Please review the following important Local Policy Updates
1. Hannah Nelson + MCA
After serving many years as Senior Policy Advisor, founding member Hannah Nelson is adjusting her role with MCA.
Hannah has decided it is time for her to put her attention to exploring litigation issues and strategies concerning the Mendocino County cultivation permitting program.
In addition to focusing time on potential litigation and client work, Hannah will continue to serve MCA through her work as Law and Policy Advisor to Origins Council (“OC”), the nonprofit education, research, and advocacy organization dedicated to sustainable rural economic development within cannabis producing regions. OC conducts State regulatory and legislative policy work as well as research and public education informed by impacts to rural legacy producing regions. MCA is a member organization and is well represented on OC’s Regional council.
While Hannah will no longer officially serve as Senior Policy Advisor to MCA, she is not going anywhere. She is still committed to local policy issues and will remain a resource for MCA in the local policy arena.
We of course remain eternally grateful for all of Hannah’s efforts and sincerely appreciate her continued commitments to our entire community.
2. Cannabis Processing in Residential Structures
After five years of hard work by Scott Ward and Hannah Nelson to get the county to provide an avenue for small cultivators to not have to have F1 occupancy structures to be able to conduct trimming, a path forward for people in certain circumstances was finally enacted! On October 26, 2022, the Planning and Building Services Director Julia Krog signed into effect the following Policy Statement:
Department Policy Statement No. 1: Cannabis Processing in Residential Structures
This can be found on a new subpage on the PBS website titled: Departmental Policies
Hannah Nelson and Scott Ward have written to PBS Director Krog to get clarification on some of the specific process related issues. While there are potential benefits for those eligible to utilize this new policy, there are potential pitfalls. Also, there are very specific conditions that could impact people with respect to their cannabis licensing in ways that are not immediately apparent by reading the policy. As such, Scott and Hannah advise waiting for further clarification and they have agreed to schedule info sessions for the public so that folks can make informed decisions about whether to undertake the steps necessary to utilize this hard fought policy.
3. In Good Standing (IGS) Portal Currently Open
Operators who have been designated ‘In Good Standing’ are required to resubmit their full applications through an IGS Portal. At the MCD meeting this morning, it was shared that only 6 of 140 IGS operators have submitted their applications.
Those 6 applications that came in between Nov 1 and Nov 14 are now being reviewed. Documents submitted between Nov 14 and December 5 will then be reviewed beginning December 5. MCD will repeat this two week cycle several times, closing the portal on Jan 31st.
MCD has indicated that any submissions after Jan 2 will NOT have the ability to make ANY corrections to their documents, so we STRONGLY RECOMMEND EVERYONE SUBMIT THROUGH THE PORTAL ASAP. The longer you wait to submit, the less likely MCD will move quickly enough to process any changes they may request from you.
IGS Portal info can be found on the County website: CLICK HERE
Here is the detailed schedule for the portal timeline provided by MCD:
- November 1, 2022, the In Good Standing Portal opens
- November 14, 2022, submitted applications will be sent to MCD staff for review
- December 5, 2022, applications submitted between November 14 and December 5, 2022, will be sent to MCD staff for review AND reviewed applications submitted between November 1, and November 14, 2022, that need corrections will be unlocked
- December 19, 2022, applications submitted between December 5, and December 19, 2022, will be sent to MCD staff for AND reviewed applications submitted between November 14, and December 5, 2022, that need corrections will be unlocked
- January 2, 2023, applications submitted between December 19, and January 2, 2023, will be sent to MCD staff for review AND reviewed applications submitted between December 5, and December 19, 2022, that need corrections will be unlocked
- January 16, 2023, applications submitted between January 2, and January 16, 2023, will be sent to MCD staff for review AND reviewed applications submitted between December 19, 2022, and January 2, 2023, that need corrections will be unlocked
- January 31, 2023, at 11:59 pm PT, the In Good Standing Portal closes
In Good Standing applicants that have been deprioritized are still able to submit materials through the portal. However, please note the materials will not be reviewed until deprioritized applicants satisfy the conditions needed to reprioritize their application.
Important information was presented at the MCD Public Meeting held Friday, October 14, 2022. All In Good Standing applicants are encouraged to review this information. Links to the slide show and the recording of that meeting can be found here:
October 14, 2022, MCD Public Meeting Links:
Video Recording: https://youtu.be/s0e3ELNHN5A
Slide Show: MCD In Good Standing Slide Show
4. Fallowing Submissions for 2023 Season Due Between Dec 1 – Dec 31, 2022
The County has put in place a program that will allow operators who voluntarily reduce their cultivation canopy to certain levels compared to their permitted canopy to reduce their minimum cannabis taxes accordingly.
While the deadline of Dec 31 2022 does not align with the farming season, it is easy to withdraw from the Fallowing program with no penalties if you change your mind. Due to this, we STRONGLY RECOMMEND any operator who thinks they might want to fallow next year to submit Notice of Fallowing paperwork this year, and to withdraw from the Fallowing program prior to planting if they change their mind.
Please note that there is a two-step process: (1) register the Notice of Fallowing, (2) file the Affidavit. Those that filed the Notice to Fallow and supporting site plan for the 2022 year must still file an Affidavit and whatever supporting materials are required in January of 2023. The Affidavit has not yet been posted to the County website.
Those that intend to Fallow in 2023 must file the Notice before the Dec. 31 2022 deadline and then later will have to file the follow up Affidavit.
CLICK HERE for the Fallowing Ordinance that was passed on July 12 and set up the Fallowing Affidavit program which is required to receive tax relief.
CLICK HERE for the Notice of Fallowing on the County website – (the form must be downloaded to activate the electronic signature field)
To register with this program for the 2023 season you must submit a completed Notice of Fallowing and subsequent site plan to MCDPOD@mendocinocounty.org by Dec 31, 2022.
There is NO fee for filing, and NO fee to withdraw from the Fallowing program when you are ready.
If you have a 10K sq ft Garden, you must fallow to 5K sq ft or below to reduce your minimum tax. If you have a 5K sq ft garden, you must fallow to 2,500 sq ft or below to reduce your minimum tax. If you are at or below 2,500 sq ft you must fallow your full garden to reduce your minimum tax.
If you Fallow your entire garden you will not have a Minimum Tax requirement, but everyone who Fallows will still be responsible to pay taxes on Gross Receipts for product sold per the existing Tax and reporting system.
When submitting the Notice of Fallowing, you should submit your most recent site plan, and clearly show ANY/ALL fallowed areas (update the legend on the site plan).
If you are fallowing just certain areas of your site, make sure it’s VERY clear which areas will still be cultivated vs. which will be fallowed. – show if you will still be processing, also show if you will still be cultivating immature plants, or if you’re fallowing your immature plant area as well.
Once completed materials are submitted to MCDPOD@mendocinocounty.org and MCD will process.
MCD recommends downloading the Notice of Fallowing, and not filling it out in the browser. Fill it out on your computer.
ONLY SUBMIT ONE APPLICATION NUMBER PER NOTICE OF FALLOWING
When submitting Use 2023 as Calendar Year for next season.
Read the full Notice of Fallowing before signing to know what you’re agreeing to!