Once again, cannabis issues dominated the Yolo County supervisors’ agenda, calling for another look at a green industry but narrowing their areas of concern.
The supervisorial chambers didn’t have enough seating for the public on Tuesday — staff placed extra chairs outside the chambers for overflow, but many elected to stand in the back for the multi-hour meeting.
Residents, growers and officials alike communed in regards to Yolo’s sprouting cannabis industry, which as a result underwent some changes at the hands of supervisors.[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-section” curated_ids=””]“I know what you’re all here for,” said Supervisor Chairman Duane Chamberlain at the head of the meeting, holding up a thick stack of public comment cards. “We’ll get to it.”
Yolo County, along with other counties and cities across the state have been working on pot policies ever since the passage of Proposition 64 last November which legalized the sale of recreational and medicinal marijuana. Prop. 64 also called on local governments to set up their own regulations before the law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
Woodland and Davis have also been at work on similar ordinance with Davis now considering the licensing of stores selling marijuana. Woodland’s Planning Commission meets Thursday for its first look at possible regulations, which will be modified and advanced to the City Council for its consideration in September.
Speaking Tuesday to supervisors were local government representatives, marijuana growers, potential growers and farmers along with those who use medical marijuana to ease cancer or other symptoms — each voicing some aspect of concern about the new policies.
However, agriculture commissioner John Young spoke for many saying “We need to see what’s right for Yolo County and modify based on what the state forces us to do.”
Young has worked in tandem with growers, the District Attorney’s Office and county government to lay the groundwork on interim policy for both medicinal and recreational marijuana.
Tuesday’s meeting marked another close look at interim cannabis cultivation policy in its infancy, allowing supervisors to tailor some of the key points regarding land use, residential impact, enforcement, fees, taxes and even the definition of “greenhouse.”
Young presented on the farm-based issues of the policy, narrowing his concerns to a few short bullet points. Those points reflected the county’s cannabis steering committee, which urged supervisors to continue along their current path after making adjustments. All said and done, supervisors would vote 4-1 in favor of that guidance with some caveats in mind. District 3 supervisor Matt Rexroad voted against the recommended action, disagreeing with some major points regarding taxation and regulation.
Deputy District Attorney Heidi D’Agostino also presented for supervisors and the public. She said her office’s biggest problem is handling unlicensed growers and separating them from legitimate growers in the eyes of the public.
“(Grow sites) are getting lumped together that don’t belong together,” she said. “It’s apples and oranges.”
She went into detail about the illegal cannabis providers, saying they are “100 percent going to the black market and undercutting (legal growers).”
Mainly, the committee coaxed supervisors to increase the distance between grow sites and residencies. If found in violation, those grow sites should be given the option to move their crops to locations of “less community impact.”
Moreover, Young and D’Agostino pushed for the ability to apply the “ultimate hammer” that is revoking licenses should growers violate the rules.
Young also pointed toward greenhouses, which could solve many of the “community impact” issues as well as work in the favor of growers.
When Chamberlain opened the floor for public comment, dozens of locals came forth to opine on the cannabis industry in Yolo.
Among them, Yolo Cannabis Coalition’s Eric Gudz expressed overall support and thanks to supervisors.
“We as a coalition are committed to the challenge,” Gudz said. “We are excited to earn our community keep in this resolve.”
Gudz was joined by many local growers, who said their operations not only bring in revenue for local government, but also support businesses and farms just a few miles off-site.
Other supporters pointed out marijuana’s health benefits, and how the plant has helped their lives.
Other speakers voiced their concerns about local grows, referring to scents and eye-sores they pose within their communities. Many local farmers explained that they only wished growers were more transparent about their intentions to plant nearby.
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