Sonoma County hashish growers and their allies gathered by the handfuls Friday outdoors the Board of Supervisors’ workplace in Santa Rosa to denounce the county’s dealing with of economic hashish regulation and taxation, calling it overly burdensome and expensive.
Taxes levied by the county are extreme, growers say, and a sluggish, convoluted native allowing course of has hampered the enlargement of their trade since California voters legalized adult-use leisure marijuana in 2016.
Growers have bristled at pushback from residents who don’t want hashish farms close by and are calling on county officers to loosen laws and permit extra industrial hashish operations throughout a wider span of territory outdoors cities.
With out main modifications, growers will likely be chased off or compelled again into the black market, they are saying.
“They’re overburdening us with unachievable laws,” mentioned David Drips, a co-owner of hashish farm Petaluma Hill Farms and co-organizer of Friday’s protest, which drew about 80 individuals.
Tensions have mounted between farmers and neighbors over security, water use, and different impacts on neighborhoods. The county has agreed to study those impacts in an prolonged environmental report superior by supervisors in Might and prone to take at the very least a yr to finish.
Within the meantime, hashish growers proceed to hunt and safe approval to open new farms, though not at a tempo they’d choose.
A proposed moratorium looking for to halt one allowing pathway — permitting totally different farmers to share land — is about to come back earlier than the Board of Supervisors on Sept. 21, elevating the stakes for growers.
Adopted with the purpose to assist small farmers, the pathway permits a property proprietor to lease land to a number of small-scale farmers supplied the operations don’t exceed the utmost cultivation space allowed beneath the county’s zoning, in keeping with the county’s web site.
Underneath the county’s present allowing course of, industrial growers should get a license from the state and apply for a allow via Allow Sonoma, the county’s planning and constructing division. The county provides a number of varieties of permits, with totally different ranges of county scrutiny and public enter relying on elements together with the dimensions and kind of develop.
Those that endure the very best stage of scrutiny must go earlier than the Board of Zoning Changes for approval, with appeals dealt with by the Board of Supervisors. That allowing course of may also require candidates to offer environmental experiences and take part in a public listening to.
Neighbors have known as for that course of to be saved for a bigger variety of proposed farms. However hashish growers and their allies say the county ought to deal with marijuana the identical as different crops, comparable to grapes, that are ruled by the agricultural commissioner’s workplace and aren’t topic to as most of the heightened allowing requirements.
Main as much as the Board of Supervisors Sept. 21 listening to, Drips mentioned hashish advocates are planning one other protest within the hopes of creating their message recognized.
“This can be a authorized trade that provides good jobs, with first rate truthful paying wages,” Drips mentioned.
You may attain Employees Author Emma Murphy at 707-521-5228 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @MurphReports.