Meeting Time: May 03, 2022 at 9:00am PDT

Agenda Item

3s) Adoption of Resolution Designating the Mendocino County Cannabis Department as the Department to Administer Chapter 10A.17 of the Mendocino County Code, the Mendocino Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance

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    Alexander Cummings about 2 years ago

    Dear Supervisors,
    I write in support of the memos submitted by MCA. I ask that the board move to approve the cultivation applications submitted. Countless months of back and forth have created a challenging business environment. For the sake of small businesses in Mendocino county I ask that you act now.

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    Christina Colangelo about 2 years ago

    Honorable Supervisors.

    I am a cannabis farmer in the 3rd district out on Third Gate Road in Willits. I whole heartedly stand by the comments and recommendations of MCA.

    The MCD is a complete failure. I have been in the permit process since 2017. I have spent $750,000 to permit my farm. I’ve been in the process for 6 years. I have submitted my permit for approval 6 times since 2017. The last 4 times in the past year alone. My documents are COMPLETELY IN ORDER! Every thing is perfect. It is the through error of MCD that has claimed my permit submittal was deemed as deficient. They keep asking me about lighting when I AM AN OUTDOOR FARMER!! I would get a section checked off as good 3 times only to have it come back the fourth time as deficient! When you submit to the portal, you don’t just address the requested correction, WE ARE REQUIRED TO SUBMIT OUR ENTIRE PERMIT AGAIN!! There is no one you can call to discuss it with, no assigned agent in office that is handling our permits on a case by case basis, no “customer service” or “front desk” helping friendly person to talk to like in every other county department!! And we are generating MILLIONS OF DOLLARS FOR THE COUNTY and yet we still get treated like criminals. Is there foul play afoot? I can only wonder. Due to the incredibly cumbersome process, constant changing of staff, and what appears to me to be deliberate road blocks and moving of the goal posts, i can only believe this is being done on purpose.

    I have paid my compliance company over $10,000 JUST TO RESUBMIT MY PERMIT 4 TIMES since January of 2021. Unnecessary costs none of us farmers can afford any longer. Again, I’m curious if it is the intention of MCD to bankrupt us until we quit.

    I implore you to make this process easier. I do not believe Kristen Nevendal has the county or us farmers best interest in mind, especially given the amount of revenue cannabis is generating. This entire process has been expensive and incredibly stressful, and it goes without saying, dealing with MCD has been the most stressful of all. Please follow the recommendations from MCA.

    Thank you
    Christina Colangelo
    Milagro Naturals, Inc

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    Gerasimos Christoforatos about 2 years ago

    Dear supervisors, Our small business, located in the 3rd district out sherwood road, and who goes by the name of Synnefa dba Herbanology, stands with the comments of MCA. While we currently are not members due to not being able to afford the extra costs, we strongly align with their ideas and their insight on ways to help the cannabis community. We also urge you to heed the message from Nevada county supervisor Heidi Hall in respects to making permitting easier and not more restrictive. My wife and I have been in the program since January 2017 and all that we have seen over the last 5 years were more and more hurdles put in place. The county has made the program even more difficult throughout the years. That’s part of the reason that for 5 years we have been sitting with a provisional license unable to move into full compliance with the state. We believe the county should be making it much more easier for the community to enter into the program. To give you a visual on what it has felt like for us running a business in this county, imagine a runner in a race, having to jump over hurdles, and after every hurdle, those hurdles double up… first there’s 1, then there’s 2. And the next has 4, then 8, then 16… Now imagine 5 years later, all of a sudden there’s 100’s of hurdles out in place, and as we jump over that hurdle, we come crashing down on top of all the hurdles that have been put in the way. Now, we understand that the responsibility doesn’t fully rest on the county, but also rests on the state as well. It has not been a fun ride to say the least. We would like to continue operating our business in this county. We continue to do everything the county asks of us. And have done so since inception. Yet, we find we continuously, and as was mentioned, find that there are way too many more hurdles to jump over. Having been dealt with a recent veg mod letter, and having had code enforcement come to our land back in 2018 to have already cleared us of wrong doing for clear cutting, this is the 100 hurdles. We have trees that died back over the years that show no canopy on the counties map. Yet we are found guilty and have to prove our innocence yet again. For a second time. This is the definition you f not fair. When we share this story with masses, they begin to see a clearer picture of just how wrong this has been. It is just plain wrong. And then for code enforcement to keep absolutely no records at all regarding these matters should be a crime. So please heed these words that so many have been speaking for so long now. It’s time. It’s time we take care of all these players who have been playing your game with your rules for so long. We have and will continue to do what you ask for. Because we want to thrive. We want to prosper. We want a flourishing cannabis industry in the county. But hopefully all of this is not leading us down a path to our demise. I thank you all for taking the time to read our statements, for taking the time over and over again to work to find solutions. We all know this is not an easy task. It never has been. And I’m sure it’s getting much more difficult for you all to find solutions in a time when the community feels like they’ve had enough. We all know there’s yet a lot of work to be done. We just hope it’s done in a time and manner that benefits not just the individual, but the community on a whole. So please, we beg you, open your hearts and ears to the community members who have been on the ground doing this work for so long. Thanks again for listening.

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    Michael Katz about 2 years ago

    Honorable Supervisors:
    MCA recognizes the need to assign oversight and administration of the cannabis permitting program, given that cannabis has been the 2nd largest provider of tax revenue in the County in recent years, and a significant driver of economic activity locally despite the relatively small 290 acres of licensed canopy.

    First, MCA urges you to include language in the resolution stating that the assignment of the cannabis program officially to the MCD is a temporary measure that will end when cannabis is designated by the State of California as an agricultural crop, with which you are already in agreement.

    Our second comment on this resolution rests on the continually cited shortcomings and dysfunction of the MCD. MCA’s memo of April 19th, provided a detailed description of mistakes, inaccuracies, inconsistencies and confusing responses to queries from cultivation applicants – all indicating a failure on the part of the MCD to clearly communicate and to further the goals of the County cannabis ordinance..

    Our community is continually disheartened by the dismissive attitude toward MCA memos and comments being seen as the singular contributions of a mere seven (7) individuals. In contrast, we offer the following quote from a Nevada County Supervisor who recently attended a screening of the documentary film Lady Buds, which shares the story of six courageous women transitioning from the medical cannabis system of Prop 215 to the commercial cannabis industry of Prop 64, starring lifelong Mendocino County resident Chiah Rodriques of Greenfield Ranch.

    Nevada County 1st District Supervisor Heidi Hall, told of a panel on cannabis she presented recently to the California Association of Counties:

    “…when you go around the table, the #1 message [from the counties] is ‘shut down illegal growers”. That’s all they can focus on; they want enforcement. The panel we had up there, from CDFA to enforcement, every single one of them answered the question ‘How do we deal with illegal growers with the same answer: Bring more people into the legal mix.’ So we have to make that easier. You ought to be treated like every other business, not given onerous regulations and onerous permit requirements, onerous fees and taxes – that’s not right. You have our support to keep working to get you there.”

    In summation, we continue to request that the County and MCD engage more directly with MCA and other local stakeholders on the best way to save our friends and neighbors who are struggling to remain within the licensed cannabis community. , We must emphasize that your current lack of direct supervision of the Cannabis Department, and your choice to leave the program in the hands of Director Kristin Nevedal who as we have reported to you is creating new restrictive policies not in the ordinance ostensibly in order to remove farmers is significantly contributing to the economic decline of the county. If you have no desire to resolve these issues to protect the people who have contributed over 15M to the County’s budget over the last 3 years, 8 million MORE than projected, we hope at least you have a desire to protect this source of revenue for the County.

    Continued inaction will only expedite the demise of a once vibrant community, not because of State regulations, but because of the choices of this Board. We urge you to act before it is too late.

    Thank you for your consideration,

    Mendocino Cannabis Alliance