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Schools defined in cannabis cultivation in Plumas County

In a three-to-one vote, members of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors approved standards for personal cannabis cultivation.

During a public hearing Tuesday, Nov. 5, another piece to Plumas County law concerning growing marijuana for individual use fell into place.

This piece involves a definition of what a school means when raising personal marijuana nearby.

During the role call vote, Supervisor Jeff Engel voted against the ordinance saying he believed it should all be grown indoors.

The ordinance specifies where and how state-allowed cultivation of up to six plants can be done at a residence.

Assistant Planning Director Becky Herrin was before supervisors with the proposed ordinance implementing procedures to establish standards for personal cultivation of cannabis. The ordinance also revised the definition of the word school to correspond with the state’s definition.

The Plumas County Planning Commission and Planning Department carried through with its legal obligations to publish the public hearing notice in all four Plumas County newspapers. Those notices appeared Oct. 23.

Herrin presented supervisors with background information concerning the commission’s work and draft proposal.

Under existing state law, medical and adult-use cannabis, more commonly called marijuana, provides for licensing and regulation of commercial cannabis activity, including cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and retail sale. Cities and counties have the right to regulate any or all areas with the exception of allowing adults to cultivate up to six plants.

Even then, cities and counties can set regulations concerning where and how personal cultivation can take place.

“The Board of Supervisors approved two motions at the meeting held on Dec. 11, 2018. One motion gave direction to develop an ordinance banning the commercial cultivation of cannabis,” according to Herrin in background information.

The commission was also directed to address: zoning for industrial hemp, dispensaries and retail sales, delivery and distribution, and requirements for the six allowable plants.

Plumas County supervisors agreed with commissioners in determining that commercial cultivation is not permitted in an unincorporated area. The only incorporated area is the city of Portola and it has its own regulations.

Supervisors approved that ban April 9, 2019, according to Herrin.

“Staff drafted amendments to the zoning code and these ordinance changes were discussed in detail by the Planning Commission at workshops held on April 18, 2019, May 2, 2019, and May 16, 2019,” according to Herrin.

Planning staff addressed proposed licensing requirements for retail, dispensaries and distributors, Herrin said. That also included a full environmental review and the requirement for a special use permit. This is also when the commissioners discussed personal cultivation.

During a July 11 meeting, Herrin said commissions voted to leave revised standards for personal cultivation, but removed any mention of distributor, retailer and dispensary permits from the ordinance.

It was at the Oct. 15 board of supervisors meeting that amended the Plumas County Code for fences to comply with the California building Code.

“The proposed ordinance is designed to implement requirements and standards for personal cultivation of cannabis and includes measurers for secure fencing, gates and greenhouses, as well as for setbacks from neighboring properties and maximum allowable heights of plants,” Herrin explained.

Within the definition of schools, it was recommended and approved that school applies to kindergarten through grade-12 schools. Private school where education is primarily conducted in a private home isn’t included. “The current definition defines a school as ‘a place for teaching and learning,’” according to Herrin.

Schools are required to obtain special use permits in all zones, according to Herrin. The definition appears to apply to many activities that may not rise to the level of a potentially incompatible use, Herrin said.

“The proposed definition corresponds to the state’s definition in the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act,” Herrin added.

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