On January 31, 2021, Sonoma County released preliminary draft language for a new cannabis cultivation ordinance, along with a draft of the associated subsequent Mitigated Negative Declaration. Both documents can be accessed on the county’s cannabis program website. Our preliminary reading shows that this language would be an addition to the existing cultivation permit process that could provide a pathway for those in some zoning classifications (DA, LIA, LEA & RRD with a minimum parcel size of 10 acres) to a local permit through the Department of Agriculture, Weights & Measures (the “Ag Department”). Some of the draft ordinance includes positive changes, such as the ability to obtain a county permit in a shorter time through a ministerial process at the Ag Department in contrast to a longer and more costly discretionary process at PRMD; however, there remain many questions about implementation, grandfathering in of current applicants and penalty relief operators, water and road regulations, how a ministerial permit from the Ag Department will allow operators to satisfy CEQA compliance for an annual state license, and the long-term viability of the cannabis industry in Sonoma County. Staff is still accepting suggestions, and changes may still be made to this preliminary draft; you can submit comments to Cannabis@sonoma-county.org with “Preliminary Draft Comments” in the subject line.
Check out this blog post from our friends at the Law Offices of Omar Figueroa for more details about what’s included (and not included) in the draft language.
In addition to our regular Member call on Wednesday February 24 from 9:00am-10:00am, we have also set aside Wednesday, February 17 from 9:00am-10:00am for review and discussion. Please contact us for the Zoom access information; all are welcome to this work session!!
You can also let us know how you feel about the draft by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback.