Cottage grow licenses seen as starting point for talks with Nevada County supervisors
A marijuana bill sitting on the governor’s desk could be a stepping stone for Nevada County growers.
The bill, if signed into law, would create a new cultivation license for smaller grows under the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act. Called a specialty cottage license, the new permit would allow grows of up to 25 plants or 2,500 square feet.
The smallest grow currently allowed by the statewide cannabis regulations is up to 50 plants or 5,000 square feet.
“We want to have small business operations and that’s what this license gives us,” said Jonathan Collier, chairman of the Nevada County chapter of the California Growers Association.
“It gives us another tool in our tool belt,” Collier added later. “Type I cottages are a good place to start.”
The new license will amount to nothing if the Nevada County Board of Supervisors opts against permitting marijuana grows under MCRSA. Growers must get permits from both state and local governments under the statewide regulations passed last year. If a local jurisdiction declines to issue permits, no legal grows may occur in that area.
The law calls for permitting to become effective Jan. 1, 2018.
Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, said he hopes the bill provides a starting point for talks between Nevada County growers and supervisors.
Grow supporters and supervisors have clashed this year, first over Measure W, which would have banned outdoor grows, and then over the creation of new, temporary marijuana regulations.
In the wake of Measure W’s failure, growers pushed for the county to allow larger gardens. Supervisors gave some ground, permitting grows of up to 25 plants on over 20 acres, if in the proper zoning.
The cottage grow license would allow the same number of plants, or permit grows on land equaling about 1/16th of an acre.
“We’re hopeful that it will be easier to accept,” Allen said of the cottage license. “We’re hopeful that this can be common ground.”
California growers remain in a kind of limbo until state permits go into effect. No state licenses are needed to grow now, because those licenses don’t yet exist.
Nevada County has its own, temporary grow rules. Officials intend to form an advisory committee and create permanent rules over the next several months.
Collier, who was involved in crafting the existing, temporary rules, said officials are hesitant to make permanent regulations with the possibility of legalized, recreational marijuana.
California voters on Nov. 8 will decide on Proposition 64, called the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. If passed, adults at least 21 years old could buy, possess and smoke cannabis.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
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