Cannabis enforcement in Plumas County is going to take some extra work and some extra hands. At the July 3 Board of Supervisors’ meeting, Sherriff Greg Hagwood asked for four positions within his department to be reclassified to include cannabis enforcement. One of those four positions will be a new assistant cannabis code compliance position. County Counsel Craig Settlemire also requested the board hire a hearing officer for cannabis code enforcement public hearings.
Currently, cannabis growth in the county is limited to six plants per residence, according to a moratorium passed in November 2017. The county passed the moratorium before it established a plan to enforce it, and the enforcement plan was only just recently approved.
Cannabis code enforcement is typically the job of the code enforcement officer stationed in the county building department. However, because of the potential danger and need for expertise in the field of cannabis code enforcement, the board moved the enforcement to the sheriff’s office.
Hagwood said at the meeting that the civil code enforcement is a different process and uncharted territory. The sheriff’s office works off criminal codes and has to follow the regulations and processes within that code structure. With the addition of cannabis code enforcement, the sheriff’s office has to understand the civil code process in order to effectively abate growths and penalize offenders.
“It is a completely different process than the environment of criminal codes we have been working in,” said Hagwood.
The enforcement ordinance, passed May 31, went into effect at the beginning of July, giving the sheriff’s office the green light on moratorium enforcement.
The sheriff asked the county for $100,000 to cover the costs of the expanded and new positions, and cover other costs such as fuel and supplies. The board approved his request to have human resources reclassify to the positions.
Settlemire also asked for the county to support an additional position. The County authorized an agreement between attorney Lynn Strom to serve as the hearing officer on behalf of the board. Strom will be coming to the county two Wednesdays a month to facilitate public hearings for cannabis code offenders, which is a part of the civil code enforcement process the sheriff will enact.
“I am thankful we don’t have to do this,” said District 4 Supervisor Lori Simpson.