Monterey County adds adult use marijuana rules, sets local oversight
Monterey County has adopted rules for a local adult use and medical cannabis market expected to be the third largest in a state industry projected to reach $7 billion a year, the largest in the nation.
Under revised ordinances adopted by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, commercial adult use marijuana operations in the unincorporated county will be regulated essentially the same as medical cannabis with only minor changes as the county moved to establish local oversight of the burgeoning industry.
At the same time, the board also indicated it wanted to address in the next year a series of remaining policy issues, including outdoor commercial grows, parks setbacks, onsite security firearms and others. County staff said those required further analysis that couldn’t be completed by the Jan. 1 deadline for establishing local cannabis rules before the state’s rules take precedence.
The board voted 4-0 to adopt the revised ordinances, which include inland rules and commercial business permits and licenses. They also adopted a resolution of intent to adopt coastal rules and a special North County land use amendment designed to allow cannabis business activity at the Moss Landing Commercial Park subject to Coastal Commission review.
Supervisor Mary Adams abstained from the vote over concerns expressed by several Big Sur residents concerned about the impact of the 600-foot parks setback requirement on the community’s long-running cannabis operations given its proximity to state parks there. In response, county Resource Management Agency director Carl Holm promised staff would prepare a report on the parks setback issue for Planning Commission review in January and return
Supervisor Jane Parker asked that staff bring back a report on the other policy issues by mid-year for the board’s review.
County planner Craig Spencer noted the setback issue only applied to a potential cannabis dispensary or retail location in Big Sur, and not cultivation or any other aspect of the cannabis business under the county’s regulations. He pointed out the county restricts those operations to zoning areas that don’t exist in Big Sur.
Big Sur residents argued Tuesday the county’s cannabis rules are unfair to the community because they don’t allow outdoor grows and include other restrictions.
Under the revised ordinances, both medical and adult-use cannabis commercial operations are regulated the same way, except for business permits designated A for adult-use and M for medical, and a 21-year-old age limit for adult use and an 18-year-old age limit for medical. The ordinances also now makes retailer and dispensary interchangeable, removes the transporter license while allowing local businesses to self-distribute with a license, and adds a specialty cottage permit type for 2,500 square feet or less of greenhouse and 500 square feet of indoor cultivation.
Grows are still limited to indoor, and zoning restrictions remain in place, while all cannabis business is required to pay the same tax rates.
Potential future revisions could include adding the state’s Type 12 microbusiness permit allowing cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and dispensary or retailer on a single site, and the state’s Type 5 large cultivation permit that won’t be issued until 2023, along with the range of other policy issues including allowing events and on-site cannabis consumption at businesses.
Also Tuesday, the board adopted a Title VI non-discrimination implementation plan, including a temporary analyst position, while postponing renaming the Equal Opportunity Office and Officer position the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Rights Officer position; agreed to postpone public hearings on the Measure Z oil and gas restrictions exemption procedures until 30-45 days after a Superior Court judge’s ruling in an oil industry lawsuit against the county over the voter-approved initiative; and approved a recommendation to the U.S. Geological Survey in support of renaming a little-known intersection south of Salinas from Confederate Corners to Springtown, rather than Campesino Corners as proposed by Stanford student and Salinas native AJ Alvaro.
The supervisors also adopted a resolution calling for the federal government to extend the Temporary Protected Status program for migrants from certain countries who do not qualify for refugee status to allow Congress to pass legislation providing them with permanent residency, and a resolution declaring a “shelter crisis” in the county through the end of 2018 focused on a declaration of emergency involving the postponed Safe Parking Program.
Source: Monterey Herald, December 5, 2017 6:58pm
Image Credit: Vern Fisher/Monterey Herald File
Read More: http://www.montereyherald.com/government-and-politics/20171205/monterey-county-adds-adult-use-marijuana-rules-sets-local-oversight