Important Notification to Cannabis Community
Dear Cannabis Community,
We are aware that many of you are anxious and eager to purchase property and commence development of your proposed commercial cannabis cultivation sites. However, we want to remind you that the draft Commercial Cultivation of Medical Cannabis ordinance (proposed Santa Cruz County Code 7.128) and the draft Commercial Cannabis Manufacture Facilities ordinance (proposed Santa Cruz County Code 7.132) are undergoing environmental review pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act, and are not yet final. It is expected that both ordinances will include language that prohibits the issuance of licenses where properties have active code violations. Thus, we are advising you and your business partners to stop all unpermitted land clearing, grading, vegetation removal, construction and similar development, as these activities may put your prospective license in jeopardy.
The draft environmental impact report is due out this summer for public review and comments. That will be your next chance to comment and influence the final legislation. The commercial cannabis cultivation and manufacture ordinances, including proposed zone districts where commercial cannabis will be permitted, minimum parcel sizes, and mitigation measures, are subject to change. The final version of these ordinances, in addition to long-standing County regulations, may significantly affect where and how your operations may take place, including building location, size, setbacks, road requirements, etc.
The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors views individual safety and natural resources protection issues as paramount, and alteration of creeks, streams, trees and other vegetation or wildlife habitat without prior review and approval will not be tolerated. Failing to obtain necessary permits at the appropriate time may require you to remediate/repair any land clearing/alteration violations before you can obtain permits and request a license.
Unfortunately, properties are being developed speculatively in support future of commercial cannabis operations without permission or necessary permits from the County. Unless exempt from permits, we will ensure each and every prospective licensee complies with the Santa Cruz County Code, in particular Title 13 and Title 16.
Your prospects for local cannabis licenses could be delayed or jeopardized if you or a previous owner are found to have violated the Santa Cruz County Code and/or any State or Federal laws by proceeding to prepare or develop your site for commercial cannabis without prior authorization and permits. No license will be issued until all unlawful site work related to cannabis cultivation or manufacturing is resolved, and depending on the severity and history of code violations, you may lose your right to a license altogether.
Cannabis related development permits are not being issued until the environmental review process is complete and the Board of Supervisors adopts a final version of the 7.128 commercial cultivation of cannabis ordinance.
If you have questions or concerns about how your activities may affect future licensing and compliance with the County Code, please contact our office and we would be happy to help. The new legislation, under review, to allow you to legally cultivate and manufacture cannabis in the County is coming. Please be patient and await final rules before you seek permits and break ground. We are here to help you through the process, but please be aware there is a process you must follow to obtain a license.
Daniel W. Peterson, P.E.
701 Ocean Street, Room 520
Santa Cruz, CA 95060