As most people would agree, we are not disappointed to put this year behind us and are eager for the fresh optimism the new year brings. The past year has been a time of tragedy, hardship and loss for so many in our world that one would be insensitive to not stop and reflect about the events of 2020. Despite the difficulties, as an industry we were able to persist and if you look carefully there were some silver linings.
Having the cannabis industry classified as an “essential business” not only preserved millions of jobs for Californians but it established the validity and the legality of the industry itself. There is no doubt cannabis businesses are no longer in unknown territory and are single-handedly saving counties throughout the state.
After over a year of working on the CEQA cannabis environmental document that included over 45 properties and 9.1 million square feet of greenhouse space, last week the Monterey County Board of Supervisors approved the mitigated negative declaration that all cannabis state applications require to be eligible for their annual license(s).
Also exciting is the news that several of our local cities have made the jump into the cannabis arena and have or are in the retail dispensary licensing process. The City of Marina issued retail licenses and the City of Pacific Grove is in the application process. Moreover, the City of Monterey is also considering allowing retail facilities within city limits and a vote is soon to come.
The County of Monterey continues to evolve regarding the compliance and licensing processes despite the obstacles many operators face. Since many of the large cultivation facilities began operations in early 2017 they have been bringing their building structures up to code to meet the fire and building code requirements. The permit process is lengthy and expensive and I encourage everyone to remain vigilant in the process.
For our office it has been a pleasure working with you all despite it having to be remote. We wish everyone a healthy and safe holiday season and look forward to new beginnings in the year to come.
Jennifer Rosenthal is a local cannabis and criminal defense attorney. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and does not reflect an official position of the Association.