County Counsel Interpretation RE 7.126

331 Soquel Ave #203 · SANTA CRUZ, CA, 95062 (831)-854-7506 ·

March 18, 2016

Dear Friends and members of the Cannabis Advocates Alliance,

This letter is to present some positive news regarding the enforcement policy that the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office is currently operating under. These policies seem to be constantly in flux, with different explanations coming from different members of the county government. The intent of this letter is to update you all on the latest news regarding enforcement policies.

Prior to the last meeting of the Cannabis Advocates Alliance, I contacted Sgt. Frank Gambos, the head of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office’s Marijuana Enforcement Taskforce. My purpose in contacting Sgt. Gambos was to get information directly from the man who enforces the County’s policies, exactly what cultivators should expect in terms of enforcement in the coming year, so that they can make their preparations. Although there has been much talk that the County will implement new regulations in the near future, they have not yet done so and are currently basing the enforcement policy off of Santa Cruz County Code Section 7.126.

During my discussion with Sgt. Gambos, he expressed that the policy as he intended to enforce it would be to only allow “commercial cannabis cultivation” of up to 99 plants with canopy sizes of 1000 (for properties from 1-5 acres), 2000 (for properties of 5-10 acres), and 3000 (for properties over 10 acres) respectively IF that garden was directly affiliated with one of the County’s brick and mortar dispensaries, and that all other gardens would be limited to a total of 100 sq. ft. There are also other restrictions based on zoning, setbacks, environmental concerns, etc. that I will not discuss here, consult SCCC 7.126, CAA, or other reliable sources for more information. Although that policy did not match my previous understanding of their enforcement policies, I passed this information along to those of you who attended last week’s CAA meeting at Boulder Creek Pizza.

The following day, local attorney Ben Rice, who also felt that interpretation of SCCC 7.126 was not correct, contacted on behalf of the cannabis community Santa Cruz County Counsel Dana Mcrae. During his discussion with Ms. Mcrae, she expressed to him that the County Counsel’s office did not intend for commercial cultivation to be allowed only in gardens operated by, or affiliated with dispensaries, but that commercial cultivation would also be allowed by non-dispensary collectives, so long as they had enough members to justify the garden’s size. This of course is great news for the county’s cultivators, as it allows cultivation opportunities for a much larger group of the community. This policy information has been confirmed with County Sheriff Jim Hart.

In other news, District 1 Supervisor John Leopold recently contacted the CAA board and informed them that the Board of Supervisors does plan to address cannabis cultivation through the passage of a new ordinance in the near future, but not until they have received recommendations from the C4 Committee. Although many are frustrated with the C4 process, this makes it more important than ever that the cannabis community make their opinions known to the committee. Show your support for sensible regulations by attending the upcoming C4 meetings, or if you cannot, by writing letters to the committee and/or the Supervisor representing your district.

Thanks and all the best,
Trevor Luxon