Untrimmed Candyland flowers worth showing off at the Mecca Cup 2015. Photo by Allison Edrington.
Untrimmed Candyland flowers worth showing off at the Mecca Cup 2015. Photo by Allison Edrington.

Update 1/26/2016: The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors passed the cultivation land-use ordinance on a unanimous 5-0 vote, followed immediately by applause from the assembled audience.

Original story:

Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will have on Tuesday what is likely to be the final public hearing for a medical marijuana cultivation ordinance that has been months in the making. Fast-tracked to keep up with the pace of California’s changing cannabis regulations and perceptions, Humboldt’s cannabis community along with other local stakeholders like the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) have been providing input at every stage of this ordinance’s creation.

Read the PDF of the draft Humboldt cultivation ordinance.

Balancing reasonable and reachable requirements with the need to protect sensitive watersheds and other community resources has not been an easy one. Small farmers and Humboldt’s niche have been spoken about at length. The ordinance reflects compromises and sacrifices made on many sides in order to create what proponents hope is the best first-attempt at regulating wisely in this NorCal region.

Below is the email Humboldt County Senior Planner Steve Lazar sent out to those who have submitted public comment or expressed interest on the matter:

Attached to this email you will find an electronic copy of the Board Report for next week’s meeting. The report includes the final draft of the Commercial Medical Marijuana Land Use Ordinance as well as a discussion of substitute mitigation measures developed in association with our CEQA analysis. Both reflect the combined decisions and direction of the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, collected and refined during the meetings held in review of this matter over the course of the past several months.

What is CEQA? The California Environmental Quality Act, is a statute that requires state and local agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions and to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible. Source.

Notwithstanding any minor corrections or clarifications, the Board intends to adopt this final draft of the ordinance Tuesday, in an effort to preserve and protect local control of cultivation activities (ahead of the March 1st deadline found in AB 243) and to have in place regulations for the upcoming cultivation season. The Agenda for next Tuesday’s meeting is available here –Final review and adoption of the Ordinance is expected to begin promptly at 1:30 PM.

As has been noted, the ordinance has been designed as a cautious but comprehensive first step. The Board has expressed their interest and commitment to further refinement and broadening of its scope and scale under future efforts and more detailed environmental review and analysis.

Much work remains as we negotiate this paradigm shift and begin to implement new regulations –in the coming months this will include implementation of the Phase III dispensary regulations, registration review, and initiation and development of subsequent phases.

I’d like to personally express my gratitude to all of you for your participation and attention during this very public process.

Thanks to your efforts, I believe the ordinance in many ways reflects the unique expertise, sophistication, and social capital grounded in Humboldt County’s cannabis heritage.

Steven Lazar
Senior Planner
Humboldt County Planning &
Building Department
Planning Division
3015 H St. | Eureka, CA 95501

P.S. Growers and other interested parties are encouraged to consider attending one of the upcoming clinics being held by the Regional Water Quality Control Board (more info below). Additionally, folks in Southern Humboldt may wish to consider attending the upcoming forum being held next Friday.


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