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

Jim Coffis

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.

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