Policy

MCA + CCAG Recommendations for 5/6 Planning Commission

In advance of the upcoming Planning Commission meeting on May 6 to discuss the new local cannabis ordinance, MCA has come together with the Covelo Cannabis Advocacy Group to provide the Commission with recommendations designed to create a better and more inclusive ordinance. 

CLICK HERE to read the memo! 

If you agree with our suggestions, please email pbs@mendocinocounty.org (up until 5 p.m. May 5) to share your support! 

After 5PM on May 5 you can share your support by emailing: pbscommissions@mendocinocounty.org

MCA on KZYX 4-15-2021

MCA’s Executive Director Michael Katz and Senior Policy Advisor, Attorney Hannah Nelson, joined KZYX host Jenn Procacci on The Cannabis Hour this past Thursday, April 15. They discussed the plight of the good licensed operators of Mendocino County and the need to protect them with updates to the new cannabis ordinance being consdiered on Monday April 19th by the Board of Supervisors.

 

CLICK HERE to hear a recording of the program!

 

CLICK HERE  to read MCA’s Ordinance Recommendations and Legal Opinion supporting the prioritization of existing licensed cannabis operators in Mendocino as they transition to the new ordinance.
If you agree with our recommendations please email bos@mendocinocounty.org and share that support!  Now is the time to raise our collective voices in support of Phase 1 and 2 operators.
If you send an email to the BoS be sure to include a few lines about your specific experience in the program.  Our goal is not to point fingers, but to share how the confusion and uncertainty inherent within the program has impacted you and your attempts to demonstrate compliance.
To view the materials posted by the Board of Supervisors for Monday’s meeting:
CLICK HERE for CCAO
CLICK HERE for Facilities Ordinance
CLICK HERE to sign up to make a public comment.  The Clerk of the Board has indicated that due to interest the Chair may wind up limiting comment, so it’s hard to know who will be able to speak and for how long.

MCA Recommendations for Commercial Cannabis Activity Ordinance


As many of you may know, on Monday 4/19 starting at 9AM the Board of Supervisors will be having a special meeting to discuss both the new Commercial Cannabis Activities Ordinance  (CCAO) and amendments to the existing Cannabis Facilities Ordinance.
 

MCA has chosen to take a focused approach on a few key recommendations for Monday that we believe are absolutely essential to achieve our shared goal of supporting the good licensed operators currently in Phase 1 & 2.  The need to protect this group is so important, and agreed upon universally.  To support this goal, we are working to ensure that our suggested amendments are added to the ordinance.  In short:

Continued operation for compliant Phase 1 & 2 operators. Continuous prioritized review of Phase 1 & 2 operators transitioning to the CCAO. Do not remove applicants from the program until they have a chance to resubmit a complete digital application for review.

 
 
 
We are also providing a legal opinion from Land Use attorney Peter Kiel regarding the supported legal justifications for prioritizing the Phase 1 & 2 operators as they transition to the new ordinance.  As we have heard repeatedly that there may be concerns around this prioritization, we felt it would be helpful to clarify the issue once and for all.
 
 
 
CLICK HERE  to read the CCAO Recommendations and Legal Opinion
 
 
 
If you support these recommendations please email bos@mendocinocounty.org and share your support.  Now is the time to raise our voices in support of Phase 1 and 2 operators.
 
 
 
If you send an email be sure to include a few lines about your specific experience in the program.  Our goal is not to point fingers, but to share how the confusion and uncertainty inherent within the program has impacted you and your attempts to demonstrate compliance.
 
 
 
To view the materials posted by the Board of Supervisors for Monday’s meeting:
CLICK HERE for CCAO
CLICK HERE for Facilities Ordinance
 
 
 
CLICK HERE to sign up to make a public comment.  The Clerk of the Board has indicated that due to interest the Chair may wind up limiting comment, so it’s hard to know who will be able to speak and for how long.

MCA Policy Call 4-15-2021

Please join us on Thursday April 15, for a special 5PM Policy call to discuss the BoS meeting from 4/12, and the BoS meeting coming up to discuss Phase 3 and the Facilities Amendments on 4/19.
The meeting will be held via Zoom, using the information below:
MCA Administrator is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Policy Call
Time: Apr 15, 2021 05:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7071019333?pwd=ODVTaEg0Ung1cUFLYkVMVDlSNllIZz09

Meeting ID: 707 101 9333
Passcode: 707101
One tap mobile
+19292056099,,7071019333#,,,,*707101# US (New York)
+12532158782,,7071019333#,,,,*707101# US (Tacoma)

Dial by your location
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Meeting ID: 707 101 9333
Passcode: 707101
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/keDuScT2th

MCA Memos for Special BoS Meeting on 04-12-2021

In advance of tomorrow’s Board of Supervisors meeting, MCA has prepared the following memos:

We have also created a memo for Public Expression to share some of the positive stories from some of the good operators in our community to combat fear and stigma around participants in the cannabis program.  CLICK HERE to check it out!

We encourage you to read these memos, and if you agree, please email bos@mendocinocounty.org with your support!

If you would like to make a Public Comment on any of the above items CLICK HERE to sign up!

CEQA Process Letters Due to CDFA by April 5!

A response t{“type”:”inserter”,”blocks”:[{“clientId”:”bfdcaf32-917d-4f27-830a-37b2e0efb101″,”name”:”core/image”,”isValid”:true,”attributes”:{“alt”:””},”innerBlocks”:[]}]}o CDFA on your CEQA Process is due by April 5th.  Here is the email sent by CDFA on March 5:

Hello CalCannabis Cultivation Licensees:

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has been working with Mendocino County (County) to develop a pathway for provisional license holders to obtain evidence of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance to fulfill CDFA regulation requirements.

At the County Board of Supervisors meeting on February 9, 2021, the County Board of Supervisors approved a motion providing further direction to provisional licensees within the County for obtaining CEQA compliance. Provisional licensees who obtained local approval under the County’s phase 1 program, may qualify for annual licenses once they have completed an Appendix G Checklist and the County has signed off on the checklist. Because CEQA requirements are complicated and highly technical, the cultivator is strongly encouraged to hire a third-party CEQA consultant to complete the Appendix G Checklist.

The County also provided direction and assistance to facilitate finding an environmental consultant who could assist with preparation of the Appendix G Checklist that can be found here:

https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/planning-building-services/cannabis-cultivation/cannabis-ceqa-consultant-list

Compliance with CEQA is required to transition provisional licenses to annual licenses or provide evidence of progress towards annual license requirements to renew provisional licenses. To transition to an annual license, provisional licensees must meet all regulatory requirements in Title 3 of the California Code of Regulations section 8102.

By April 5, 2021, you must submit one of the following to CDFA through the amendment process:

  • A completed Appendix G Checklist signed and approved by the Mendocino County Planning Department. 
  • A completed “Evidence of Progress” template (CLICK HERE for template)

For licensees who submit an “Evidence of Progress” template, the CDFA will request updates every three months (July 1, October 1, etc.).

Failure to submit the information as requested above may result in the denial of the renewal of your provisional license.

If you need to make changes to the information submitted on an “Evidence of Progress” template, you may do so at any time by completing a new template and submitting it to CDFA through the amendment process. 

How to Submit Documentation Through the Amendment Process

Step 1: Log on to your Accela Licensing System account. All active license records listed on your Licenses page now have an Action link for an Amendment.

Step 2: The license information is to be provided first. You cannot change any of the fields on this page but please write a note describing the purpose of the amendment.

Step 3: Update power source, water quality enrollment and water supply as necessary.

Step 4: On the List of Documents page, upload the required documentation as well as any other updated scientific documents. Ensure that the cultivation plan meets all regulatory requirements.

Step 5: Review and certify the Amendment prior to submitting.

Step 6: Submit Amendment

Step 7: After submission, monitor the email address and phone number listed in your account for communication from CalCannabis regarding any possible deficiencies associated with the Notice.

For additional questions regarding regulatory requirements for cultivation licensure please email the CalCannabis Licensing Scientists at cdfa.calcannabis_scientists@cdfa.ca.gov.

For technical support or general questions please call 1-833-CALGROW (225-4769) or email calcannabis@cdfa.ca.gov.

Planning Commission Recap from 03-19-2021

Yesterday was a major win for cultivators in Phase 1.  The Planning Commission gave a resounding acknowledgement of the extreme struggle that Phase 1 has been, and the potential dead-end it may become for many existing operators.  Together, we asserted that small cannabis farms are both viable and a valuable contribution to the greater Mendocino County community.  We asked that the Phase 3 ordinance be amended to provide a workable bridge for Phase 1 applicants who need to migrate to Phase 3.  They listened.

If the Board of Supervisors accepts their recommendations, Phase 1 applicants would:

1.    be able to apply in Phase 3 with an Administrative Permit, not a Major Use Permit.
2.    be given a 30-60 day early enrollment window in Phase 3 before new projects could apply.
3.    be able to convert their Phase 1 application into a Phase 3 application with an abridged application requesting only the bare minimum additional information and documentation.

It was also a small victory for those NOT in the Phase 1 program wanting to apply for a Specialty Cottage Permit.  They recommended reducing the level of discretionary review down to an Administrative Permit.  This would be a significant reduction in the barriers to entry for those seeking to cultivate 25-plants of Outdoor, 2.5k SF of Outdoor or ML 1 or 2, or 500 SF of indoor.  MCA has continued to fight for the “mom-and-pop” gardeners in our community since Prop 64 passed and this small victory feels huge.

To be clear, there is still a lot of work to be done.  The devil is always in the details, and there are a lot of details still to be determined.

Furthermore, while the Planning Commission did not recommend expansion to 10% of parcel size in any zones, they also didn’t recommend a 1-acre cap.  The discussion was complicated and illuminated each Commissioner’s reasons for their position.  Three of the five Commissioners present were, at one point, in favor of a 1-acre cap, but it took four votes to send a consensus recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.  In the end, rather than simply informing the Board of Supervisors that they did not have a consensus on the issue, they tried to negotiate and ultimately ended up recommending that the Board of Supervisors consider a maximum cultivation area between 1-acre and 5% of parcel size.

MCA wants to thank everyone who spoke up, sent letters, joined our Policy Call, participated in the public discourse on social media and around the dinner table.

We especially want to thank our Policy Committee, Advisors,  Board of Directors, and our Executive Director for helping to shoulder the burden of advocating for our members and our community through such a consequential turning point in continuing to develop the Mendocino County Cannabis Permitting Program.

Here is a transcription of the resolution the Planning Commission is sending to the Board.  Next stop, the Board of Supervisors!

Motion from Planning Commission 

1. The planning commission recommends that the board of supervisors adopt ordinance amendment 082021 Dash 0002, making the changes to code sections as shown in the attached exhibit A and recommending the following additional changes.

  • Section 22.1 8.03081 be revised to allow for the drilling of test water wells
  • Provisions in section 22.1 8.030 regarding cultivation exempt from a permit are recommended to remain in chapter 10 a .17
  • Section 22.1 8.050a be revised to allow applicants previously denied on the basis of the four bullet points stated on page 4 of the staff report, as well as applicants who were denied for being non-responsive to request for information by the county.
  • Section 22.1 8.050B1 be revised to require an administrative permit instead of a major used permit.
  • Section 22.1 8.060 be revised to include a streamlined application process for applicants of phase 1 permits for an application permit under chapter 22.18, and also include a 30 to 60 day window of time where phase 1 applicants may apply for an application permit under chapter 22.18 before other application process is opened.
  • Section 22.1 8.060 be revised to include a requirement for applicants for land use permits on private roads to notify all property owners abutting that Private Road of The public hearing for the land-use permit.

2. Appendix A be revised as follows

    • Specialty cottage outdoor limitations be modified to be consistent with state law and regulations

    • For all specialty cottage cultivation types the permit required by the zoning table be changed to an administrative permit

    • Require a major use permit for all medium outdoor medium mix light and medium indoor on agricultural zoned parcels

    • Require a major used permit for nursery permits in agricultural and upland residential and RR10 districts

    • For small outdoor and small indoor cultivation types in the RR 10 and upland residential zoning district a major use permit is required

    • For small indoor and small mix like tier 1 and tier 2 cultivation types in the agricultural zoning district a minor use permit is required

 

3. The planning commission for the recommends that the board of supervisors consider the following

  • Consider whether to require renewable energy sources for medium indoor and medium mix light tier 1 and tier 2 in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions due to high energy usage

  • Placing an acreage limitation on the amount that can be cultivated pursuant to footnote six in appendix A. The commission was not able to reach consensus on a limitation but discussed a maximum area from 1 acre up to 5% of the parcel size but one commissioner recommended allowing up to 10% of parcel size in the range land zoning district.

  • Allocate appropriate resources to the department of planning and building services and the Mendocino county sheriffs office for permitting enforcement and oversight.

Commenting to the Planning Commission

Planning Commission Meeting –  Friday, March 19 at 9AM

CLICK HERE to review the MCA Phase 3 Proposal.
CLICK HERE to review the MCA Facilities Amendments Proposal.

We encourage you to share your support of our proposal with the Planning Commission. Please make sure to include a few sentences in your submission about what items are important to you.  Personal sentiments will definitely enhance your impact!

To support your efforts, we have created template documents you can use to send in your comment!  If you have comments on BOTH the Facilities Amendments (Item 6a) and the Phase 3 ordinance (Item 6b), you will want to send in TWO SEPARATE letters and note the Agenda Item number in the subject of your email.  There is one template for each item below:

CLICK HERE for the Facilities Amendments (Item 6a) Template Letter

CLICK HERE for the Phase 3 (Item 6b) Template Letter

To submit your comments by email:

To make a public comment during the meeting:

  • CLICK HERE to sign up for public comment.
    • you must sign up by 7AM the day of the meeting
    • once you sign up, you will receive an email with instructions for calling in

Feel free to email info@mendocannabis.com with any questions!

CLICK HERE to view the meeting agenda.

Meetings are live streamed and available for viewing on the Mendocino County YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/MendocinoCountyVideo

MCA in the Media: Supporting our Community

MCA has been busy preparing for the Planning Commission meeting coming up tomorrow, but we’ve also found time to have some important conversations that we think you might want to check out!

Board Chair and Policy Committee co-Chair Patrick Sellers joined Jenn Procacci and The Cannabis Hour on KZYX this morning to discuss the proposed Phase 3 ordinance with Sara Bodnar from the Cannabis Business Association of Mendocino County and Monique Ramirez of the Covelo Cannabis Advocacy Group.

They discuss the proposed 10% expansion, pros and cons, and what affect these proposed changes could have on the cannabis community.

CLICK HERE to listen to the conversation.

Patrick was also included in the following piece written by John Schroyer in MJBizDaily about the provisional license crisis facing cannabis operators throughout the state. Also in the article is Genine Coleman, Executive Director of Origins Council, a Strategic Partner of MCA focused on state-level advocacy for heritage cultivation regions.

CLICK HERE to read the article.

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