County supervisors Tuesday set a public hearing date of May 23 for applicants under the temporary cannabis cultivation ordinance.
On Sept. 27, supervisors unanimously approved a cannabis cultivation “urgency” ordinance that was supposed to halt all new cultivation operations within the county.
Medical plants under cultivation as of Sept. 27 were exempted by the ordinance with limited immunity. The exemption terminated after the plants were harvested, which needed to occur before Dec. 27.
Existing grow operations with over six plants per parcel were required to submit an application for board review. The review would determine on a case-by-case basis what grows could continue.
There are currently 27 applicants waiting for the board to determine the status of their application.
It was revealed at the last county meeting that any applicants who’ve continued cultivation beyond the cutoff date aren’t in violation of county code until the board determines the status of their application.
Pinnacle Strategy President Victor Gomez reported on the ad hoc committee assigned to putting together a permanent cannabis cultivation ordinance.
“Back on March 28, the board of supervisors directed the ad hoc committee to deliberate and discuss the process a little bit more,” he said. “The recommendation of the board was to initiate the applicant review process. Staff is currently reviewing those applications if I’m not mistaken. They’ll continue to review those applications. The desire of the ad hoc committee and stakeholders was to move forward with this public hearing to vet these applicants.”
Supervisor Robert Rivas, a member of the ad hoc committee, said it was important to move forward with the public hearing while the new ordinance is being drafted.
“We’ve brainstormed ideas on how we can make this upcoming hearing as efficient as possible because of the number of applicants,” Rivas said. “We’re confident we can narrow it down and have a meeting where we’re not going to be here for a week or more than a few hours.”
During his presentation, Gomez said the ad hoc committee hoped to have the draft ordinance before the board by May or June.
Rivas proposed holding an evening meeting to go over the draft.
“This would be strictly for the benefit of the full board to review the draft ordinance and for the public to comment specifically on that draft ordinance,” he said.
The other supervisors agreed.
“The evening session would allow people who aren’t allowed to come here during the day, they’re working or commuting,” said Supervisor Mark Medina, another member of the ad hoc committee. “We want to make sure we’re inclusive, that we have as many people as possible. That was the reason why we want the meeting in the evening.”
Although no date was set for the evening draft meeting, Acting County Counsel Barbara Thompson said it can be scheduled after the ad hoc committee meets again April 17.
Supervisors agreed to iron out the evening meeting details at the next regular board meeting. Supervisor Anthony Botelho was absent.