Monterey County is working on a permanent ordinance to allow medical marijuana to be grown and sold in unincorporated areas.
“Because of our climate and our soils and our land, there’s a demand to allow for cultivation,” said Craig Spencer, Monterey County associate planner.
In July 2015, the state passed the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act that gives counties control of regulating medical marijuana.
Spencer has the task of collecting public feedback to help shape the ordinance.
The most frequent requests Thursday were to allow outdoor cultivation and asking for discussion about how permits will work for current county residents and those who may relocate to the area.
Joey Espinoza, Monterey County NORML deputy director and Coastal Growers Association president, is one of many in the meeting who support the growth and sales in Monterey County.
“We need to create a marketplace that’s safe for everybody, that offers a community benefit through tax revenue and gives people an opportunity to have a legitimate business,” Espinoza said. “The tax revenue, the jobs created, that will be huge alone,” he says.
Spencer said the majority of those attending the meetings are for medical marijuana in the county, but he has received a few letters from those who oppose it.
“A concern (is) that an operation has started nearby them. They have children. They can see it from their residence. They can smell it. They have concerns for security,” Spencer said.
Spencer will present the information from the three county meetings to the planning commission March 30.
The county’s temporary ordinance has been extended until February 2017.