Hello MCCIA readers! It has been since 2019 that I have written for this publication and wanted to take the opportunity to welcome everyone into 2020. As I see it – with the various break-ups, compliance issues, bankruptcies, burglaries, enforcement actions as well as new and exciting products hitting mainstream daily - it is another year of evolution and growth for the industry. I encourage everyone to move forward in this new decade as a collective united group with one main goal of success for all as our mission mantra.
With that being said, there are several topics on the horizon that need our focus and I will touch on a few of them briefly below.
First and foremost, I would like to welcome Robert Roach to our team as the new MCCIA Executive Director. Mr. Roach is the former Agricultural Commissioner for Monterey County and has extensive background in all the fields relevant to the commercial cannabis industry. His knowledge and insight on agriculture - in particular - coupled with his government background makes him a wealth of knowledge for us all.
Equally important is the Monterey County Cannabis Business Permit application deadline that is February 28, 2020. This application must be submitted to the Monterey County Cannabis Program by the 28th in order for currently operating companies to remain in good standing. The good news is that the County has put a “hold” on the employee and property owner live scan requirement which saves all operators substantial time and money. Whatever you do – make sure you submit something by the 28th or you may be shut down.
A new issue on the horizon is the actionable policy set forth by the Monterey County Regional Fire Protection District that is enforcing the requirement that fire sprinkler systems be installed and operational in the designated and licensed processing rooms. Previously the County was allowing operators to process (post-harvest production) in warehouses without the fire sprinklers if the operators were showing good faith and substantial effort in moving forward with the conditional use permit application and compliance with building code regulations. However, that has now become a case by case analysis and subject to the County’s discretion. I encourage all operators to submit their building permits that include the fire sprinkler system to the Monterey County Building Department as soon as possible.
And don’t forget about your CCA compliance requirement. This data input requirement is absolutely necessary to be granted your Provisional Business License from the Monterey County Tax Assessor’s office. If you have a third-party track and trace software provider such as BioTrack or the like they will upload the data to CCA for you weekly as required. However, if you do not have a third-party provider you are required to input the data manually to CCA despite already providing the data to METRC. Oddly METRC and CCA do not share information so entry into each platform is required. Keep in mind, reporting is also required for licenses that are not active.
Let’s start the conversation about the cultivation tax that goes up on July 1, 2020. Any insight you would like the County to be aware of should be shared at the Monterey County Standing Cannabis Committee Meetings. I encourage all those that have an opinion on taxation – should make sure your voice is heard.
There is a lot going on and keeping up is critical. MCCIA is always a resource for information so don’t hesitate to reach out.
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.