The idea of a legal outdoor grow site in Monterey County has long been talked about not only with the old school growers but also within the larger local industry and at the County level as well. District 5 has worked hard over many years to create, implement and work with the heritage growers in an effort to have a licensed, legitimate legal outdoor commercial cannabis business established – but after all these years why hasn’t anyone gotten licensed yet?
To date there have been very few outdoor cannabis land use entitlement applications submitted to the Monterey County Housing and Community Development Department. This is likely due to the outdoor pilot program zoning requirements and the cost associated with having your land entitled. For those who have submitted applications – knowing that they meet the requirements set forth on paper, they have no idea what is to come. The building department, fire code and health department requirements alone, even after one has gotten their foot in the door, will deter anyone from moving forward with the process. And these are just local requirements. The cost at the state level is equally prohibitive and includes navigating the requirements of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California State Water Board.
When one considers the cost of the County’s staff time to draft the ordinance and attempt to have a legal outdoor business it begs the question: why are the regulations so difficult for someone to meet? The ultimate goal is to get growers licensed. However, with the current regulatory scheme and the eradication enforcement that took place the last few months, it is unlikely anyone will get there. We need to work with the local industry to implement a process they can comply with. This will not only get growers licensed, it will cut down on the County costs of enforcement and eradication.
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.