UKIAH 3/24/2017 — The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will have a special meeting with legal staff at 9am on Tuesday, March 28, to hammer out an ordinance regulating the cultivation of recreational cannabis.
According to a staff memo from Deputy County Counsels Matthew Kiedrowski and Brina Blanton, direction from the supervisors during the February 14 board of supervisors meeting left legal staff with some questions about consistency among the various sets of state and county regulations governing cannabis cultivation.
After the February 14 meeting, legal staff began drafting a new chapter of the county code, called Chapter 9.30, to regulate recreational cannabis cultivation. This was to be based on Chapter 9.31, which regulates medical cannabis cultivation.The board directed staff to amend Chapter 9.31 so that six of the 25 plants allowed under that chapter could be used for recreational purposes. Chapter 9.31 will still be in effect in parts of the county where the recently introduced ordinances regulating inland medical cannabis cultivation will not apply.
Legal staff requests board clarification on several items that may not adhere to standards of reasonableness determined by California’s recently enacted Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), also called Prop 64. Prop 64 allows the county to “enact and enforce reasonable regulations to reasonably regulate,” a standard that is open to a variety of interpretations.
Navigating the intricacies of indoor cultivation is a sticking point. The staff memo questions the board’s direction to allow indoor cultivation only on parcels less than ten acres, pointing out that the county’s recently introduced medical cultivation regulations do not place the same limitation on patient and caregiver cultivation that is exempt from a permit. Staff asks if the board “desires such a gap between personal cultivation of adult use marijuana and medical cannabis.” Staff questions whether some of the board’s other directions on indoor cultivation adhere to the state’s somewhat ambiguous standard of reasonableness, as well. These include a proposed ban on indoor recreational cultivation within 1000 feet of a youth-oriented facility, and a requirement that indoor plants be limited to 100 contiguous square feet.
The memo points out that the county’s proposed medical cannabis cultivation regulations allow caregivers to grow up to 200 square feet of cannabis for two patients, and that AUMA allows six plants of recreational pot, which could result in “200 square feet plus six plants of cannabis cultivation without the issuance of a permit.”
The memo suggests that “The County may be able to limit the amount of habitable space used for cultivation within a residence and require the rest to be done outdoors or within an accessory structure, consistent with all setback requirements.”
Legal staff hopes to prepare an ordinance regulating recreational cannabis cultivation that will be ready for a first reading after Tuesday’s meeting.
The text of the memo from the county's legal staff:Staff report 3.28
Sarah Reith [email protected]