After months of work, the Cannabis Working Group is nearing the end of the current phase of its task.
Harry Rogers and Tyler Betts, of the Plumas County Growers Association, wrote the first draft of the cultivation portion of a county cannabis ordinance in January after talking to multiple officials and looking at other California county cannabis ordinances.
Since Jan. 19, the working group, consisting of five citizen members and two county supervisors, has been interacting with a large audience and going through the draft by Rogers and Betts line by line.
Kevin Goss, county supervisor and chair of the working group, said on March 14 that the group is only one meeting away from finishing the task of going through the cultivation regulations.
Working group member Mat Fogarty has drafted regulations on the manufacturing, testing, transportation and dispensing of cannabis. Goss believes that going through these regulations, line-by-line, should take only one to two meetings.
“I’m feeling very positive about how things are going,” said Rogers.
The state, for its part, has not yet released draft regulations for even the medical use of cannabis.
Alex Traverso, chief of communications for the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, wrote on March 14, “We’re looking at having draft regulations for medical cannabis ready by early next month. Recreational use will come in the fall.”
In the meantime, after the working group has finished going through the draft, it will go back and look at six or so issues that it needs to discuss in more depth. These include licensing fees, permitting of growers and cannabis operations in densely populated areas.
Once those issues are resolved, the working group will take its ordinance on the road for public meetings in Chester, Greenville, Portola and Quincy. Goss estimates that these public meetings will begin in early May.
Comments from those public meetings will be incorporated into the draft ordinance, along with draft state cannabis regulations, once those become available.
When the working group has finished its draft, it will have to go through County Counsel Craig Settlemire’s office; the Plumas County Planning Commission with more public meetings; and then on to the Plumas County Board of Supervisors, which will hold its own public meetings before deciding on whether to adopt the final ordinance.
A working group member, Kim Scott, has applied to become a member of the state Cannabis Advisory Committee.
The committee will advise the California Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation on worker and public health and safety, upcoming medical and recreational cannabis regulations and reducing the illicit market for cannabis in California.
The county has until Jan. 1, 2018 to come up with an ordinance. Rogers is concerned other counties in California already have cannabis ordinances and that only a limited number of permits might be given out on a first-come, first-served bases.
Rogers believes that cannabis production could be a godsend for Plumas County, since he views it as a low-volume, high-profit product, employing local people along the way.
Information on the Plumas County Growers Association can be found at plumasgrowers.com.