Also Recommended: New Taxes, Ban on GMO, Provisional Licensing Program
The 13 member Santa Cruz County Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee (C4) tasked with developing recommendations on the regulation of cannabis cultivation in Santa Cruz County is recommending a ban on all GMO cannabis and almost all home grown plants.
(Cultivation strictly for personal medical use – no sale or donation, would be allowed, with some restrictions.)
They also recommended giving licensing priority to growers and sites where cultivation has occurred prior to Jan 1, 2016 with a provisional licensing program for grows that meet “basic standards”.
Contention and Chaos over Cannabis Committee Report will Delay BOS Action
The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors (BOS) was expected to take up cannabis cultivation at their next regular meeting on April 12. At this time it appears the matter will be put off until April 19th at the earliest because the Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee has failed to reach agreement on some of their recommendations.
Last December, the BOS approved adding a new chapter to the County Code creating the “Medical Cannabis Cultivation Licensing Program” (MCCLP). They also approved two categories of commercial cannabis cultivation and extended the term of their 13 member Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee (C4). They asked the committee to provide additional recommendations for indoor and outdoor cultivation as well as to consider other issues related to business of medical cannabis like processing, distribution, transport, testing, etc.
TREVOR LUXON, ATTORNEY-AT-LAW
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.
If anyone is telling you they know what the legal landscape for medical cannabis will be in Santa Cruz County this year or next they are pulling your leg. There are more initiatives, proposals and opinions going around regarding the regulation of cannabis now than at any time in the last 20 years with more likely to come.
Under current Santa Cruz County ordinance 7.126, commercial cultivation is illegal. Violators are given “limited immunity” from prosecution if they follow certain enumerated conditions like limiting the size of their grow to 99 plants and selling only to one of the local dispensaries.
A year ago the County Board of Supervisors (BOS) responding to claims that the ordinance had failed and was unworkable, voted 3-2 to completely ban cultivation except for personal use. That action resulted in a rapid and widespread backlash by local cannabis growers and advocates. A campaign was quickly organized to gather signatures for a referendum effectively suspending the implementation of the ban. Rather than risk a ballot initiative asking voters to uphold the ban, the BOS voted to rescind it and revert to the previous ordinance (7.126).
The following statement in favor of a new cannabis licensing ordinance for the City of Greenfield was written by Mic Steinmann, Community Services Director of Greenfield, in the staff report for the January 12, 2016 city council meeting.
STATEMENT OF COMMUNITY SERVICES DIRECTOR
Allowing dispensaries and cultivation and manufacturing facilities is the right thing to do. It is also the moral thing to do. The people of California and the State legislature have clearly stated that the people of California have a right to use, possess, and purchase medical marijuana – this is the law of California – this is the right of ALL people. The legislature has enacted laws to protect and promote the exercise of that right and to provide a mechanism whereby the people can exercise that right in a lawful, safe, and supportive environment. As a city, we should also support that right, just as we should support all other rights of the people. That is a basic function of government – to support, protect, and enhance the rights of its citizens. It is not our right to pick and choose which rights we will support, which we will encourage, which we will impose barriers to their exercise, and which we will make more inconvenient for the residents of our community to exercise. It is not our right to tell our residents that they may exercise their rights, not in our community, but somewhere else.
Following last week’s Board of Supervisors unanimous agreement to give the group a 6 month extension, the 13 appointees on the Santa Cruz County Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee (C4) will meet on Tuesday to begin planning their future. The Committee will also expand their focus beyond cultivation to other facets of the business of medical cannabis in Santa Cruz County like processing, distribution, transport, testing and licensing.
The C4 had previously discussed completing recommendations regarding cultivation by March before addressing the wider range of issues that will need to be resolved before the County begins issuing licenses as early as June.
Before getting to their 2016 calendar however they will take up the draft ordinance they voted to support just days before it went before the BOS.
The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors held a meeting on Tuesday, December 8 regarding cannabis cultivation
The following is what Cannabis Advocates Alliance has submitted to the county in regards to the Board of Supervisors proposal.
SASHA BRODSKY ATTORNEY AT LAW
1362 PACIFIC AVENUE, SUITE 219 SANTA CRUZ, CA 95060 (424) 262-1516 email@example.com
December 8, 2015
On Behalf of CAA
Re: County Counsel/C4 Presentation to BOS
Dear Board of Supervisors (BOS):
Cannabis Advocates Alliance (CAA) applauds your creation of the Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee (C4). The BOS formed C4 for Santa Cruz community and local cannabis stakeholders to discuss, debate, and draft sensible local cannabis ordinance recommendations to the BOS.
Members of the Santa Cruz County Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee met Thursday afternoon in the Board chambers in what was supposed to be a final dress rehearsal for their presentation of preliminary recommendations to the Supervisors on Tuesday. Instead, County Counsel Dana McRae presented a proposed a new chapter to the existing ordinance that would make Santa Cruz one of the first counties in the State to develop a local license for commercial cultivation.
The C4 had come to agreement earlier that the county should permit commercial activity but had struggled with specific language around size and location. They were set to offer recommendations that the Board develop an interim license allowing commercial grows of up to 100 square feet on parcels of at least five acres and to eliminate the restriction that sellers be tied to local dispensaries and drop the 99 plant cap on all grows.
McRae said her office was paying attention to the views being expressed by the Committee. Specifically the switch from plant count to canopy size and lifting the restriction on “in county only” sales were included into the new rules.
By Johnny Green
California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced this week that the organizers of the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative (CCHI) 2016 can begin collecting signatures to qualify the initiative for the November 8, 2016 California state election. The grassroots organization has 180 days to circulate petitions and collect 365,880 registered voters signatures that must be submitted to county elections officials by April 25, 2016. The CCHI 2016 allows for the legalization of Cannabis in the state of California by citizens 21 years or older.
To raise the funds for this effort, the CCHI 2016 is launching a pledge drive to solicit funding from businesses and individuals to help the funding of the Initiative that legalizes cannabis in the state of California. The campaign has set a goal of $900,000 in pledges that needs to be raised to fund professional petition gathers across the state. Every dollar raised will go to hire the professional petitioners.
CCHI 2016 proponent and activist Michael Jolson said, “We are confident that we can qualify the CCHI 2016 with this grassroots effort with both a mass mobilization of volunteers and an infusion of financial support to hire professional petitioners. With the re-legalization of Cannabis Hemp, we can help restore our number one renewable resource on Earth as we create a billion dollar economy through the emergence of Cannabis and Hemp industries. There are over 10,000 uses for Cannabis Hemp of which 50,000 commercial products can be made”
By Lanny Swerdlow
The importance of the Shaw case cannot be underestimated on so many different fronts. In a nutshell, Lynette Shaw who opened the first legal medical marijuana dispensary in the world in the small northern California town of Fairfax in 1997, had her collective closed by the maleficently evil US Attorney Melissa Haig in 2012.
She wanted to reopen but was prevented by a permanent federal injunction that had been issued previously forbidding Ms. Shaw from opening a medical marijuana dispensary anywhere in the U.S.A. forever! Ms. Shaw fought back in court and in September the injunction was lifted by Judge Charles Breyer, the same judge that had originally imposed it. She is now free to open her collective again in the welcoming town of Fairfax.
The lifting of the injunction by Judge Breyer was based on the Rohrabacher/Farr amendment to the Department of Justice (DOJ) funding bill. The amendment prevents the DOJ from spending any money enforcing marijuana laws against medical marijuana patients and providers in states that legalized the use of marijuana medicinally.