A decision to support the Plumas County Board of Supervisors’ directive on growing commercial cannabis in Plumas County took only minutes at a recent public hearing.
Members of the Plumas County Planning Commission might have braced for last-minute attempts to sway months of discussions and workshops, but not one member with an opposing view was at the public hearing on cannabis cultivation Thursday, March 7.
In reality, the public hearing on a code change for fencing took just as long to discuss and the accompanying paperwork was twice as long as that of the permanent ban on cultivation of cannabis. The public hearing on fencing preceded that of cultivation.
With four members of the commission present they voted unanimously to approve the proposed resolution. Indian Valley Commissioner Moorea Stout was absent from the meeting.
Background on directive
Members of the Board of Supervisors at a Dec. 11, 2018, meeting, instructed Plumas County Planning Director Randy Wilson to have commissioners prepare an ordinance for their adoption.
These instructions came shortly after a November election when Plumas County resident soundly defeated Measure B that could have approved commercial cultivation of cannabis.
Joseph Munoz of Quincy and chair of the Cannabis Citizens Group, stated that although the proposed ordinance was actually narrower than his group recommended, he was pleased to support the commissioners’ recommendation.
A workshop on the proposed ordinance was held Jan. 17.
If approved by supervisors, this ordinance will be in place by the time the first moratorium expires Oct. 19.
Under Exhibit A of the recommended ordinance, the commission determined that agriculture in Plumas County does not include cannabis cultivation. “’Cannabis cultivation’ means any activity involving the planting growing, harvesting, drying, curing, grading, or trimming of cannabis (marijuana) plants or any part thereof as provided in Business and Professions Code section 26001(1).”
It does not include personal cultivation of up to six plants per household as approved by the state.
“Cannabis cultivation is declared a public nuisance that is subject to all remedies provided by law, including, but not limited to abatement, administrative penalties, and other remedies as provided in Chapter 9 of Title 1 of the Plumas County Code.”
Examining other definitions besides agriculture, commissioners determined that cannabis cultivation is not included in horticulture-approved areas.
At this time dispensaries are not permitted in Plumas County. Portola is the only incorporated community and at this time, dispensaries are banned within city limits.
Supervisors will also have to determine their stance on legal cultivation of cannabis. Conditions can be determined by local governments even through citizens are permitted up to six plants per household.
Planning assistant Tim Evans told commissioners that he is working on a hemp outline for the county. At this stage, the federal government has legalized growing hemp. Plumas County Supervisors did approve an industrial hemp grow in Sierra Valley. In general, supervisors have insisted that industrial hemp growing must follow a specific set of rules in order to be considered legal.
Evans said that he believes that hemp will eventually be handled by the Plumas County Agriculture Department along with other agriculture crops.