Beginning on Friday, Feb. 26 you can take part in making history by applying to have your medical marijuana business permitted in the unincorporated areas of Humboldt County. On this day, our Commercial Medical Marijuana Land Use Ordinance will take effect, making Humboldt the first county in the state to develop a comprehensive local regulatory system that is in line with recently passed state law.
On Jan. 1, the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) took effect, and provided a statewide regulatory framework whereby those who obtain both a local and state permit can legally engage in a variety of activities involving commercial production, manufacturing, and distribution of medical cannabis in California. Once the state begins issuing licenses you will need to get those as well. However, those who are considered to be in good standing with their local jurisdiction will be first in line for those licenses.
“As the new state laws come online, cannabis growers and other businesses will only be able to operate legally in California if they are licensed and permitted at the local level,” said Mark Lovelace, Chair of the Board of Supervisors. “Humboldt County is leading the state right now, so those businesses which get their permits early will not only be ahead of the curve legally, they will also be well-positioned in this emerging marketplace.”
These regulations were put into effect to reduce environmental impacts, to help ensure local control and to convert an underground, black-market economy into a legitimate agricultural and commercial contributor to the local and state economy. By applying, you are not only ensuring that your business is operating in accordance with the MMRSA and county regulations, you are also demonstrating that you are a responsible business owner and member of our community.
The permits you will be able to apply for are as follows (full definitions can be found in Humboldt County Ordinance No. 2544):
• Cultivation: Planting, growing, harvesting, drying, curing, grading, or trimming of marijuana for medical use. Permits are broken down into indoor, outdoor, mixed light and nursery cultivation.• Manufacture: Transforming the raw agricultural product into a medical cannabis product
• Distribution: Location or facility to procure medical marijuana for sale to dispensaries, and the inspection, quality assurance and batch testing of the product prior to transport.
To apply for your permit, visit the Planning & Building Department beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 26 at 3015 H Street in Eureka.
For more information:• Visit our Medical Marijuana Permits page at humboldtgov.org/MMJ, which has a checklist for easy reading.
• The department has also established a dedicated 24-hour hotline for questions concerning the Commercial Medical Marijuana Land Use Ordinance. Call them at 707-268-3795. During regular business hours, dedicated staff will be available to answer questions and return calls.
“This is an exciting time for Humboldt County, and it’s an honor to be able to serve our citizens in this historic new process,” said Robert Wall, Director of the Planning & Building Department. “This is new ground for everyone, so there are bound to be some bumps in the road. However, we are dedicated to making this successful and supporting applicants in any way possible. We want to make sure you have everything you need and answer any questions you have during the permitting process.”
The hard work of both our Planning & Building Department and our County Counsel’s Office allowed us to pass these regulations before any other county in the state. More regulations are still being developed.
Beginning Feb. 26, the application process will only be open to activities outside of the Coastal Zone. New regulations within the Coastal Zone await review and certification by the Coastal Commission before they may take effect. Unless extended by the Board of Supervisors, the period for accepting applications will close on December 31.