- Posted by Ryan Reaves
- On July 11, 2017
- Applications, cannabis, Commercial, cultivation, draft regulations, manufacturing, Medical, ordinance, permits, retail, Santa Rosa, Sonoma
Sonoma Begins Taking Applications as Santa Rosa Releases Draft Regulations
Exciting times for California’s wine country as the Sonoma County Permit Office opens its doors to applicants seeking permits for medical cannabis businesses. The county began taking applications on July 5, 2017 for cultivation, retail dispensaries, manufacturing, nurseries, distribution, and testing facilities who would be seeking M-Type state licenses beginning in 2018. Currently, Sonoma County will not be taking applications for adult use recreational permits stating that “regulation of nonmedical cannabis uses may be considered in a future phase of policy development if directed by the Board of Supervisors.” There is currently no cut-off date for applications, which will be continuously accepted. Sonoma County has also created a “Temporary Code Enforcement Penalty Relief Program” for existing cannabis businesses who will continue operating during the “transition period” who will not be subject to land use fines while their permit applications are being reviewed, as they find a new location, or otherwise work to bring their cannabis operation into compliance. The final due date for a Cannabis Land Use Penalty Relief (Transition Period) Application is August 31, 2017.
Sonoma County is embracing the cannabis industry and have created the Sonoma County Cannabis Program website to assist applicants with the permit application process. Provided below are links to the permit application pages for the different license types for unincorporated Sonoma County:
Santa Rosa Releases Draft Regulations
The City of Santa Rosa in Sonoma County released their draft regulations the same week as the county began taking permit applications. The draft regulations can be found here and are subject to public feedback. There will be a community meeting held to provide a presentation of the ordinance for public feedback on July 17, 2017 from 6:00 to 8:00pm at the Santa Rosa City Hall. Like Sonoma County, Santa Rosa will also be prohibiting adult use recreational commercial activities, limiting permit access for medical operations who would be seeking M-Type state licenses.
Highlights from the Draft Ordinance
Outdoor cultivation banned. Delivery, onsite consumption, and special events allowed conditionally.
- Transition Period. Establishes a 10-month transition period beginning on the date in which the state begins issuing state licenses.
- “Operators in good standing” are Medical Cannabis Businesses who have received approved land use permits prior to or within the 10-month transition period and will be allowed to obtain occupancy permits and commence operations in compliance with Santa Rosa permit approval while “diligently pursuing all necessary state licenses and subject to any deadlines established by the state.”
- “New Operators” are Medical Cannabis Businesses who receive land use permit approval after the 10-month transition period has ended and shall not be allowed to commence operations until the Medical Cannabis Business can demonstrate that all necessary state licenses and agency permits have been obtained.
- Allows for multiple permits per site to be granted only if all the proposed Medical Cannabis Business and their co-location are authorized by both local and state law. Medical Cannabis Operators issued permits for multiple license types at the same physical address shall maintain clear separation between license types unless otherwise authorized by local and state law.
- Limited transference of ownership. A permittee shall not transfer ownership or operational control of a Medical Cannabis Business or transfer a permit for a Medical Cannabis Business to another person unless and until the transferee obtains a zoning clearance from the city stating that the transferee is now the permittee.
- Outdoor commercial cultivation is prohibited. Cultivation of medical cannabis for commercial use may only be cultivated within a fully enclosed space.
- Extraction processes. Medical Cannabis Manufacturers shall utilize only extraction processes that are (a) solvent-free or that employ only non-flammable, nontoxic solvents that are recognized as safe pursuant to the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and/or (b) use solvents exclusively within a closed loop system that meets the requirements of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act including use of authorized solvents only, the prevention of off-gassing, and certification by a California licensed engineer.
- No closed loop systems shall be utilized without prior inspection and approval of the City’s Building Official and Fire Code Official.
- Food handler certification. All owners, employees, volunteers, or other individuals that participate in the production of edible Medical Cannabis Products must be state certified food handlers. The valid certificate number of each such owner, employee, volunteer, or other individual must be on record at the Medical Cannabis Manufacturer’s facility where that individual participates in the production of edible Medical Cannabis Products.
- Delivery permitted. A Medical Cannabis Retail facility shall not conduct sales exclusively by delivery. Deliveries must come from a Medical Cannabis Retail facility that has a physical location and a retail storefront open to the public.
- Overconcentration prevention. A Medical Cannabis Retail facility shall not be established within 1,000 feet of any other Medical Cannabis Retail facility established within and permitted by the City of Santa Rosa.
- Onsite consumption is permitted conditionally at Medical Cannabis Retail facilities who include an operational plan, security protocols, and how the consumption will comply with the requirements set forth by the city and state law.
- Special Events. Medical Cannabis Businesses must obtain dual licensing at the state and local level for temporary special events that involve onsite cannabis sales to, and consumption by patients. Such events shall not be allowed to commence until the Medical Cannabis Business can demonstrate that all necessary local permits, state temporary event licenses, and agency permits have been obtained in compliance with any regulations and deadlines established by the City and the state.
Residents of Santa Rosa and Medical Cannabis Business owners and operators are encouraged to read the full language of the ordinance and participate in the July 17 City Council meeting and submit feedback.