabis #knowyourfarmer #mendo #medicalcannabis #mendocino #emeraldtriangle #legacyrising #originscouncil #mendocinocounty 

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