City of Clearlake: With the Aim of Curbing Illegal Grows, Cultivation Ordinance Creates Steep Penalties for Non-Compliance
- Posted by Erica Treeby
- On February 2, 2017
- abate, California, Cannabis License, Cannabis Permit, commercial cultivation, commercial medical cannabis, cultivation, dispensary, licensing, MCRSA, penalty, regulations, zoning
Following the October 2015 enactment of the Medical Cannabis Regulation & Safety Act (MCRSA), comprised of AB 243, AB 266, and SB 643, the Clearlake City Council tasked an Ad hoc Committee with crafting a cultivation ordinance that would strike a balance between its residents’ divergent views regarding medical cannabis cultivation occurring within the city’s borders. The Ad hoc Committee, which was made of residents with a cross section of viewpoints, worked together for months before finally compromising on a new set of regulations relating to cultivation.
After gaining the approval of the City Council, Clearlake’s Medical Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance No. 181-2016 became effective on March 13, 2016. The ordinance, which repealed former Sections 10-7, 10-8, and 10-9 of the city’s Municipal Code, created Section 18-9, titled Medical Marijuana Cultivation. The ordinance also created Sections 18-10 and 18-11 relating to the abatement of nuisances created by medical Cannabis cultivation, and the imposition of administrative penalties.
What the Ordinance Requires:
The new regulations require a permit through the city in order to legally cultivate medical Cannabis. The permit is valid for one year. Those wishing to snag a cultivation permit this year should expect to find applications available in mid-March of 2017.
Medical cannabis may only be cultivated outdoors by a qualified patient in occupied lots with an approved residential use and permanent water source. The grow site must be enclosed with a six foot (6’) high fence within an area one hundred (100) square feet or less.
What the Ordinance Prohibits:
No more than six (6) marijuana plants may be cultivated on a lot. Cultivation on vacant lots, within multi-family properties, and in mobile home parks is prohibited. Additionally, a permit will not be granted if the grow site is within 600 feet of a school, child care center or public park; or if located within any Commercial zone, Scenic Corridor zone, or Beautification zone.
With a strict six-plant limit in place, it’s no surprise that the ordinance also prohibits commercial cultivation. An exception is made, however, for commercial grows that are authorized under Clearlake’s dispensary regulations. Section 5-20.13 of the Clearlake’s Municipal Code allows licensed dispensary’s to cultivate medical cannabis on the premises if it occurs indoors and is compliant with the Compassionate Use Act and Medical Marijuana Program. The city will only issue licenses for a total of three (3) dispensaries. However, if the population of Clearlake exceeds 20,000, one additional dispensary license will be become available.
In an effort to combat the proliferation of illegal grows, Clearlake’s ordinance enacted a host of penalties for violations of its new cultivation laws. All marijuana grows that do not comply with the ordinance must be abated. The failure to register or abate will result in a one year suspension of cultivation privileges for both the individual and property in violation; while a second violation will result in a five year suspension. Finally, any person who violates Section 18-9, may be issued a penalty of $1,000 per plant, plus $100 per plant per day the plant remains unabated past the abatement deadline.
We invite you to contact CannaBusinessLaw for expert assistance in compliance with Cannabis licensing, permitting and the application process relating to commercial cannabis in California.