MENDOCINO Co., 6/2/17 — The Mendocino County Executive office has issued a formal statement with additional guidelines and instructions for the cannabis cultivation permit application procedures, as it rolls out in the midst of raid season. Short story — it’s complicated.
You still with us? Ok, so the gist of the new procedures set out by the county state that cultivators seeking a permit must go through the following steps
- Making an appointment with the Ag Department
- Submitting an application for approval with a checklist of items and documents for review
- Taking the checklist to the Treasurer-Tax Office to pay the initial non-refundable application fee, and then
- Returning to the Ag Department to receive approval of the application and submit it for processing.
The chain of events was set off by some raids earlier this week which we wrote about with lots of detail in a story published early this morning. You can catch up on many of the details there.
However, the wheels of government have turned some since that time, and some of the proposals and possible compromises that seemed likely yesterday have now been tabled. The proposal Sheriff Allman had communicated to local cannabis attorney Hannah Nelson earlier in the week would have allowed cultivator to pay their non-refundable application fees prior to submitting an application, with the caveat that they submit the application within 60 days — but the policies set out in the executive office statement do not allow for the procedure.
Nelson represents many cultivators in the county at various stages of compliance, including some who were raided this week, and who sometimes works with the California Growers Association. She expressed frustration with this turn of events, saying that what is an already difficult regulatory transition for everyone has been exacerbated by fear of raids. She began, “There is no good reason to require [this paperwork] up front. Give [cultivators] 60 days to get everything—all the documents—together. If they can’t, then shut them down. The county kept saying we’re going to give people time and work with them…it is absurd to require this right away.”
Complicating the matter is the fact that state level licenses are still just in the draft phase, meaning that local weed farmers must navigate two regulatory worlds, one of which is still a rough draft.
Nelson continued, “The fact is that there is no good reason why the county has to make somebody do a complete application less than a month after the ordinance was finalized and only weeks after the proposed state regulations, that mandate very technical provisions on qualifying…To demand the only legitimate way forward is to make people choose immediately between safety against raids or not thinking through a complex source of implications is patently unfair.”
The county has also set up a hotline, a cannabis information hotline: 1-844-421-WEED. Callers can do everything from submit a cannabis-related complaint to get details about the cultivation application process.
The full press release:
MENDOCINO COUNTY EXECUTIVE OFFICE
CONTACT: Executive Office (707) 463-4441
TO: MENDOCINO COUNTY NEWS MEDIA FR: MENDOCINO COUNTY EXECUTIVE OFFICE
Ukiah, California… June 2, 2017
COUNTY OF MENDOCINO ANNOUNCES CANNABIS CULTIVATION PROGRAM UPDATES
On May 4, 2017, the County of Mendocino launched the Cannabis Cultivation Program. Since that time, the County has been actively working on streamlining the permitting process. The following steps are required to submit an application for processing:
- Applicants must make an appointment with the Department of Agriculture to submit a cannabis application package, including proof of prior cultivation.
- The Department of Agriculture staff will review the Initial Cannabis Cultivation Application and complete an Initial Application Review Checklist
- Applicants must sign the Initial Application Review Checklist and take it to the Treasurer/Tax Collectors Office to make a payment of a non-refundable application fee
- Applicants must submit proof of payment of the application fee to the Department of Agriculture. Once proof of payment has been verified by the Department of Agriculture, applications will be accepted for processing
Please note that the Treasurer/Tax Collectors office will not receive payment for any cultivation permit application fees without having evidence of the completed and signed Initial Application Review Checklist from the Department of Agriculture.
Also, the County activated a Cannabis Information Hotline (1-844-421-WEED (9333)) for all cannabis related inquires,[sic] questions, and/or to be directed to the appropriate department associated with the inquiry. All interested parties will call one number for cannabis related inquiries. This hotline includes options on how to register cannabis complaints, where to apply for permits, where to pay cannabis related taxes, information regarding the building permit process, as well as general information regarding the County’s Cannabis Cultivation Program. “Having one central point of contact for cannabis related questions will greatly assist those who are in need of clarification or assistance with the program; we are extremely pleased to be able to offer this service”, commented Chief Executive Officer, Carmel J. Angelo.
Please note that permit applications are only being accepted for cultivation sites within zoning districts of the Inland Zoning Code. The current permit program does not address cultivation in the Coastal Zone. No more than two permits may be issued to a person or entity pursuant to section 10A.17.070 (D) of the Mendocino County Medical Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance.
For all information and resources related to the County’s Cannabis Cultivation Program, please call 1-844-421-WEED or the Executive Office at (707) 463-4441 or visit:
Released by:_____ __________________________
Carmel J. Angelo Chief Executive Officer