MCA Memo re: Agenda Item 5g, Hemp Pilot Program

October 4, 2020

Mendocino County Board of Supervisors

501 Low Gap Road

Ukiah, CA 95482


Re: Agenda Item 5g, Hemp Pilot Program-


Discussion and Possible Action Including Introduction and Waive First Reading of an Ordinance Adding Chapter 10A.18- Industrial Hemp Cultivation Pilot Program to the Mendocino County Code (Sponsors: Agriculture and County Counsel)


Honorable Supervisors,


Mendocino Cannabis Alliance appreciates the history regarding the Board direction on this item and in keeping with the spirit of that history, as well as current practical reasons, respectfully requests a re-scheduling of this agenda item.

The Board previously asked Staff to convene meetings to have stakeholder’s (Farm Bureau, MCA, and others) input prior to the development of a pilot program so that it was designed in a manner that addressed the specific technical issues concerning hemp and how a program could be designed to minimize the potential risk to existing cannabis permit holders and applicants.

After two meetings of the stakeholders, Staff prepared and brought forward the proposed ordinance for the pilot program as an agenda item on March 24, 20201. There were a number  of written public comments that were submitted, including by stakeholders, that outlined a variety of issues that were not addressed in the proposal that had come forward by Staff for the 3/24/20 Agenda Item.

While frameworks were discussed in the stakeholder meetings, no specific ordinance language was proposed, and the draft ‘Recommended Best Management Practices’ presented to the stakeholder group failed to address detailed regulations, critical to any hemp program, before it was presented to the Board on 3/24/20. The topics concerning specific regulations went to the core goal of ensuring that any pilot program minimized the impact to existing authorized cannabis sites.

In March, the matter was postponed. In the more than six months since that postponement, there has been no attempt to address those outstanding issues.2 Some of the issues include basic requirements like maximum size of hemp cultivation per site and the ability for the Department of Agriculture to adequately inspect for, and enforce violations of the prohibition of male pollen.n.

Specifically, at a minimum the following major discrepancies must be addressed prior to the adoption of any Hemp Pilot Program framework:

  1. There are no limitations placed on the scale/acreage of cultivation in the proposed ordinance. It is only stated that a property must be a minimum of 10 acres. Therefore it is feasible that a single pilot program licensee may be allowed to cultivate 100’s of acres of hemp. MCA previously recommended not more than 5 acres due to the extreme care with which crops must be inspected for male plants and branches. However, if the Ag Department does not have sufficient staff to adequately inspect that acreage on a weekly basis, then we would strongly recommend a much smaller limit. It is our understanding that additional factors pertaining to cultivation methods and testing capabilities would impact the Ag Department’s capability to closely monitor the program participants.
  2. Neither the frequency of Agriculture Department Inspections or the qualifications for inspectors have been addressed in the ordinance. MCA recommends that they should be codified in the ordinance. We do not agree that these can be adequately addressed in the promulgation of Agriculture Department regulations (10A.18.070) and are very concerned that the program will ultimately rely on self-inspection by the licensee rather than by qualified Department of Agriculture
  3. MCA maintains that there is not a safe practicable buffer distance between a hemp producer and a licensed cannabis farm in Mendocino County due to our topography, limited flat land areas, and the location of licensed cannabis farms existing throughout Mendocino County. The current proposed ordinance includes no specific buffer distance requirements at
  4. Organic cultivation methods are not required by the proposed
  5. Loss of crop value on cannabis farms due to hemp farming practices that cause pollen or pesticide/contaminant drift and/or leaching has not been
  6. Quality/contamination testing standards are not required by the proposed ordinance. At the very least we recommend that hemp produced in the county be required to undergo the same testing standards as cannabis, therefore limiting the potential for cannabis crop.

(See MCA’s 3/24/2020 memo for our detailed concerns about the items listed above, as well as our specific proposal to create a rebuttable presumption of causality that creates a private cause of action between a hemp and cannabis producer in the event of cannabis crop loss.)

Given the critical need to resolve program details that directly impact whether a hemp could be responsibly cultivated without creating crop loss for existing, authorized cannabis cultivators, and also given that the pilot program as proposed, while weak on significant details and protections, would require careful oversight of the program participants (once per week inspections) to help ensure against causing cannabis crop loss, and given the County is still in the midst of grappling with program administration and oversight of the Cannabis Program, and because the moratorium on hemp does not expire until February of 2021, we respectfully request that this item be further continued to December of this year and that Staff be directed to reconvene the stakeholder group to more thoroughly flush out the outstanding concerns.


Thank you for your consideration.

Mendocino Cannabis Alliance



1 The current version of the proposed ordinance was changed slightly in this “redline” version, but none of the changes related to outstanding program issues.

2 Ag Commissioner Donnelly did reach out to MCA at the end of last week and scheduled a call for today, Monday. October 5, 2020, regarding questions he had about MCA’s public comment from last March and spent a considerable amount of time on the phone with MCA representatives.


Working toward a shared vision of a thriving cannabis community in Mendocino County.

(Ukiah, CA – Thursday July 23, 2020) Today the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance (MCA) is launching its summer membership drive.  Having emerged as THE cannabis trade association in Mendocino County, MCA invites the entire Mendocino cannabis community to join in the effort of creating a sustainable future where all local cannabis businesses can thrive.

A trade association is a voluntary association of businesses organized on a geographic or industrial basis to promote and develop commercial and industrial opportunities within its sphere of operation; to voice publicly the views of members on matters of common interest. MCA is already working directly with the county on the many issues that plague our cannabis program. The more local voices that are involved in the conversation, the more effective MCA will be at fully understanding and advocating on behalf of the full spectrum of cannabis business needs.

In addition to representation at the local level, members of MCA get access to a suite of benefits, including a Vendor Discount program, inclusion in our Member Directory, the ability to be elected and run for leadership positions in the organization and more. At the state level, MCA, along with 4 other regional trade associations, is partnered with Origins Council to advance cannabis policy advocacy.

In the face of current challenges, especially at the County level, MCA’s board and committee members have put enormous effort into advocating for reforms to local cannabis policy and development initiatives, such as the cannabis equity program. At present the local cannabis program presents significant challenges for existing licensees and barriers to entry for those interested in entering into licensing. Now, more than ever, we must come together and build a stronger membership base to help craft policies that will serve the best interests of every sector of our industry.

Businesses or individuals interested in getting involved with MCA can get more information at https://mendocannabis.com/join/

If you would like more information on this release, please email Theresa Anderson at info@mendocannabis.com.


The Mendocino Cannabis Alliance serves and promotes Mendocino County’s world-renowned cannabis cultivators and businesses through sustainable economic development, education and public policy initiatives.

MCA’s Policy Progress Report

What We’ve Done For YOU

How MCA amplifies our policy voice and increases our power where it counts!

Beginning with most recent activities and looking back on the last eight months:

    1. First week of June, 2020.  In response to Supervisors reaching out to us, MCA drafts memos with recommendations regarding two alternative proposals to either move to a land use-based system or to revise the existing cultivation ordinance.  The memos were the result of a monumental effort by MCA, involving direct in-depth communication with state regulatory staff, conversations with individual Supervisors and County staff, and extensive internal discussions on the matter. 
    2. MCA pivots on a dime:  In the process of extensive communication with regulators regarding the feasibility of the two alternative approaches, MCA researches and reveals the status of the critical issue pertaining to the status of Mendocino County applicants in relation to State Annual licenses and suggests specific, concrete steps to resolve the issues in a timely manner. MCA then generates a memo advocating an “explore all approaches simultaneously” strategy  and broadcasts the urgency of completing the processing of Phase 1 (legacy) cultivators’ final permits because of the time-limit for them to obtain annual State licenses.  
    3. Direct Impact: From individual elected Supervisors to County staff, there is now consensus to prioritize our legacy cultivators’ ability to obtain state licenses and operate in the legal market.  Additionally, MCA has continually urged the County to streamline the process, allow for transfer of permits, and for acceptance of less expensive building permits than initially required. As a result, the County has reduced the paperwork required for initial and renewal permits, instituted a mechanism to allow legacy farmers to transfer their permits, and adopted an Ag Exempt Hoop House building permit.  
    4. Successfully advocates for the Board of Supervisors and the County to join the state in designating cannabis as an “essential” industry in the time of COVID.
    5. State Advocacy: In the Spring of 2020 MCA became a regional partner of Origins Council, a statewide cannabis policy advocacy, research and education organization devoted to the sustainable economic development of legacy cannabis producing regions. MCA, along with the Trinity County Agricultural Alliance, Sonoma County Growers Alliance, Nevada County Cannabis Alliance and the Big Sur Farmers Association comprise the Regional Council, which is the voting body on all public policy matters for Origins Council.  Please see  www.originscouncil.org for more information. 
    6. In February of this year, in response to  a survey MCA conducted with  the cannabis community, MCA suggested expansion to one acre for outdoor cultivation and different levels of expansion for other styles of cultivation. 
    7. MCA played a central role in helping to secure a $2.2m Equity Grant from the state, and stands ready to collaborate with the County in implementing it.  These funds are earmarked to assist members of the cannabis community impacted by the War on Drugs to help overcome environmental and building compliance issues, licensing, technical support, and other costs preventing our small cannabis businesses from fully participating in the legal commercial marketplace. 
    8. In January, MCA held three candidates’ forums that spotlighted all those competing for supervisorial seats in the 1st, 2nd and 4th districts.  The forums were well-attended and questions required the candidates to respond to specific issues important to the cannabis community.  It is accurate to say that the individuals on the panels revealed just how familiar and unfamiliar they were with our concerns. 
    9. Successfully advocated for the County to pass a Local Coastal Amendment to be presented to the Coastal Commission for approval.  This LCA includes every suggested amendment made by MCA, including allowance of multiple uses in a shared facility; striking the 100 ft setback from access easements; non-cultivation commercial uses in commercial zones with a use permit; allowing consumption at retail facilities as is consistent with state regulations; and providing more equitable fee schedules.
    10. Participated as an invited stakeholder in meetings convened by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors Cultivation Ad Hoc Committee to explore possible cooperative business models, to streamline the current ordinance, to troubleshoot the state CEQA issues and to help advance the issues important to small operators.
    11. Participated as invited stakeholder in meetings convened by the County regarding Cannabis Economic Development.
    12. Advocated with County leaders for expanding the tourism board beyond representation by only the lodging sector to include cannabis business representation, with funding to market other sectors of tourism.
    13. Offered a suggested policy toward Phase 3 operators (new cultivators), that would allow cultivation in  Rangeland zoning with an Administrative or full Use Permit, depending on size. 
    14. Consistently advocated that cannabis be considered an agricultural crop thereby relieving it of the unfair restrictions imposed on it because it is currently considered a “cannabis product” and not an agricultural crop like grapes and hemp.

MCA = YOUR Trade Association. What IS a trade association?

A trade association is a voluntary association of businesses organized on a geographic or industrial basis to promote and develop commercial and industrial opportunities within its sphere of operation; to voice publicly the views of members on matters of common interest.

Compare it with a grassroots advocacy organization. Grassroots advocacy groups are entirely run by volunteer members.  A trade association is a professional organization that effectively executes its mission and reaches its goals by engaging trained professionals in its work. – professionalism is how we build a strong and thriving industry!  

How Does MCA as a Trade Association Support Our Community?

  • Rapid growth in today’s competitive cannabis market favors practices that directly threaten our  high-quality processes and products.  By advocating for new regulations and supports like meaningful appellations, sustainable expansion and equity grants for small operators, we lessen this threat.
  • MCA supports our legacy community in its effort to survive and thrive in this new marketplace.  MCA helped secure an equity grant for the County to administer to those negatively impacted  by Prohibition and the War on Drugs.  
  • Locally-based cultivators, processors, distributors and retailers must work together to advocate for our values and culture that make our region unique.  Our strength lies in our unity.
  • Medium-sized businesses in our region have managed to scale up to compete statewide. Their success is laudable and MCA supports their efforts to compete statewide while supporting the survival of our producer region.

Mendocino Cannabis Alliance – YOUR Cannabis Trade Association Working for YOU!

A global pandemic and economic crisis ironically places our local cannabis licensees in a relatively stable financial position in the California market as we are deemed “essential”.  Now, more than ever before, we have a chance to influence cannabis policy and economic development.  

MCA is effectively representing our producer County in the current trend toward reforming and fixing cannabis policies in Mendocino County and on the state level.

    1. MCA’s efforts have moved the County and the state to deal with CEQA issues in a more time-sensitive manner;
    2. MCA works continually to identify obstacles and relieve cultivators of redundant and burdensome obstacles;
    3. MCA’s partnership with Origins Council has been key in engaging on state policy issues and building regional coalitions with other cannabis producing regions.
    4. MCA has an established track record of protecting and advocating for our culture and heritage; our multi-generational legacy of small family farms and medicine makers; our values of sustainability, cooperative business models; and our commitment to continuing to create the highest quality cultivars on the planet.

We’ve come such a long way already.  Join us in protecting and promoting everything we’ve spent decades to create.

Help MCA become a well-resourced, high capacity, professional trade association that continues to work for cannabis businesses in all sectors, so that together we thrive in the future.

We fight day and night to represent YOU and OUR COMMUNITY.  But we can’t keep doing it without your support.  


 Join MCA today

Amplify Your Voice at Our Town Hall Event on 10/5 Co-Hosted by Mendocino County

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Optimizing dime bags of pre-rolled honey oil dabs. Indica is like ‘in da couch’ like straight couch lock chasing waterfalls and milkers straight to your dome. Rasta! Just give us the whizzaa! Wake and bake indica hash at the dispensary in Oregon decriminalized.

The cannabis industry will gravity bong a cotton mouth pizza dipped in ranch. An ancient plant referenced biblically as the Holy Herb and gets your noggin’ rocked. Fully man, keif gummies are the indoor equivalent of body high super mellow. OG grandaddy purps with notes of diesel. Oh my gawd, they like totally know I’m high.

We Hired Ukiah Local Melanie Wagner as our Executive Adminstrator!

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MCA is Looking for an Executive Administrator!

Mendocino Cannabis Alliance (MCA) is seeking an Executive Administrator to begin work immediately upon hire.  The Executive Administrator will be working in Ukiah. During this interim phase, the Executive Administrator reports directly to the Executive Committee of the MCA Board of Directors until an Executive Director is hired by the organization, at which time the Executive Administrator will report to the Executive Director.

Compensation:  This position is full-time with a starting annual salary of $47,840 – $62,400. (This is an interim position opportunity, at 40 hours a week. The interim position is for a projected 3-6 month period.)

Deadline for Applications:  4/15/19
Send Resumes to info@mendocinocannabisalliance.org

Job Description: Work effectively to initially set up organization management systems and office protocols, and to administer the day-to-day operations of the organization with a focus on both organizational development processes and programmatic deliverables to our membership.  The Executive Administrator will work in conjunction with the Executive Committee, the Executive Director, Steering Committee and other MCA committees to execute the decisions of the MCA Board of Directors and implement the directives of the strategic plan in support of the MCA mission.

MCA Mission Statement:  The Mendocino Cannabis Alliance proudly promotes Mendocino County as a world-renowned cannabis producing region, and works to preserve this legacy by driving socially and environmentally sustainable rural economic development and public policy initiatives.

General Responsibilities

The primary responsibility of the Executive Administrator is to conduct the day-to-day operations of the organization associated with programmatic deliverables to MCA’s membership. This includes setting agendas, maintaining clear note-taking, creating templates, and disseminating meeting information. Additionally, the Executive Administrator will maintain consistent participation and active decision making as directed by the MCA committees and will help set, track and complete tasks and action items. Other general responsibilities include:

  • Take a proactive approach in establishing the best operating systems for efficient project operations and administration
  • Assist in MCA operational/administrative decision-making process
  • Participate in policy calls and help the director and relevant committee members digest important legislation affecting our membership
  • Maintain member support services
  • Administer day-to-day programmatic operations as directed.

Specific Duties of the Executive Administrator

Organizational Development & Administration

  • Update and maintain the master calendar
  • Update contact lists for all staff and board members as needed
  • Send out Google Calendar invite for meetings
  • Google drive maintenance: Organizing documents according to their category/committee
  • Ensure all state and local paperwork and forms are completed on time
  • Sort & distribute mail, responsible for mailing any correspondences or bills
  • Maintain cash accounting and bookkeeping
  • Ensure office is stocked with supplies, purchase supplies when needed including printer upkeep and ink supply

Membership and Volunteer Coordination

  • Update and Maintain Member and Volunteer Database
  • Ensure membership dues are up to date, checking online payment portal for bookkeeping
  • Management of Member Database and related software applications including website (WordPress), Memberpress, MailChimp & Survey Monkey and member database – how to add members, search for members and create emails from the database.
  • Help identify volunteer needs and match volunteers with opportunities
  • Communicate messaging to determine the nature of volunteer skills and harness them to serve the upcoming needs of the Alliance.

Policy Advocacy

  • Review upcoming agendas for BOS and City Council meetings and email the agenda to appropriate staff & board members.
  • Update and Maintain Legislative and Regulatory Calendar
  • Other duties as assigned by the Policy Committee or other MCA leadership.

Marketing and Communications

  • Monitor emails and disseminate information to the appropriate recipient
  • Update website and social media content regularly.
  • Keep a central database for ongoing resources developed by committees, such as marketing venues and platforms, media contacts, physical event venues, and contacts, etc.
  • Other duties as assigned by the Communications Committee or other MCA leadership.

Finance and Sponsorship

  • Update and Maintain Sponsor Database
  • Ensure that all deliverable to sponsors are completed on time
  • Other duties as assigned by the Finance and Development Committee or other MCA leadership.

Events and Education

  • Assist the Education & Events committee as needed with the booking, production, marketing and promotion, bookkeeping and other aspects of event production
  • Other duties as assigned by the Events and Education Committee or other MCA leadership.

Provide Office and Systems Support for MCA Committees and Officers

Some examples include:

  • Help identify volunteer needs and match volunteers with opportunities
  • Communicate messaging to determine the nature of volunteer skills and harness them to serve the upcoming needs of the Alliance.
  • Create and maintain list denoting the area of skill and level of willingness to volunteer as well as hours possible to volunteer or in an as needed or event/meeting based etc.
  • Keep a central database for ongoing resources developed by committees, such as marketing venues and platforms, media contacts, physical event venues, and contacts, etc.
  • Ensure membership dues are up to date, checking online payment portal for bookkeeping

Skills Desired

  • Highly organized and able to meet deadlines, including paying bills on time
  • Clear verbal and written communication skills
  • Proficiency in MS Office programs, such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.
  • Comfortable with spreadsheets such as Excel, and payroll software programs, such as QB
  • Create and maintain clear and logical filing systems, both digital and paper
  • Familiarity with the cannabis industry in Mendocino County in the context of state regulations and policy.
  • Experience with graphic design a plus.

Cannabinoid Profiles

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Polyculture and Biodiversity

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Taco Bell 4th meal with Doritos Locos tacos and a knife rip on the side. Wake and bake indica hash at the dispensary in Oregon decriminalized. California kush roll it up into a fat blunt for medicinal purposes to elevate your consciousness. Pass the duchie Bob Marley this shatter is hella potent. Indica is like ‘in da couch’ like straight couch lock chasing waterfalls and milkers straight to your dome.

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Dude you’re just being paranoid, don’t call the cops. Crystalized buds from trimming tasty weed pens THC sativa euphoric resinated dome piece. Legalize spliffs for recreational Snoop Dogg edibles pusher cannabidiol cartoons. Fully man, keif gummies are the indoor equivalent of body high super mellow. Toke up on the Pineapple Express with that sticky icky shotgun sensamillia.

Guatemalan purple haze grown outdoors by ganja shaman. Oh my gawd, they like totally know I’m high. Rasta! Broccoli bong butterfly gateway drugs to elevate your good vibrations. Optimizing dime bags of pre-rolled honey oil dabs.


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