We’ve had quite a year, here at the Coastal Growers Association. With the passing of MMRSA in 2015 and the (now removed) deadline of March 1, 2016 for local cities and counties there has been a lot of action in regards to medical cannabis regulation. Three cities within our county and the unincorporated areas (the county itself) have passed ordinances in order to create a new regulated industry within our area. It’s very exciting times for most who have waiting for this change to take place in our County and also worrying for some who have been involved with this industry for years. Here are 5 facts everyone should know about Monterey County Medical Cannabis:
#1 – No Outdoor Grows Allowed: this is something Coastal Growers Association will continue to lobby against. The fact is a majority of existing cultivators in our county are outdoor growers. Many of our members are in fact, outdoor growers. Unfortunately the Board of Supervisors wanted to give it more time before looking into regulating outdoor grows. With the opportunity to launch legitimate marketing campaigns with the cannabis regulations becoming more clear, it is unfair for these folks to be preventing from cultivating the way they have been for years. Our organization looks forward to getting some sort of regulated industry established while we continue to lobby the Board of Supervisors to allow outdoor in 2017.
#2 – All License Types Allowed: the county ordinance will regulate dispensaries, cultivation, manufacturing, distribution (and transporters) and testing facilities. This certainly is a positive aspect of the ordinance that we are happy to see. There are not many other areas in the state that are allowing permits for distributors and many are timid about manufacturing. It’s important to note that Type 7, Volatile manufacturing will be allowed as well. Of course all of these permits will be only allowed in certain zones.
#3 – Taxation: the tax rate is going to start at 5% for dispensaries, manufacturing which will increase to 10% over time. Cultivation will be taxed at $15/sq ft for the first three years. We feel the cultivation tax rate is excessive and will continue to actively work with the Board of Supervisors to see this rate changed, especially in the beginning stages to allowed these businesses to get established. It’s important to note that the tax measure is tied to the ordinance itself, what this means is if the tax measure does not pass on November 8, 2016 then the ordinance will not be adopted. Look out for more information on Measure Y very soon.
#4 – Multiple Permits per Property: the ordinance will allow for multiple permit types on one property. We lobbied staff to make sure this was implemented. There are many reasons we wanted to see this but one of the main points we made was that the county wanted to revitalize dilapidated greenhouses which can be 100,000 sq ft and more. Without allowing multiple permits we won’t be able to revitalize the entire greenhouse, why spend money to fix up 100,000 sq ft when you can only get a permit for 22,000? Exactly, so this will be something that will provide much more opportunity for everyone to participate. We also explained to them why it would be advantageous to allow manufacturing on the same property that is cultivating, it helps with overall logistics and safety.
#5 – Personal Cultivation Permit: those who are cultivating for personal use only, will be required to get a ‘personal cultivation permit’ which we disagree with. There should be no reason a patient who is only cultivating for personal use should have to get a permit from the county. Our group feels this is intrusive towards the average patient and simply think this is overkill. This is something we’ll continue to lobby the Board of Supervisors about so we can get this removed. Especially when we consider the potential for Proposition 64 (Adult Use of Marijuana Act) to pass, how will the county enforce or account for this kind of permit? It’s just unnecessary and shouldn’t be implemented, but is a reality of the ordinance.