Last week both the Trinidad and Blue Lake city councils moved forward on their restrictions on recreational cannabis in their jurisdictions and the Eureka City Council was set to take a look at its draft ordinance this week.
The ordinances in Trinidad and Blue Lake, with some exceptions, are similar to ones passed or in the works in Rio Dell, Ferndale and Fortuna. They prohibit outdoor cultivation, limit commercial cannabis businesses in city limits and require permits for personal cultivation.
The Blue Lake City Council on Sept. 26 unanimously passed the first reading of its cannabis ordinance, city manager Mandy Mager said.
“We’re all sharing ideas with one another,” she said about marijuana regulations most of the incorporated cities in Humboldt County have or are looking to pass.
The Trinidad City Council held its third discussion about the proposed regulations on Sept. 27, city manager Dan Berman said.
“They have given directions that they did want some kind of permit requirement,” he said about the last meeting where the issue was discussed.
To follow these directions, Berman said he added wording and guidelines about permitting personal grows that he pulled from Blue Lake’s ordinance.
“Based on the meeting … we are going to have something similar to Blue Lake,” he said.
“We actually used Rio Dell’s [permitting process] as a starting point,” Mager said.
The permitting process will ensure that personal cultivators are growing responsibly and safely indoors through inspections by building officials since outdoor growing is for the most part not allowed. Mager said the amount of the permit fee isn’t yet set but city staff is getting close to figuring out an appropriate amount that will balance staff processing and inspection time costs without being so costly as to be prohibitive for people who want their legal six plants.
“It will be based on cost recovery,” she said.
One difference in Blue Lake’s proposed laws are the fact that enclosed greenhouses, not hoop houses, can be used for personal cultivation as long as the greenhouse passes inspection and doesn’t break any rules for growing in an accessory structure, Mager said.
“The intent was to allow for natural light cultivation,” she said.
Other cities’ ordinances only allow for indoor cultivation using lights not exceeding certain wattages.
The ordinance that the Eureka City Council was set to discuss this week has many of the same restrictions including no outdoor commercial cultivations and permits for personal growing but differs in that there will be no cost for a personal growing permit and commercial recreational cannabis activities will be allowed in city zones where that same commercial medical cannabis activity is allowed, city manager Greg Sparks said.
“I think the permit costs are still the same as that are for medical,” he said about business permit costs.
Because commercial medical marijuana manufacturing is already allowed in certain zones, commercial recreational marijuana manufacturing will be allowed in the same districts.
The Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act gives local jurisdictions until Jan. 1, 2018, to pass local rules governing cannabis otherwise state laws will apply.
“We’ll have it in place before the calender year,” Berman said.