Though regulations are expected to be released at the beginning of next year in order for commercial licenses to be implemented statewide, Yuba County is considering taking the issue into its own hands by banning commercial cannabis activities altogether.

The Yuba County Board of Supervisors will discuss adopting a new ordinance that bans any and all commercial cannabis activities within the county at its meeting Tuesday. The board will hold a public hearing on the agenda item, but will have the ability to take immediate action because the item’s first reading was waived.

“County staff is recommending the ordinance to the board because there are too many unknowns to jump into permitting commercial cannabis activities at this time,” said Kevin Mallen, director of the county’s Community Development and Services Agency. “It’s a new industry, and regulating it has not been proven. There is a new bureau with a new process, which is a group that is not accustomed to regulating it, so we want to see what unfolds before approving it in Yuba County.”

[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-section” curated_ids=””]The Bureau of Cannabis Control is tasked with developing regulations for the commercial cannabis industry and is expected to release statewide guidelines by Jan. 1. By adopting the ordinance, the county would essentially notify the bureau to not issue commercial licenses within Yuba County.

“In order for the bureau to process a state license for a commercial cannabis activity within Yuba County, the bureau needs to be notified of the county’s position on the issue,” Mallen said in a staff report.

Commercial cannabis activities described in the ordinance include “the cultivation, possession, manufacture, distribution, processing, storing, laboratory testing, packaging, labeling, transportation, delivery or sale of cannabis or cannabis products, and including all activities related to cannabis that are not considered Personal Use.”

Yuba County residents will still be able to grow up to six cannabis plants indoors for personal use, but anything more than six plants is considered by the state to be commercial, Mallen said.

“Initially, we wanted to set up the ordinance as its own separate chapter, which will allow the board to implement changes in the future or to add in additional activities,” Mallen said. “Essentially, we are waiting to see right now if it looks like an activity that can be properly regulated.”

Special report: Cannabis and the environment.

The ordinance states unregulated commercial activities in Yuba County ‘can adversely affect the health, safety, and well-being of the county, its residents and environment. Comprehensive regulation of commercial cannabis activities is proper and necessary to avoid the risks of criminal activity, degradation of the natural environment, malodorous smells, fire hazards, and other hazards that may result from unregulated activities.’

The ordinance also states that outdoor cannabis cultivation is creating devastating impacts to water supply and water quality, including the “discharge of sediments, pesticides, fertilizers, petroleum hydrocarbons, trash and human waste.”

If adopted by the board, any commercial cannabis activities described in the ordinance will be deemed a public nuisance. The ordinance would take effect 30 days after its passage.

To subscribe to The Cannifornian’s email newsletter, click here.