Mendocino County, CA (Of Pot Fame) Looks At Regulating Collective Marijuana Growing


Graphic: Reality Catcher
Mendocino County’s regulations on collective medical marijuana grow-ops and dispensaries are being hammered out Monday.

​Historically weed-friendly Mendocino County’s debate over regulating medical marijuana dispensaries continues Monday at 3 p.m., when the Human Services Advisory Committee of the County Board of Supervisors meets. The committee has been working since spring to hash out the county’s marijuana cultivation rules.

Supervisor John McCowen, who along with Supervisor Kendall Smith sits on the committee for monthly meetings, said the process has been delayed by numerous speakers opposed to the county regulating dispensaries.
“People are opposed to what the committee is doing, and they’re doing everything they can to impede our work,” McCowen told the Ukiah Daily Journal. “I suspect the real intent is that they are not in favor of any regulation that might actually apply to them,” he said.
“Interfering with the ability of the committee to make a decision would prevent regulation,” he said.

County of Mendocino
Supervisor John McCowen: “People are opposed to what the committee is doing”

​McCowen and Smith hope to have their recommendations before the full Board of Supervisors early in January. Monday’s meeting will probably be the last one at the committee level about revising the ordinance, according to McCowen; then, the Board begins its review.
“We need some form of county regulation and self-regulation by the growers,” Smith said. The ordinance currently being considered limits the number of medical marijuana plants allowed at one location to 25.
Proposed changes include one exemption that would allow a collective to have up to 99 plants at one location with a permit issued by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. The parcel would need to be at least five acres, and the grower or collective would need medical recommendations to justify the number of plants.

County of Mendocino
Supervisor Kendall Smith: “We need some form of county regulation and self-regulation by the growers”

​According to the ordinance, the Sheriff’s Office would inspect grow sites before issuing permits. Another proposed change would allow growers to select a third party, rather than the Sheriff’s Office, to do the on-site inspection, chosen from a list of qualified people the Sheriff’s Office would keep.
Other regulations included in the ordinance include prohibiting marijuana cultivation visible from a public right of way; prohibiting “objectionable odor and light pollution” (the amount of subjectivity in that one practically guarantees future litigation); requiring outdoor grows to be at least 100 feet away from neighbors’ houses; and limiting indoor grows to 100 square feet.
Mendocino, which along with Humboldt and Trinity counties is known as the Emerald Triangle, is renowned for the quantity and quality of marijuana grown there. The area first became known for cannabis cultivation when a mass exodus of hippies from the urban environs of San Francisco and Oakland resulted in lots of hemp-loving homesteaders adopting a more rural lifestyle.