Meeting Time: October 04, 2022 at 9:00am PDT

Agenda Item

4g) Discussion and Possible Action Including Direction to Staff Regarding Cannabis Ad Hoc Recommendations; Acceptance of Final Report Out of the Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee; and Disbandment of the Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee (Sponsors: Supervisor Haschak and Supervisor McGourty)

   Oppose     Neutral     Support    
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    Six Nguyen over 1 year ago

    I support the approval and adoption of the recommendations from the Cannabis Ad Hoc committee.

    Six Nguyen
    Endo Industries

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    Todd Cass over 1 year ago

    Honorable Supervisors,
    I support the acceptance of the final report and its recommendations. I've been following discussion of these items for some time, and these recommendations represent important progress for the county's cannabis program. Time is short on the County and State annual licensing timeline.
    Todd Cass

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    Jim Roberts over 1 year ago

    I strongly support the recommendations of the Ad Hoc team with the items they are putting forward. Both Supervisor Haschek and Supervisor McGourty have diligently worked through understanding the issues at hand facing the cannabis farmers and business community. Their recommendations will have a positive effect on one of our most promising economic sectors of our local economy, as well as provide a better road map for the many families and community members in cannabis industry.
    - Jim Roberts
    The Madrones & The Brambles
    The Bohemian Chemist

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    Laura Clein over 1 year ago

    Dear Supervisors,

    Yes, please. We strongly support the Ad Hoc items with the Hannah Nelson & MCA memos taken into consideration during full Board discussion to tweak it a bit. Much of this may seem small to some Supervisors, but it all adds up to helping small farms through a very complicated ever-changing regulatory framework. Some of the recommendations are to adapt to those new complicated components. And many of the points have been in discussion or on the back burner from the inception of the ordinance. This item needs a yes vote & these changes need to be effective immediately. We KNOW most of you on this Board did not have a hand in creating the ordinance, but many of us have been here all along asking for the intent to remain to support small farms making the transition to the new legal market. We, in District 3 do not wonder why our Supervisor has been the champion of cannabis causes, it’s the biggest industry in our part of the County. We don’t have the climate to support the vineyards or the beauty of the coastal region that attract tourists. But as we all know through official crop reports & tax reports, cannabis has been supporting our County, even in the crunch the past few years since adult use legalization, it’s very profitable, the highest tax paying industry Mendocino County has presently. All we ask for is parity. We appreciate the Supervisors Hashchak & McGourty adhoc diligently working with staff & stakeholders who have deep understanding of how this seeming minutia is realized on the ground. Chair Williams, after all the times you told Supervisor Hashchak in these meeting that when the ad hoc is ready to bring items forward you will support them, we hope you are our third today, if for some reason there is not unanimous Board approval of this item. In fact, what we would like to see is real discussion about how grandfather in the rest of phase 1 into a County permit, as Chair Williams has also said many times, so we can all move on to other County business. Let my People Grow!

    Thank you, Laura & Marty Clein

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    Tali Minor over 1 year ago

    We fully support the recommendations being made by the Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee, Supervisors Haschak and McGourty on Tuesday October 4, 2022.

    — Matthew & Tali Minor on behalf of Esoteric Farmer

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    Jennifer Procacci over 1 year ago

    I support the recommendations being made to by the Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee Haschak and McGourty for the BOS meeting on Tuesday October 4, 2022.

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    Kevin Bush over 1 year ago

    We fully support the recommendations being made by the Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee, Supervisors Haschak and McGourty on Tuesday October 4, 2022. We also support the the attached Letter of Support and specific recommendations from the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance.

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    Monique Ramirez over 1 year ago

    Dear Supervisors,

    Please vote in favor of the 12 Ad Hoc recommendations that are before you. Many many hours were spent developing these recommendations with valued input from stakeholder meetings that I had the opportunity to attend. I'm so grateful to the Cannabis Ad Hoc committee for their dedication in resolving the outstanding cannabis issues that are still ever present. It takes a community to come together and work to find solutions when problems arise. I believe strongly that the Ad Hoc has fulfilled their role in identifying what the problems are and how to solve them. To not adopt these recommendations would erode our public trust in the Ad Hoc Committee process and all the work that has been done with so many dedicated community members stepping up to engage to offer input and suggestions. From consultants, attorneys, cultivators, county staff and members of our amazing trade organization Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, we have all dedicated our time to this urgent matter because we recognize the importance of this program succeeding for the applicants and our county economy. Please this is such a defining moment right now and we need all the supervisors to cast their vote in favor of these recommendations. Otherwise I feel we will lose even more applicants and soon we will have almost a non existent program because all of the operators will be out of business. It's a true fact that unfortunately is already manifesting throughout our county. Please vote in favor of these recommendations so we can move forward in a solution oriented fashion!

    Thank you,
    Monique Ramirez
    District 3
    Sunbright Gardens

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    Marnie Birger over 1 year ago

    I support the 12 Recommendations being made to the Board of
    Supervisors by the Cannabis Ad Hoc of Supervisors Haschak and McGourty for the BOS meeting on
    Tuesday October 4, 2022.
    Thank you, Marnie Birger
    District 3 resident

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    Matt Maguire over 1 year ago

    Dear Honorable supervisors

    First of all I would like to thank the Cannabis Ad Hoc, John Hashack and Glen McGourty, for their commitment to represent the cannabis industry stakeholders here in Mendocino County. I appreciate the time and dedication taken to fully understand our needs.

    I support the Cannabis Ad Hoc’s recommendations, please take action now and vote yes to move these recommendations into staff directions. These are solutions to local problems that you can help change.

    I support the MCA Memo and hope you have taken the time to read it, the comments truly do represent the needs of the cannabis industry stakeholders.

    I have comments on #10 brought forward by the Cannabis Adhoc regarding ordinance 4399.

    Ordinance 4399 amended section 16.08.015 of the Mendocino County code. This ordinance was passed to allow seasonal cannabis cultivation and processing operations the ability to use a portable restroom to satisfy the restroom requirements.

    The reinterpretation and clarification made in the memo from the building official on 8/11/2021, in my opinion, does not align with the board direction when the ordinance was passed. Up until the Memo, under ordinance 4399, Mendocino County was allowing portable restrooms to satisfy the restroom requirements for seasonal cannabis cultivation, and processing operations. There is not a restroom requirement for ag exempt buildings, so how could ordinance 4399 only apply to Ag exempt buildings? Ordinance 4399 also states it can be used for seasonal processing, Processing is currently only allowed in a F1 occupancy building. F1 occupancy has been excluded from 4399 under the new memo.

    I spent many hours studying the ordinance as it applies to my building project. I spent thousands of dollars working with an Architect and Engineer to prepare my project, only to get my project delayed from this memo. There was never any public notification that these projects were going to now require a full bathroom and septic system.
    Arbitrary rules like this hindering cannabis businesses are frustrating.

    The Board of supervisors clearly passed this ordinance to support all seasonal cultivation and processing operations.
    Please get the building official to rescind the memo and return section 16.08.015 to the way the supervisors intended it.
    Here Is the link to The Board of supervisors meeting from 12-5-2017
    for ordinance 4399
    item 5J at Hour 6:44

    Thank you

    Matt Maguire

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    Josh Artman over 1 year ago

    Bluenose Botanicals fully supports the recommendations by the Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee from October 4, 2022.
    Sincerely, Josh Artman CEO

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    Meghan Durbin over 1 year ago

    Dear Honorable Board of Supervisors,

    As a planner for Wynn Coastal Planning & Biology I strongly support each of the points and positions laid out by the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance in response to this agenda item. Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Meghan Durbin, Planner
    Wynn Coastal Planning & Biology
    Fort Bragg

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    Mary Aigner over 1 year ago

    Honorable Supervisors,
    I am writing today to strongly urge you to approve and adopt the 12 recommendations of the Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee. The Ad Hoc Committee has done an excellent job of identifying issues that are affecting both small farmers' and MPC's ability to move forward in the licensing and regulatory process. Adoption and immediate implementation of the AHC's well considered and pragmatic recommendations will serve to alleviate ongoing bottlenecks at MCP (Rec #'s 1,2, 4,6,7,8, 9,11,12) and provide farmers with important tools needed to operate compliantly and competitively in today's challenging cannabis economy (Rec #'s 1, 3,5, 7,10,11). I also urge you to implement the recommendation of the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance regarding Ad Hoc recommendation #2 to utilize existing county staff for the temporary support staff for MCP so that the county is best able to meet upcoming state deadlines for transiting all licenses from provisional to annual. Many thanks to Supervisors Haschak and McGourty, County staff and participating stakeholders for their excellent work on this project. I trust the Board will reward their efforts with enthusiastic approval of these recommendations.
    Mary Aigner
    Hungry Hollow Farm, LLC
    Sol de Mendocino

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    Jesse Hutchins over 1 year ago

    Dear your excellence, please consider my thoughts:
    I believe we should move forward as quickly as possible with the Ad Hoc committee's report. There is no better person that understands the need of a farmer then a farmer. Please help keep farming viable in Mendo and approve the report by AD Hoc.

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    Scott WARD over 1 year ago

    Dear Honorable Board of Supervisors
    I wss one of the stakeholders that met with the Ad Hoc Committee and I support this agenda. I urge the Board to approve every item in the Ad Hoc Committee report.
    Respectfully submitted,
    Scott Ward

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    Michael Katz over 1 year ago

    Honorable Supervisors,

    MCA fully supports the 12 Recommendations being made to the full Board of Supervisors by the Cannabis Ad Hoc of Supervisors Haschak and McGourty on Tuesday October 4, 2022.

    On numerous occasions over the last 11 Months Supervisors Haschak and McGourty have met with County Staff, State Agencies and community stakeholders to identify challenges and develop solutions related to several components of the administration of the Cannabis Program in Mendocino County. The Board has repeatedly asked the Ad Hoc to evaluate options and bring shovel ready proposals back for a vote. This process has led to the robust list of recommendations put forward with Agenda Item 4g.

    These actionable items are essential to supporting the efforts of MCD by streamlining as much of the administration of the Cannabis Program as possible as a direct result of the work of the Ad Hoc. After October 4, all cannabis items will be referred to the General Government Committee (GGC) for initial review before coming before the full Board. While we have no doubt that Supervisors Gjerde and Mulheren of the GGC will do their best to get up to speed on the various items facing the Cannabis Department that have not been addressed by the Ad Hoc, the Ad Hoc has already been deeply involved in this research and the most efficient use of their efforts is to adopt their recommendations and provide the necessary direction to Staff today.

    There are small but important clarifications we would like to make regarding four of the recommendations.

    Recommendation 2 - Support Staff for MCD

    We believe it is essential that the two temporary full time positions assigned from County Counsel and the CEO’s office to MCD be current County employees who have experience with County policies and procedures. The most common refrain from MCD on delays within the program are items being held up by County Counsel’s office and lack of staffing. Embedding these two experienced members of County Staff directly into MCD for a limited time in order to address looming State deadlines is likely the most efficient way to provide meaningful administrative and legal support to MCD in the shortest amount of time.

    The need to backfill the other needs of County Counsel’s office and the CEO’s office should come from new hires or contracted firms, whereas the need to temporarily assign two seasoned employees from those departments to assist MCD with legal and project management issues specific to cannabis issues is due to the complex issues related to our ordinance and upcoming State deadlines for Appendix G submissions and Provisional Renewals. The contracting process and the length of time to get outside contractors up to speed will eat up much of the 6-9 months where additional focus would be most helpful.

    Recommendation 3 - Vegetation Modification

    We appreciate the intention expressed within this item, and wish to clarify the two specific actions needed on Tuesday to move this forward.

    The first action is for the Board to clearly define the existing exemption from the tree removal prohibition in the ordinance for ‘disease and safety concerns’ to make it pragmatic and meaningful. The MND and ordinance contemplated the exception.

    On August 8, 2017 Supervisor John McCowen stated, to no objection from the rest of the Board, that “the thing we want to do is make sure we include Supervisor Gjerde’s concerns regarding clearance for defensible space, and removal of dead dying or diseased trees should not prevent someone from getting a permit.” (

    Now over 5 years later MCD and County and Outside Counsel have created new levels of proof and restrictions that were not contemplated during the development of the ordinance and that do not, as a PRACTICAL matter, allow for the included exception in any meaningful way. This clarification is essential to avoid continued misapplication of the exception which threatens to remove applicants from the program despite their having acted in accordance with the ordinance.

    Once the Board sets the definition in line with the intent of the exception, Staff and County Counsel can be directed to align all procedures related to vegetation modification to that definition and accept the exceptions as presented by applicants.

    Recommendations 5 and 10 - Building Official Direction

    We would also like to note that thanks to conversations between Building Official Mike Oliphant, Hannah Nelson and Scott Ward items 5 and 10 have been vetted and agreed upon in principle.

    The need to act urgently, today, can not be overstated. It has been discussed many times in the Board chambers how challenges at the State level tie the County’s hands and make it difficult to affect meaningful change on the local level, but that is not true of the items before you today. Today, the Board has the opportunity to make improvements to assist the MCD so that together, we can have the best chance of success in handling the tremendous workload that is necessary to accomplish in a short time.

    More and more qualified, law-abiding farmers are dropping out of the program because of the uncertainty that the County will be able to process their materials in time, and because of the difficulties the County has had in rollouts of the grant programs. What led us to this point goes well beyond the current Department. We have been working on cannabis permitting in Mendocino under Prop 64 for 5+ years and 6 different managers of the program under three separate Departments. We are not focusing on blame, we are only interested in solutions. We urge you to heed the words of your colleagues on the Ad Hoc who have spent nearly a year working on these issues, and vote in support of their deeply considered recommendations.

    We remain available to discuss any of these items further at your convenience.


    Mendocino Cannabis Alliance

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    William aka Swami Chaitanya Winans over 1 year ago

    As a small craft Cannabis farmer I support the approval and adoption of the recommendations from the Cannabis Ad Hoc committee.
    Cannabis cultivation is vital to the economic health of Mendocino County. The pathway to legal operations needs to be simplified and changed to be on a par to other agricultural pursuits. The small changes in the Agenda item 4g) will help the farmers.

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    Amy Wynn over 1 year ago

    As an environmental planning firm having processed hundreds of discretionary permits in Mendocino County since 2005, now assisting with cannabis cultivators’ CEQA needs, we heartily urge the Supervisors to support Ad Hoc Committee Recommendations Items 3 & 12.

    3. Clarify existing safety and disease exemptions in ordinance to specifically include fire safety, direct immediate implementation, and direct County Counsel to prepare procedural options for allowing tree removal for disease and safety and consideration of evidence needed for both applicants and department at the General Government Committee meeting

    WCPB additional comment: the prohibition against tree removal was made in good faith, however failed to envision safety and disease as essential exemptions to this prohibition. In this age of increased wildfires, it is essential to allow for exemptions to this prohibition within the Phase 1 permitting process. The need to remove dead and dying trees is independent of cannabis uses on a property and therefore should not be disallowed.

    12. Direct MCD staff to work with CDFW and stakeholders to review and modify a screening tool for Sensitive Species and Habitat Review referrals. This was agreed upon at the July 28 cannabis ad hoc committee meeting with CDFW, MCD, and stakeholders with the intent to expedite the workload and screen applicants for SSHR review by CDFW

    WCPB additional comment: We recommend that the County review the checklist that was developed by the Coastal Planning Staff for the ADU permitting, as an example of how a complicated process can be simplified in checklist form. Making a checklist such as this available to the public would aid applicants and their consultants in preparing the appropriate materials to the level of detail appropriate in order to design a project that avoids impacts, with the minimum amount of effort.

    Thank you for considering our commentary.

    All the best,
    Amy Wynn
    Principal Planner
    Wynn Coastal Planning & Biology
    Fort Bragg