Well, here we are, one month away from the GO date for legal and regulated cannabis sales in California!
Normally, I'd be excited about such a thing, but unfortunately am feeling the stress and anxiety of SLOcal cannabis business owners scrambling to find new property to cultivate on, buildings to lease, requirements to meet, services to contract, application fees as well as License Permit fees to pay all within this next 30 days. It's like watching the largest game of musical chairs I've ever seen, with multiple chairs being pulled each time the music stops.
Before we get into the State issues, let's visit the local regulation first. The SLO Board of Supervisors on November 27th voted to adopt the new regulation concerning commercial cannabis production & retail as well as banned all outdoor cultivation for personal use. I don't have much that is positive to say about this at the moment except for it was not at all what I expected when we started this journey over a year and 1/2 ago. SLOCCBA board members will be convening today to discuss our position as well as any options that may be available as a response to unpopular restrictions. More to come.
The state as of this moment hasn't opened up the portal to accept applications yet. You can sign up to receive email updates from the state as well as monitor the FB page or Twitter account by following @Bccinfo.dca to be one of the first to know! In the meantime, requirements are posted. If you're anticipating having a cannabis business, I sure hope you've already viewed, know and began assembling your application package!
Here's a great article in The Desert Sun summarizing what you can expect come January 1st as the long awaited legalization rolls out. Availability will be scarce. No where in SLO County, will you be able to legally purchase cannabis products....that I know of at this moment.
I'm still disappointed that our local leadership thought time was better spent in restricting access to legal cannabis rather than investing time to help these businesses become legitimate, legal and ready to apply with the State agencies. It remains to be seen how local law enforcement & leadership are going to treat providers and consumers as they struggle to find the products they're used to purchasing come the new year.
If you are a business owner in need of resources or have services to offer, please feel free to email Marie@SLOCCBA.org for referrals or give me a call at (805) 712-5963.
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Wine Industry Network's Wine & Weed Symposium in Santa Rosa Ca. I'd been looking forward to it for weeks as the event had sold out about a month prior. Two of my favorite things coming together in one event? Surely, I must be dreaming! I couldn't help but to anticipate with excitement what could come of such a gathering.
Off we set from Paso Robles wine country in the wee morning hours of August 5th, headed North to Santa Rosa. We were scheduled to arrive by 8am at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek, where the symposium was to take place. I dragged along a couple of event coordinator associates of mine to gain their perspectives on how all this may play out when it comes to meeting the demands of consumers concerning parties, events, cannabis consumption and party favors. None of us had a clue as to what kind of experience awaited us.
We walked into a bustling environment thick with anticipation to get this program started! The layout flowed down a great foyer into an adjacent banquet room lined with exhibitors as well as a constantly updated (throughout the day) variety of refreshments and canapé items. (non medicated, just in case you wondered). The time finally arrived for us to be seated among the sold out crowd of 450 attendees to hear opening comments by Senator Mike McGuire and Wine Industry Network President, George Christie.
The vast array of speakers line up at the Wine & Weed Symposium consisted mostly of seasoned cannabis entrepreneurs and advocates with one winemaker in the mix who happens to sit on the Mendocino Cannabis Industry Association representing both wine and cannabis. Senator Mike McGuire started off with opening remarks, a little bit of history as to how we all ended up in that room together, encouraging both industries to collaborate seeking to find innovative solutions for all of California's Ag crops to be profitable and sustainable.
Hezekiah Allen, CGA and Aaron Smith, NCIA started off the discussions with the hard realities facing the cannabis industry. 7 in 10 canna-businesses will not make the cut. Cannabis production in California is out of control producing 8 times more than in previous history. The quality is questionable. The Feds and banking continue to be a problem. Listening between the lines, the painful truth of industry take over by those investors looking to "make millions" did not escape me, nor did the frustration of legacy growers due to this intrusion. How does it seem fair that growers, producers and providers who've sacrificed EVERYTHING for the past 20 or so years do all this work so that business men in suits can move on in with money and resources, growing Walmart weed? How could that possibly have a place in the California Cannabis industry? Ahhhh, something our California wine industry knows all too well. The wine industry can offer some lessons to those legacy cannabis growers. You're in for a big long fight to hold on to what you've created. It's not impossible, just takes hard work, partnerships in resources, passion and determination. Another parallel.
I'm somewhat of an optimist, and I've had experience bringing adverse groups together in one room, always anxious to spot & nurture the spark of collaboration, and this group was no different. It's been no secret that the wine industry has been looking at this new crop of cannabis with wary speculation. Wary of competition, not only of consumers but in resources needed to produce these commodities, water and workers being the two most prevalent issues facing farmers today.
Organizers of the event used a fantastic audience interaction tool called Sli.do to capture polls and questions from the audience. It was interesting to see which industry the attendees were representing as well as the attitude they had brought with them to this symposium, collaborative or competitive? As you can see by my screenshot here, the results were overwhelmingly collaborative with a majority of the wine industry deepening their understanding of how these two crops cross over in many ways. The event was attended by primarily wine industry folks, with only 7% considering cannabis to be a competitor in their market place.
The big question:
Are grapes and weed compatible crop mates? That would only depend on if your idea of organic is all natural microbial sustainability using no "certified" organic products anywhere on your farm. Cannabis testing requirements will require acceptable contaminant levels be in the parts per billion, standards of which very few grape growers could adhere to, let alone any commercial farmer growing anything in California. Except, that is, for the legacy grower who's been doing this for a while, adhering to Mother Natures organic ways. In addition the state has set some pretty hard lines between cannabis and wine production & consumption in the same locations.
In addition to several hours of riveting speaker content there were dozens of vendors lining the hallways and filling up another entire banquet room. What really impressed me most was the sophistication of products and who those products were being consumed by! Would you believe professional business women & mothers over the age of 40? Companies like HerbaBuena and Garden Society have nailed this market with beautifully designed packaging and micro dosages that make sense for the functional adult.
Then there's CannaCraft. Remember how I mentioned larger companies with the money and resources? Well this is what they look like and I gotta tell you, it's impressive. We did get to tour their facility in Santa Rosa, I'll admit to strong feelings of envy for SLO County who I don't think has the capacity quite yet to appreciate something like their amazing "tasting room & lounge". Don't get me wrong here, I do believe there is a place for large scale, consistent, cannabis production, but I don't think it should squeeze out traditionally grown flower, in fact I believe embracing the traditional outdoor grower would be a positive addition to any product line up. Read a bit about CannaCrafts adventures in compliance.
Overall, the Wine and Weed Symposium resonated with most that there is not only room for collaboration, but it just might be downright necessary in order for the boutique farmer (of any produce) to survive in California. The State of California has made provision for cannabis cooperative farming and production, who's to say we can't collaborate/cooperate with other crop producers? Coupled with a constant flow of thoughtful & creative product development presented with brilliant branding and marketing techniques, the possibilities are endless. Co-farming, co-marketing and co-consumption. Sounds like an idea worth considering.
Many thanks to the Wine Industry Network for putting on this event, it was spectacular! I loved the interaction and the many people I met. I look forward to Wine & Weed on the Central Coast in 2018!
Cheers & 'ere,
Marie Roth, President, SLO County Cannabis Business Association
The Planning Commission is expected to begin public hearings on July 27, 2017. The Public Review Draft may be revised before going to the Planning Commission in the form of a Public Hearing Draft. The Public Hearing Draft will be available approximately 10-14 days prior to the first Planning Commission hearing date. Any modifications to the Public Hearing Draft made by the Planning Commission will then be considered by the Board of Supervisors.
It’s important to keep in mind that nothing is final until the Board adopts the permanent ordinances. The draft ordinances are subject to change throughout the public review and hearing process.
Planning Commission Hearings. The Planning Commission will meet and thoroughly discuss the proposed draft regulations, their compatibility with surrounding land use categories, and their impacts on the environment. The Planning Commission may request changes be made to the draft regulations. Ultimately, the Planning Commission will make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors regarding the final draft ordinances.
Board of Supervisors Hearings - The Board of Supervisors will meet and take action on regulations. The Board will review the recommendation from staff and the Planning Commission, and may request changes be made to the draft regulations.
October 3, 2017
Other Hearings. These hearings are related to cannabis but not directly related to the permanent land use regulations.
July 25 - Board of Supervisors - discussion regarding taxation and fees.
On or before September 19 - Board of Supervisors - extend urgency ordinance as needed
Cannabis Public Comment Workshop, Nipomo this Friday!
Join SLOCCBA for a "Public Comment Workshop" where we will be discussing zoning and application requirements in regards to the latest draft release of SLO County cannabis regulation. While you're there, receive information on how to make a public comment in response to the proposed ordinance.
San Luis Obispo County Cannabis Ordinance Public Comment - Draft #3
SLO County is asking for more input.
Yet again our county representatives are reaching out to the stakeholders for input as they carefully consider commercial cannabis activity in San Luis Obispo County.
Originally the focus had been on medical cannabis activity, however, due to the passing of Prop 64 combined with the Governor's proposal to mesh the two license types, you'll notice some questions pertaining to adult use commercial cannabis activity as well.
Click on the images below to link with the full slide show presentation.
Please follow the link to the SLO County Board of Supervisors agenda documents pertaining to commercial cannabis activity in SLO County unincorporated areas. Agenda, documents, & SLO Planning Cannabis site.
Be at the hearing meeting, Tuesday, June 20th at 1055 Monterey St. SLO County Board of Supervisors. this item is #48, expected to be up after the 1:30PM lunch break.
SLO County slow to release Draft #3 Ordinance 1 week before public comment.
SLO County Admin has decided to not release the next draft ahead of it being posted with the BOS agenda. It will be attached to the agenda due for release either Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, is the word from the SLO Planning Dept.
Keep tabs on the SLO County Website checking the agenda often in the next few days to be one of the first to read this much anticipated third draft to the SLO County Cannabis Ordinance.
Main contention points to the #2 Draft are: 22.40.020 C. producers of edible products cannot extract at home. How many of you use a Magic Butter Machine or a crock pot to extract? 22.40.040 C. 3. Nipomo Mesa Area - Separation of sites by 1000ft from property lines. Can there be mfg, testing or processing within that 1000 ft? It seems that limitation would be in contrast to a "campus" style production facility model. Why?
Click here In case you need to refer to the entire Title 22 Land use Ordinance of SLO County. F. 1. Water - Does anyone realize all cultivators need to be registered with the California Water Resources? G. 4. Cultivation is not allowed on previously undisturbed land in SLO County. Won't that hamper the ability to expand or start a new outdoor grow? Again, why?
Ooooh, if you've had a previous code enforcement violation # G. 5. might hurt a little.
Then there's the 22.90.030 where all cannabis activities in the Carrizo Planning Area are prohibited.....apparently that includes all Ag land as well.
Let's now hop over to the Coastal Zone, shall we? Take into consideration where you'll be able to operate your non-storefront mobile dispensary or cultivation site.
This is just touching on a few of the issues. What we need is more input as to how these proposed regulations will effect your future business plans. Get the conversation going!
SLO County Planning Department looks to have swatted the cannabis ordinance birdie back to the BOS for further public comment today. A #3 Draft Ordinance was due for release by Monday June 5th but instead, today, released this statement:
From: Brandi Cummings <email@example.com> Date: June 6, 2017 at 12:56:26 PM PDT To: Brandi Cummings <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject:County of San Luis Obispo Cannabis Update This email is an update regarding San Luis Obispo County's cannabis regulations and process.For jurisdictions across California, crafting legislation on a topic as dynamic as cannabis is a significant challenge. This is no different for the County of San Luis Obispo. We want to ensure that the Planning Commission receives a draft that is clearly in line with the Board’s broader direction. For this reason, the ordinance’s next draft will be brought to the Board of Supervisors on June 20th, as opposed to issuing another public input draft on June 5th.We will post details and a link to the agenda item about the June 20th meeting on our website as soon as the agenda is published online. The public is encourage to participate and comment at the meeting on June 20th.For more information, please visit our website at http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/planning/Cannabis-Cultivation.htmBest,Brandi CummingsPlanner II(p) 805-781-1006
Yes, your vote to legalize it matters, however in this particular instance as it sometimes happens, you’ll need to continue to articulate what your expectations of legalization are to your elected officials and policy makers. Even though Prop 64 passed in SLO County at about 60%, there’s a good chunk of the population who oppose the legal use of cannabis and they aren’t taking it lightly. See the latest questionable DOJ behavior reported just today.
In SLO County we still have much to focus on, Cultivation sites, brick and mortar dispensaries, testing and manufacturing but what about the collectives currently operating delivery services? Consumers now have to deal with another barrier to access by cities and counties banning the non-storefront delivery system currently known as "The Collective Model"
Where will you get your cannabis?
Imagine having to drive to the industrial part of Grover Beach (serving all of the 805 area code, including Santa Maria) to wait in long lines at one of the two dispensaries operating on the ENTIRE central coast, (as currently there are no plans anywhere that I know that will be in operation before GB's cannabis park) If you place your order for their mobile delivery how long will it take to get your delivery?.....1, 2 or 3 days to make it up to you in the North County? Will they be as compassionate as your current provider? Because remember, those two dispensaries legally are the only way delivery of cannabis is allowed to happen as it currently stands in SLO County. See Draft #2 page 24. Your local friendly collective that's taken care of your needs in the past will be targeted for operating without a license and who knows what else by what I can only assume will be some kind of sting operation. We need to protect all segments of the cannabis market, especially those who are currently serving consumers with success.
What do we do?
We're still needing to show some viable solutions to regulations that could cripple clustered cultivation sites (aka cannabis campus or co-ops') as well as future dispensary sites on actual farms located throughout the county. In addition, those of you making your own topicals, salves, lotions? Any products you create using cannabis will need to be produced by a legitimate licensed business in order to make it into the legal market, Will you be able to continue to produce those products in your home? Will your current production facility pass the State requirements, let alone your city or county? Sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Prepare public input. Thankfully it looks like SLO County is thirsting for more public input. Come on out of the closet! Prepare your public comment for June 20th at the County Board of Supervisors meeting. MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW TO BE AT THE MEETING! You don't have to speak, just be there.
Share your business plan: Consider participating in the writing of regulation for your particular business idea? Want to be a cottage producer? Show regulators your business plan, expected income, potential (or existing) market. We've got them curious, now's the time to share your dreams.
Delivery businesses currently operating. 1. Let your customers know they need to reach their county or city representatives. 2. Let your county and city representatives know how many customers you are currently serving. Offer up your business and security plan. Policy makers need to understand your unique business, only you can teach them.
Consumers: Cannabis use has come with a long history of stigma. I've lived it for the past 25 years. Wishing I could share my creative secrets but fear of judgement kept me silent until 1 year ago. It was scary at first, wondering what my professional peers would think of me. Turns out that for me, it was a motivator. This whole experience has motivated me to work harder than ever before. It's expanded my horizons in ways I never thought could be possible and helped me to understand compassion and tolerance on a whole different level. My professional peers see that I am who I am and will always be. They now get to see and appreciate the real me, the whole me, and they still believe in me.
Most Importantly, get plugged in! Use @SLOCCBA in your url search to find our social media sites or connect, or hit the social media buttons on this website. Join in the conversation on our SLOCCBA blog page!
Stay tuned! SLOCCBA will be hosting more public comment workshops. Please contact Marie@sloccba.org ASAP if you'd like to host a workshop next week or have questions.