Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Cannabis Committee Recommends "Provisional" Licensing for Small Home Grows

More Recommendations to Be Sent to Board of Supervisors

In another marathon meeting, the Santa Cruz County Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee (C4) added to the list of recommendations they are forwarding to the Board of Supervisors.

On Tuesday morning the The Board of Supervisors accepted a number of recommendations from their 13 member citizens group and directed County staff to consider how they could be incorporated into a new ordinance.  Later in the day the C4 met to consider a long list of additional recommendations including the creation of a “Provisional” license meant to provide existing cultivators with some time to become fully compliant with the the new ordinance while the County creates a local licensing system.  

While deferring on the specific details of the "provisional license", the group voted 8-2 to recommend small home growers be included in the program. In their previous meeting they had split 6-7 on recommending a license tier for home based occupations, effectively banning the smallest growers.

How the recommendation will be received by the Board of Supervisors remains to be seen but it does provide hope for thousands of current cultivators who felt they were being ignored in favor of larger scale operations.

In other significant recommendations the group voted in favor of allowing sales outside of the County, against a numerical cap on licenses, and to give priority to growers who could show proof that they had been operating in the County prior to Jan 1, 2016.

They also urged the BOS to pass a resolution calling on the Federal Government to declassify Marijuana from the schedule of dangerous drugs.

The full Board is expected to consider all the offered recommendations and others in the coming weeks. County staff is hoping to present language for the ordinance as well as an implementation schedule before summer.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Group Votes to Recommend Ban on Sale of Santa Cruz Home Grown Pot

Also Recommended: New Taxes, Ban on GMO, Provisional Licensing Program

The 13 member Santa Cruz County Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee (C4) tasked with developing recommendations on the regulation of cannabis cultivation in Santa Cruz County is recommending a ban on all GMO cannabis and almost all home grown plants.

(Cultivation strictly for personal medical use - no sale or donation, would be allowed, with some restrictions.)

They also recommended giving licensing priority to growers and sites where cultivation has occurred prior to Jan 1, 2016 with a provisional licensing program for grows that meet “basic standards”.

By a reported 11-2, C-4 members also voted to recommend a new tax measure for the November 2016 ballot.

In all, the committee voted on over 20 specific policy statements at their last meeting March 29.  They’re scheduled to meet again Tuesday (12:30 Simpkins Center) and take up an additional 40 or more issues that they will send on to County Staff and the Board of Supervisors as recommendations for use in drafting a permanent local ordinance.  

Supervisors will hear all of the recommendations on April 19th and give further direction to the County Counsel who anticipates presenting a draft of a final ordinance by the end of May.   

While the group reached unanimous agreement on the GMO ban, they split 6-7 on permitting the home grows. 

The recommendations, if accepted, would ban all grows of any size, indoor or out, on parcels less than one acre except for so called indoor “warehouse” grows on selected commercial and manufacturing zones (C-4, M-1, M-2, M-3). Cultivators in those zones could grow up to the maximum allowable state limit of 22,000 square feet. 

It's estimated that more than two thirds of current grow sites could become illegal if the current recommendations were adopted.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Santa Cruz County Cannabis Cultivation Confusion Continues

Contention and Chaos over Cannabis Committee Report will Delay BOS Action

The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors (BOS) was expected to take up cannabis cultivation at their next regular meeting on April 12.  At this time it appears the matter will  be put off until April 19th at the earliest because the Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee has failed to reach agreement on some of their recommendations.

Last December, the BOS approved adding a new chapter to the County Code creating the “Medical Cannabis Cultivation Licensing Program” (MCCLP).  They also approved two categories of commercial cannabis cultivation and extended the term of their 13 member Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee (C4). They asked the committee to provide additional recommendations for indoor and outdoor cultivation as well as to consider other issues related to business of medical cannabis like processing, distribution, transport, testing, etc.  

County Counsel Dana McCrae and her Chief Assistant Jason Heath, drafted what may have been the first local licensing ordinance in the state. At the time, it was offered as  a “foundation” with more “floors” and “finishing work” to come.  7.128 was adopted unanimously by the BOS but the previous ordinance 7.126 remained on the books.  

Additional confusion occurred after conflicting reports recently emerged, allegedly from the Sheriff’s office, giving the impression that the 7.126 would still be enforced but somewhat differently this year.  

Many County growers are anxious to learn exactly what the local legal framework will be as they prepare for their next growing season. Some are hoping to be ready to submit applications for state licenses when they become available.  A local license is a prerequisite.

Memorable 25th Meeting of the C4  

Despite meeting weekly, sometimes for 6 and 7 hours, the C4 had not reached agreement on all elements of their cultivation recommendations as of their last regular meeting on Tuesday March 29th.

Operating under a “nothing is final until it’s all final” approach and earnestly trying to reach the widest possible consensus, the C4 meetings have at times become tense as members circled back to issues thought resolved or they dealt with misunderstandings and disagreements about the process for addressing various sticking points.  

The last several meetings of the C4 were among their most contentious, with their last meeting, March 29th, almost ending before it started. Ultimately they met until late at night, long after most of the public had left.  

A number of C4 members expressed dissatisfaction that no final language options were available before or even at the meeting.  They agreed to proceed and did take a number of up or down votes but by their scheduled adjournment time of 7pm they were still considering a list of remaining unresolved issues.  They chose to postpone decisions on some but to order dinner and continue to work on others in hopes of finalizing something they could agree to send to the BOS.

Among the known remaining issues unresolved were those dealing with the smallest grow sizes affecting the largest number of local growers. Among their final votes late Tuesday, the committee split 6-7 on a proposal to license “home based cultivation”.

As a result, many of the county’s oldest small growers and established collectives would be banned outright and become ineligible for state licensing.

The C4 will meet again at 12:30 next Tuesday, Apr 12th, at the Simpklns Center with a goal of getting back on the BOS agenda by April 19th.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

2016 Santa Cruz County Cultivators Outreach Nets Lots of Numbers

Estimates on the total number of Santa Cruz County Residents who are growing pot vary widely but the first ever survey of local cultivators sheds some light on where, why and how cultivation occurs.

The Santa Cruz County Cultivators Outreach 2016, an anonymous online and paper survey, conducted by a group of Cannabis advocacy groups with cooperation from local dispensaries and garden supply vendors netted over 275 responses and a wealth of information.

70% of respondents say they are growing for their own personal use although many of them also admit to selling their product.  48% indicated they sell or donate product to local collectives or dispensaries and 30% say they sell outside of Santa Cruz County.

Local dispensaries reported $32 million in total sales last year but less than half of the growers indicated that some or all of their crop went to one the 14 approved outlets in the County.

Growers were asked about the approximate number of plants grown with various ranges from less than 10 to more than 1000. and the approximate square footage used to grow, using ranges from less than 100 sq ft to over 5000 sq ft.  Using the most conservative estimates, this group of growers accounted for over 40,000 plants on a combined total of less than 10 acres. 62% grow fewer than 100 plants.


Most respondents were growing outdoors, many in the Santa Cruz Mountains and nearly half in the Fifth Supervisorial district.  Among the largest growers by plant count more than half are in Districts 2 and 4 in the south county.  Overall 42% of all grows are indoors including 64% of the largest..  

Over 50% of indoor and 48% of outdoor grows are on parcels under one acre. 52% of all grows are on parcels zoned R(Residential) or RR (Rural residential).

The County Board of Supervisors will take up new cultivation regulations at a special meeting scheduled for April 12.  The appointed citizens committee (C4) formed to provide recommendations will begin finalizing their report at a special meeting on March 30th, time and place yet to be announced.

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

SLVHS Drama Dept Presents "Crazy For You" Mar 4-12

Crazy For You Musical 3/4 – 3/12 – "Crazy For You Musical 3/4 – 3/12
Tickets can be purchased in advance at

In an explosive production that critics call a “tap dance ’til the stage shakes celebration,” the San Lorenzo Valley High School Theatre group will present Gershwin’s Tony Award­winning “Crazy For You” in six performances March 4 through March 12 at the new SLVUSD Performing Arts Center.

Set in the 1930’s, New York banker and aspiring dancer Bobby Child is sent to Deadrock, Nevada, to foreclose on a theater. Instead, he falls in love with the owner’s daughter, Polly, and puts on a show in their failing theater to pay the mortgage and win her heart. Packed with non­stop Gershwin hits, the show explodes with spectacular production numbers, including “Slap That Bass,” “I Can’t Be Bothered Now” and “I Got Rhythm.” Bobby and Polly’s romance is animated by Gershwin’s best ballads ­ “Someone To Watch Over Me,” “But Not For Me” and “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.”

The cast includes an ensemble of over 30 singers and dancers supported by a six­piece live band. 

Will Guilford directs the show, Nicki Kerns is the vocal director, with Shannon Marie Kerr and Robert Jeffrey collaborating on the choreography and Dan Lingenfelter as the musical director..

Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., March 4-­6 and March 10­-12. Community Night is March 10th. Admission is $15 general, $12 for students, seniors and staff (and Community Night), and $10 for ASB card holders. Tickets can be purchased in advance at; and the Performing Arts Center box office 45 minutes prior to showtime on the SLV High School campus at 7105 Hwy 9, Felton, CA 95018.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Santa Cruz County Cannabis Cultivation Policy Remains a Mystery

If anyone is telling you they know what the legal landscape for medical cannabis will be in Santa Cruz County this year or next they are pulling your leg. There are more initiatives, proposals and opinions going around regarding the regulation of cannabis now than at any time in the last 20 years with more likely to come.

Under current Santa Cruz County ordinance 7.126, commercial cultivation is illegal. Violators are given “limited immunity” from prosecution if they follow certain enumerated conditions like limiting the size of their grow to 99 plants and selling only to one of the local dispensaries.  
A year ago the County Board of Supervisors (BOS) responding to claims that the ordinance had failed and was unworkable, voted 3-2 to completely ban cultivation except for personal use. That action resulted in a rapid and widespread backlash by local cannabis growers and advocates. A campaign was quickly organized to gather signatures for a referendum effectively suspending the implementation of the ban. Rather than risk a ballot initiative asking voters to uphold the ban, the BOS voted to rescind it and revert to the previous ordinance (7.126).

In the meantime the California state legislature passed a series of bills collectively known as the Medical Marijuana and Safety Act (MMRSA) which created a state licensing system with a variety of restrictions and conditions depending upon the size and type of operation.  Cities and Counties were assured they could maintain local control if they likewise passed specific ordinances permitting or banning cultivator licenses in their jurisdictions.  

Humboldt County became the first County in the state to begin accepting applications for local licenses this week.  Santa Cruz County, by passing what they said was an “interim” ordinance in December, indicated they would likely issue licenses for some commercial cultivation but details remain to be worked out.

So far this year 18 counties and over 200 cities in the state have enacted complete bans on all commercial cultivation while a number of other jurisdictions are still debating the issue.  .  

Locally the City of Scotts Valley adopted a complete ban on all commercial activities, save for “discrete delivery”.  In Watsonville an ordinance permitting large scale indoor cultivation appears likely to be adopted.  There is a ban in Capitola and the City of Santa Cruz has had an ordinance permitting limited cultivation since 2010. In Monterey County an ordinance is being reviewed that would allow large scale greenhouse grows.

In Santa Cruz County, the BOS appointed 13 citizens, including 5 cannabis community advocates to the Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee and asked them to try and reach consensus on policy recommendations.  Dubbed the C4, the group  has been meeting since September.  They have already recommended that the County create a licensing program, that growers be allowed to sell outside of the County and that plant count limits be dropped in favor of square footage limits. Additional recommendations are expected from the group sometime in March.

Meanwhile the County Counsel’s office has been meeting with the Sheriff and other County departments as they continue to “build out” the interim ordinance (7.128) which the Board adopted in December with the expectation that further enhancements and amendments would be coming. It remains unclear how closely the County Counsel will incorporate specific recommendations coming out of the C4 in any new language they present to the Board.  

Meanwhile some local cannabis advocacy groups are considering an initiative for the ballot that could put the decision in the hands of County voters as early as this June.  

Some neighborhood groups and other anti-cannabis factions are busy lobbying individual Supervisors to prohibit cultivation in different parts of the County. In addition it's an election year for three of the five Supervisors. One person has announced they will run against incumbent Supervisor Zach Friend who has supported a ban on any outdoor cultivation even for personal use in the Second District.

Also up for re-election is Fifth District Supervisor Bruce McPherson. McPherson initially supported the ban but lately has been open to finding a solution that ensures environmental protection while permitting what has been a positive economic activity in his district. In April McPherson wrote that "There have been growers in the Santa Cruz Mountains for decades and I expect there will be for decades to come."

Whether those growers can expect any resolution to their legal status will continue to be a mystery - at least for the time being.

The 13 member Santa Cruz County Cultivation Choices Committee will meet again Tuesday at noon at the Simpkins Center to continue their discussions.  The meetings are open to the Public.

Monday, February 1, 2016


SCM² Surveying County Cannabis Growers

Ben Lomond, CA. A local grassroots advocacy organization is conducting a survey of cannabis growers in Santa Cruz County.  The SCM² Cannabis Cultivation Survey 2016 will seek to provide data that policy makers can evaluate as they continue to develop a local licensing program expected to roll out in the next year.

Almost 20 years ago, over 70% of Santa Cruz County voters approved Proposition 215, the medical cannabis initiative.  Since then, several thousand residents have received the required medical recommendation which allows cultivation, with restrictions, for personal use. Since then hundreds if not thousands of residents have planted the crop.  Some indoors, in garages, closets or commercial buildings, others outdoors in backyards, greenhouses or remote parcels.  

Speculation varies wildly about the number and location of growers - both personal and commercial - as well as about the size of their crops.  How many growers and grow sites there are in the County remains unknown.

Last year over $32 million of retail sales were recorded by 14 local dispensaries.

Few believe those sales, as big as they sound, accounts for all or even most of the cannabis being grown in Santa Cruz.  Some growers consume all of their grow.  Others grow as part of a membership collective and still others sell some or all of their crop directly to consumers or processors both within and outside of Santa Cruz County.

The Board of Supervisors recently approved plans to license some small scale grow operations and regulations for larger operations are being contemplated.  How many licenses will be issued will in some part be decided by how many growers currently operate in the County.

Santa Cruz Mountains for Sustainable Cannabis Medicine (SCM²) is conducting the survey with the cooperation of other advocacy groups, local dispensaries, vendors and media outlets. The goal is to reach as many Santa Cruz County residents who are growing or planning to grow cannabis whether for their own personal use or for use by others.

The survey is available online by going to or in hard copy at local dispensaries. It’s completely anonymous and can be completed in a few minutes.  Results will be published and shared with policy makers.

About Santa Cruz Mountains for Sustainable Medical Cannabis (SCM²):
SCM² was formed in 2014 by a group of Santa Cruz Mountain medical cannabis cultivators, processors, patients and supporters in order to share information about proposed changes to the County medical cannabis ordinances.  They have held public meetings and forums to inform and gather information about medical cannabis cultivation policies, proposals and best practices.  They played a key role in initiating the petition drive to overturn the Board of Supervisors ban on cultivation and they have a seat on the County Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee (C4).

Saturday, January 23, 2016

2016 SLVHS Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

2016 SLV Athletic Hall of Fame:
Date: Saturday, March 26th
Time: 5pm Social/Cocktail Hour, 6pm Dinner/Awards
Place: Scopazzi's Restaurant
Cost of Dinner (includes a Prime Rib, Salmon or Vegetarian plate): $47.00
This biennial event honors athletes, coaches, teams and other important individuals who have shown excellence within the San Lorenzo Valley Athletics Program. These inductees are elected by the selection committee of the SLVHS Hall of Fame; however anyone, at any time may nominate someone for the SLV Athletic Hall of Fame. If you will not be attending the dinner, where nomination cards will be offered, you can submit your nominations to Athletic Director Mark Mercer via email. There is an official form that needs to be filled; all nominations will be considered by the committee. If a nominee is not selected, their name will remain on the nominee list for future considerations.
SLV High School is proud to announce the SLVHS Athletic Hall of Fame, Class of 2016:
1) Ashley Kiersted (1998)
2) Jeff Mercer (2000)
3) Hayley Durham (2002)
4) Andy Levitre (2004)
5) Matt Kiel (2006)
6) Cody Rodebaugh (2010)
7) Doug Morris (Honorary)
Mark Mercer
San Lorenzo Valley HS Athletic Director
Physical Education/Health Teacher
Varsity Boys Golf Coach
831 246 2517

Thursday, January 21, 2016

AmeriCorps NCCC Strengthens Community of San Lorenzo Valley

BEN LOMOND, Calif. – An AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) team, Blue Six, will be serving in Boulder Creek, Calif. from Jan. 12 to March 15. Blue Six will be serving with The Valley Women's Club of the San Lorenzo Valley and 17 other organizations to strengthen the community.
The Valley Women’s Club of the San Lorenzo Valley (VWC) works closely with the surrounding community to create awareness and to lead in environmental, educational, social, and political concerns. The Club is dedicated to community action and works closely with other local organizations to empower dozens of people, providing them with the skills and support to take a stand and make changes.
Blue Six with be helping to strengthen the community by removing invasive plant species in Highlands County Park in Ben Lomond, restoring local landscapes, and completing various renovations in and around the area. Other projects include building a kiosk for Garrahan Park, restoring bird habitat at Scott Creek Beach, and reducing creek erosion by building a bridge at Highlands County Park.
“The arrival of the AmeriCorps team represents the culmination of years of desire and hope to have restoration become an even more important goal of the San Lorenzo Valley communities. The Valley Women's Club of the San Lorenzo Valley, Santa Cruz County Parks, Boulder Creek Parks and Rec, and the community at large should be acknowledged for their support and education of this team. Their dedication to this team will advance the cause of restoration not only here but wherever the team members go in the future," said Linda Skeff, Chair of the Restoration Committee of the VWC’s Environmental Committee.

For more information about AmeriCorps NCCC please visit:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Ben Lomond Brewery to Take Over the Taps at The West End


Local Brewery Crawls Out of Santa Cruz Mountains for Tap Takeover at West End Tap & Kitchen

Brewing beer is challenging. Launching a business that focuses on brewing beer, easier said than done. On Sunday, January 24th, fourteen months of brewing, branding, and business formulation has laid the foundation for the launch of Humble Sea Brewery at West End Tap & Kitchen. Founded by three childhood friends, Humble Sea is a small craft brewery emerging from the redwood-wrapped mountains of Ben Lomond. West End Tap & Kitchen, a popular gastropub on the Westside of Santa Cruz, will play host to an all day tap takeover, featuring 8-10 of Humble Sea’s inventive styles. The event starts at 11:30 am. They suggest showing up before 2 pm.

With shallow pockets and hefty ambitions, Nick Pavlina, Frank Scott Krueger, and Taylor West teamed up in hopes of creating the next craft beer hotspot. Humble Sea Brewery operates on three core principles: great beer, community involvement and a well-designed beer drinking experience.

“Humble Sea Brewery has garnered an incredible amount of attention and hype before serving a single pint. Now is the chance to try a full lineup of their beers for the first time.” Geoff Hargrave, head chef and owner of West End Tap & Kitchen

“The support from the community has been a huge surprise for us. We’re just three local guys trying to build a business based on good beer and community involvement. People have responded and are thrilled,” said Taylor West, director of operations and cofounder of Humble Sea.

The soul behind the beer is Nick Pavlina, Humble Sea’s head brewer. After learning the craft from his father, brewing thousands of test batches and completing an intensive program at the American Brewer’s Guild, Nick set his sights on a career in the craft beer industry.

"Brewing beer has always been the perfect blend of art and science for me. We brew a wide array of experimental flavors through craft lagers, barrel-aged specialties and classic west coast ales and are constantly coming up with new styles,” said Nick Pavlina, head brewer and cofounder of Humble Sea.
Nick attempted to launch Humble Sea Brewery in 2012 but after his original partner tragically passed, the project was placed on the back burner. Three years later, Nick connected with childhood friends and local entrepreneurs Frank Scott Krueger and Taylor West and revisited his dream. Since, Humble Sea Brewery has taken shape. West, a manager at West End Tap & Kitchen, and Krueger, a design and marketing creative, helped form a balanced and energetic team.

With Santa Cruz booming as a craft beer hub, Humble Sea Brewery hopes to add strength to an already established community.

“Much like wine is to Napa, we want Santa Cruz to be recognized as a craft beer hub known around the globe. Our objective is to complement Santa Cruz’s existing craft beer industry and help it grow to its potential,” said Frank Scott Krueger, Humble Sea Brewery’s creative director and cofounder.

Humble Sea Brewery currently resides in the quaint town of Ben Lomond but plans on expanding to Santa Cruz by winter 2016.

For more information on the event here is the facebook event link. All are welcome:

More info about Humble Sea
Humble Sea Brewing Company is a craft brewery founded in the Santa Cruz Mountains, established by three long-term friends with diverse skill sets and relevant business experience. We are a brewery founded on three principles; beer, community and design. They brew small, experimental batches of beer in the Santa Cruz Mountains will be expanding to the West Side of Santa Cruz in 2016.

About West End
West End is a neighborhood eatery which showcases the flavors of a traditional pub with a California twist; using local, fresh and seasonal foods.Our food is cooked to pair perfectly with one of many craft beers and wines. Our chef brings French cuisine techniques to a simple and approachable menu for all to enjoy and afford! We are proud to offer healthy and fun kids choices along with mouth-watering house-made desserts and ice creams. Come in and be our guest!

Relevant Links