- Posted by Erica Treeby
- On September 8, 2016
- breaking, cannabis, commercial cultivation, cultivation, Medical Marijuana, permit, regulation, zoning ordinance
Following public hearings on July 12 and July 19, 2016, Monterey County’s Board of Supervisors adopted a slew of local ordinances regulating medical cannabis cultivation within the county. Supervisors John Phillips and Dave Potter were appointed to head up the ad hoc committee in charge of crafting the new laws. Although the local moratorium on marijuana cultivation remains in place until February 26, 2017, with exceptions for persons already cultivating medical marijuana in greenhouses or indoor cultivation sites in compliance with state law, the ordinances adopted in July of 2016 will create a plethora of restrictions and requirements for those who desire to cultivate medical marijuana in the future–whether it be a personal garden or commercial operation.
Ordinance No. 5273, which adds Chapter 7.95 to the Monterey County Code, relates to personal medical cannabis cultivation. Personal cultivation of medical marijuana for qualified patients or caregivers, meaning cultivation for personal consumption and not for sale or distribution, would not require a State license and the gardens could be as large as 100 square feet of canopy size. The ordinance, does however, require an annual personal medical cannabis permit issued by the county. The annual cost of the permit has yet to be determined, however the expectation is approximately $150. The permit also comes with a host of operating restrictions relating to standards such as visibility (the plants cannot be visible from off the property or from the neighboring properties), control of odor (“no cannabis odors shall be detectable from offsite”), and setbacks (the garden must be at least 30 feet from the property line).
Commercial cultivation operations, along with other commercial activities, are addressed in Ordinance No. 5272, which adds Chapter 7.90 to the Monterey County Code. A commercial medical cannabis cultivation permit must be obtained annually for the fixed location where the cultivation will occur. Land use regulations for commercial cannabis activities in coastal and inland areas were adopted at the July 12, 2016 hearing of the Board, and are set forth in amended Title 20 and 21 of the Monterey County Code, respectively.
And for those thinking about organizing an outdoor commercial cultivation operation in the lush, agricultural hub of Monterey, it may be prudent to start looking for property elsewhere. Outdoor marijuana cultivation is prohibited under the new laws. Cultivation will only be allowed in existing warehouse and greenhouse facilities in industrial and farmland zoning designations provided the facility was established prior to January 1, 2016, or within an industrial building located in the Light Industrial, Heavy Industrial, or Agricultural Industrial zoning districts.