Part two of cannabis proposed recommendations before planning commission

Workshops on private cannabis cultivation, distribution sites and other considerations not already approved by the Plumas County Board of Supervisors are over.

A public hearing is set on these topics and more Thursday, June 20, at the Planning Department meeting room in Quincy beginning at 10 a.m.

Proposed ordinance

Assistant Planning Director Becky Herrin went over changes to the proposed draft commercial cannabis ordinance during a Plumas County Planning Commission workshop May 16.

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The proposed ordinance addresses neighborhood compatibility for personal cultivation of cannabis, establishment of standards for commercial cannabis licenses for Type 10 retailer/dispensaries, and Type 11 distributors.

During the May 16 workshop and previous workshops, commissioners tentatively agreed that cannabis cultivation is not included as an agricultural crop. The proposed ordinance spells out what commissioners see as true agricultural purposes.

Type A license in the proposed ordinance means a state license for cannabis or cannabis products that are intended for those 21-years-old or older. It is for those who do not have a physician’s recommendation (also known as a 215 card.) This falls under the state’s recreation use of cannabis area.

Commissioners have determined that cannabis agrees with the state’s Business and Professional Code definitions for Section 26001f involving those who are 21 and older and the general provision concerning cannabis.

Cannabis accessories are any equipment, products or materials used or intended for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, process, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, smoking, vaporizing or containing marijuana, or for ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing marijuana or marijuana products into the body, according to the state’s Section 11018.2 health and safety code.

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Cannabis cultivation means anything to do with growing, harvesting or preparing marijuana as established in Section 26001(1) of the health and safety code.

Commissioners agreed that cannabis cultivation is a public nuisance.

Cannabis products, as described in the proposed draft, meet the same meanings as those determined by the state in Section 11018.1 for the Uniform Controlled Substances Act. That act refers to any action that changes cannabis into a concentrate, edible or topical product, among other things.

A customer means anyone 21 or older or at least 18 and having a physician’s recommendation, or a primary caregiver, according to the draft.

Delivery is the transfer of cannabis or products to a customer and includes the use by a retailer of any technology platform.

Distribution, under the draft, refers to procurement, sale and transport or cannabis or its products. Type II distributor licenses are permitted with the issuance of a special use permit within a specified zone.

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Industrial hemp is defined according to the state’s Health and Safety Code (HSC) 11018.5 and defines how much tetrahydrocannebinol (THC) it contains.

Within the draft ordinance,  all proposals on manufacturing and licenses or licensees pertaining to it have been removed at this time.

Marijuana, medicinal cannabis or medicinal products agree with the state’s HSC Section 11362.5 and the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 also known as 215.

Personal residence is essentially any dwelling as defined in the draft.

For personal cultivation, this means the state’s allowance of growing up to six plants per residence. They must be grown in a locked space and not visible to the public. This also includes the amount harvested, dried or processed within a single private residence or on those grounds. Plants must also be grown behind a fenced yard. Up to 7-foot fences are allowable, but fences taller than that must have a building permit. The draft document puts fence height at a minimum of 6 feet.

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Greenhouses are allowed as long as the public cannot see inside and they are lockable, the commission agreed during a workshop.

Building code requirements for any new construction or modification with the intent of growing cannabis must be followed.

Outdoor cultivation sites must be located at least 10 feet from the side or rear of the property line. And greenhouses or other structures intended for personal cannabis cultivation must meet building codes and be located at least 5 feet from the side or rear of the property line.

Sections defining personal services, physician’s recommendation, premises, primary caregiver and purchaser are within the proposed draft document.

A retailer/dispensary means a Type 10 license holder for retail sales and deliver of cannabis or cannabis products, including accessories to customers. These are also subject to special use permits and/or a site development permit within approved zones.

Retail/dispensary businesses cannot be located within 1,200 feet of any school or daycare center.

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As within the commercial cannabis cultivation as approved by the Plumas County Board of Supervisors’ approved ordinance, commercial cannabis grows are prohibited.

Commissioners have gone into more detail about retailers and dispensaries within the draft proposal considered at the June public hearing.

Dispensaries that have obtained a special use permit would serve qualified medical and recreational users.

In order to operate a dispensary/retail business, a special use permit application with a plan of operation and specifics on operations must be submitted and approved by the Plumas County Zoning Administrator. These businesses can’t adversely affect surrounding uses.

Exercise and renewal of a special use permit are also outlined within the draft proposal. Operating standards are also listed about the minimum development criteria and operational standards.

No retailer/dispensary operator can hold or maintain a California license for the sale of alcohol or alcoholic beverages and they cannot be consumed on the premises. They also cannot sell tobacco products and no onsite consumption of any cannabis product is allowed.

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Public nuisance and what constitutes it is also defined.

For the complete draft proposal go to the Plumas County Planning Department at 555 Main Street in Quincy.

Discussion

Following Herrin’s reading of the proposed changes to the draft proposed ordinance, Commissioner Jeff Greening asked if they’d gotten into “topo visibility” use regarding fences. While there is a minimum fence height set for personal cultivation (6 feet), 7-foot fences are now legal. However there’s nothing you can do about someone standing on a hill and seeing down into the yard,” Herrin explained. “You do what you can.”

Commissioner Larry Williams said he’d had several calls from people who don’t have fenced yards. He said not having a fence would eliminate their legal right to grow. The alternative is to construct a fence that is a minimum of 6 feet tall or install a greenhouse that meets proposed conditions.

“Dog fences from Home Depot” are a very cheap way to grow, recommended Greening.

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Planning Director Randy Wilson pointed out that while Plumas County can’t restrict a person’s right to grow up to six plants, “We do have the right to put some limitations,” on how and where the plants can be raised.

Kathy Felker, a member of the audience, said she was a little confused about allowing dispensaries. Williams said that dispensaries are governed by the state. However, they must have a local special use permit. “Ours are more stringent than the state’s,” Herrin said.

“It can’t be less than the state laws, but it can be more,” Wilson added about regulations. Permit applicants must also go through reviews and there are no guarantees that a person would be approved for a permit.

Christy Goodman, who identified herself as the Lake Davis campground host, stated “Personal grows will never pay anybody’s mortgage.” However, she thought there needed to be opportunity for small cottage businesses. She also said she thought commissioners should consider the people who want to invest in Plumas County.

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Only a draft

As brought up in other planning commission meetings, it’s the purpose of commissioners to hold workshops to help develop specific county draft regulations. Public hearings are held according to law and then the finalized draft proposal is submitted to the board of supervisors.

Supervisors are the locally elected governing body. It, too, has rules to follow prior to changing, rejecting or approving an ordinance.