Pubdate: Thu, 02 Jun 2016
Source: Ukiah Daily Journal, The (CA)
Copyright: 2016 The Ukiah Daily Journal
Author: Adam Randall


Friday is the last day for submissions to Mendocino County's "Medical 
Cannabis Activity Registration," and as of Wednesday, the Department 
of Agriculture said it has received 58 returned forms.

Not to be confused with the Board of Supervisors actual medical 
marijuana cultivation urgency ordinance adopted last month, the 
county has offered "priority processing" for local cultivation permit 
applications to those who voluntarily complete and return the 
activity registration form by 5 p.m. Friday, though it doesn't 
guarantee that a permit will be issued.

By asking for registration, the county was hoping to assess the 
interest level of those who would be applying for cultivation 
permits. Registration could also be used to determine if growers were 
operating in "good standing," prior to Jan. 1, 2016 when new 
statewide medical marijuana regulations went into effect.

"That's as many as I would expect," Mendocino County 3rd District 
Supervisor Tom Woodhouse said of the number of registration forms 
collected by the Department of Agriculture.

Woodhouse, who has worked on the issue for the past several months as 
part of the county's medical marijuana ad hoc committee, said he 
expected fewer than 100, though that's a far cry from what he 
estimated to be 8,000 marijuana growers in Mendocino County.

"It's a big step for these people to take," he said.

The new urgency ordinance unanimously passed by county supervisors 
May 17 amended Section 9.31 of the county code, and sought to limit 
the environmental impacts associated with marijuana grows and 
encourage compliance. It now allows for an exemption, not 
elimination, to the longtime 25 plant per parcel county limit.

Under the urgency ordinance, growers cultivating medical marijuana 
before the ordinance's adoption, and who possess either a valid 
doctor's recommendation, are operating as a nonprofit with a valid 
business license, or who have a written agreement with a medical 
marijuana dispensary, and on a legal parcel of no less than 5 acres, 
may be permitted 50 plants on that parcel, and 99 plants on a legal 
parcel of no less than 10 acres.

The Sheriff's Office has been handling applications for the 
cultivation permit process for those seeking an exemption from the 25 
plant per parcel limit.

The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act will require state 
licensing beginning in 2018 for cultivation. To be eligible for a 
state license, a local permit must first be obtained.

Next up for Woodhouse is the subject of a marijuana tax he estimates 
will be brought before the full board within the next month or so, 
not to implement, but he hopes the board will direct county staff to 
do further research.

"It's time to have this conversation and do something about it," 
Woodhouse said.

For more on registering before the 5 p.m. deadline Friday, visit the 
county's Medical Cannabis Activity Registration web page at
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom