- Posted by Erica Treeby
- On October 19, 2016
- breaking, cannabis, Cannabis License, commercial cultivation, cultivation, licensing, MCRSA, ordinance, Santa Cruz
On August 8, 2016, Santa Cruz County rolled out its online registration system for growers seeking a license to cultivate medical cannabis within the county. Applications, which can be found at https://scccannabis.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/, must be submitted by midnight on Sunday, November 6, 2016. Registration is required in order to be considered for a local license, which is a prerequisite for a State license under the newly enacted Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MCRSA”), a compilation of AB 243, AB 266, and SB 643. The registration process is managed by the Cannabis Licensing Office, which Santa Cruz’s Board of Supervisors developed to implement MCRSA.
To be eligible to register, you must have either: 1) cultivated cannabis in Santa Cruz County since January 2013; or 2) engaged in commercial farming or agricultural production unrelated to cannabis production for over three years in the Commercial Agriculture zone district. The lengthy registration process, which at minimum is comprised of a registration application form, an applicant owner certification form, and a security plan form, must be accompanied by a $500 registration fee per site, along with additional fees where applicable. The Cannabis Licensing Office has posted a link to Cultivation Registration FAQs on its homepage to assist in navigating the registration process.
The Cannabis Licensing Office is encouraging all growers who want to be part of the local licensing system to register even if their current cultivation site may not qualify for a license, as the applicants will have the chance to change grow locations and amend their information at a later date. Growers who currently operate multiple cultivation sites must register each site separately. Additionally, both indoor and outdoor cultivation is permitted as long as the site complies with local ordinances, such as zoning laws. Indoor cultivation sites will require a completed electrical certification by a licensed electrician.
Registration, however, does not create immunity from enforcement activities for those growers in violation of the counties existing medical cannabis ordinances–cultivation sites must become compliant or cease operations. The County’s current 99 plant limit will remain in effect until Santa Cruz County begins issuing cultivation licenses, after which the licensing rules set forth in Santa Cruz County Code section 7.128 will control plant limitations.
Under the new licensing scheme, anyone cultivating medical cannabis, even on behalf of a collective, must obtain both a state and local license. The exception to this rule is for a qualified patient who is cultivating a 10×10 plot for their own medical needs.