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.
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We want to talk a bit about water planning and efficient water use during the season.
It’s clear spring is here. It is getting warm and early flowers are blooming. We’ve had lots of rain, especially recently. However, despite our heavy rains this winter, it is likely that the long term trend toward drought will continue.
It’s time for spring planning in order to assure a successful season. Thinking of growing from seed to get deep roots and strong plants? This year, as we always do, we are growing in the ground. Adding lots of compost and mulch to the growing beds to get them ready to plant.
And now is the time to get your water system and water plans in place.
Not many are thinking about water now, with all the recent heavy rains. There is water everywhere. However, weather experts all tell us our long term drought is likely to continue as a general trend even if we have occasional wetter years.
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).
Will you help us get some real answers to the questions about how many local residents are growing cannabis in Santa Cruz County?
Santa Cruz Mountains for Sustainable Medical Cannabis (SCM²): is conducting a survey of cannabis growers in Santa Cruz County. The SCM² Cannabis Cultivation Survey 2016 will seek to provide data that policy makers can evaluate as they continue to develop a local licensing program expected to roll out in the next year.
Speculation varies wildly about the number and location of growers – both personal and commercial – as well as about the size of their crops. How many growers and grow sites there are in the County remains unknown.
The Board of Supervisors recently approved plans to license some small scale grow operations and regulations for larger operations are being contemplated. How many licenses will be issued will in some part be decided by how many growers currently operate in the County.
State Officials and Experts Applaud New Report that Evaluates Medical Marijuana Programs Nation-wide
Patient Advocates Hope Report will Help State Legislators “Make the Grade” in 2016
By Americans for Safe Access
(Washington, D.C.) – Americans for Safe Access (ASA) issued “Medical Marijuana Access in the US: A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws,” today. The annual report evaluates the array of differing state medical cannabis programs across the country from a perspective often overlooked in policy debates: the patients’ and provides policy makers with model legislation and regulations. With dozens of states already seeing legislative and regulatory proposals in 2016, this groundbreaking report will provide state lawmakers with timely tools they need to improve their medical cannabis programs to truly meet the needs of the patients they are meant to serve.
Eighty-one percent of Americans favor the legalization of medical marijuana according to a May 7, 2015, Harris Poll. This broad support has led to unprecedented progress in state medical marijuana programs in 2015. Nineteen states introduced legislation to legalize medical marijuana during the year. In addition, many of the twenty three states with current medical marijuana laws passed legislation to expand or improve their programs in 2015, including New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Connecticut, Oregon, California, Washington, Maryland, Hawaii, Illinois, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. Other states, like Nevada and Vermont, expanded and improved their programs through new regulations.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.