MENDOCINO Co. 12/6/2016 — Fifth District Supervisor Dan Hamburg reported today that he will continue to recuse himself from board deliberations concerning the cannabis ordinances. The county’s proposed medical cannabis cultivation ordinance has moved from the board of supervisors to the planning commission, and is currently in the public comment period. Because Hamburg rents property to an adult child who is growing marijuana with a permit under the 9.31 program, Hamburg has been recusing himself from all deliberations on the cultivation ordinance.
Now, the board is gearing up to craft regulations regarding other aspects of the cannabis industry. In preparation, County Counsel Katharine Elliot requested advice from the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) on Hamburg’s behalf, asking if the supervisor may “make, participate in making, and influence decisions of the Board regarding commercial medical marijuana cultivation,” given the situation with his tenant. In its response, which Elliot’s office received on November 28, the FPPC concluded that, “Because the Supervisor’s source of income will be favorably and materially affected by the decisions in question, the Supervisor may not participate in the decisions.” The letter goes on to state that, “We assume he receives more than $500 per year” in rent from the tenant who is growing pot. “Thus, if a decision will have a foreseeable and material effect on a source of income, including his tenants, he will have a conflict of interest” under the provisions of the Political Reform Act. Public officials are also prohibited from participating in decisions that could financially benefit their immediate family members.
Hamburg expressed disappointment in his supervisor’s report Tuesday afternoon, saying “I had hoped that I would be able to participate in subsequent considerations” of the county’s cannabis policy. But, he added, “I will abide by that decision, even though I don’t like it.” If Third District Supervisor Tom Woodhouse continues to be absent, this means that all deliberations about cannabis regulations will require unanimity among the remaining three supervisors.
7 December 2016 Sarah Reith [email protected]