Citing federal pressure, Mendocino County will no longer issue permits to medical marijuana cultivators
After a memo from the Justice Department threatening everything, from the county they live in to their personal well-being, Mendocino County supervisors saw no choice, and voted 4-1 to eliminate the county's medical marijuana permit program Tuesday.
After receiving the letter from the office of U.S. Attorney, Melinda Haag, the Mendocino County leadership decided that it would be in their best interest for the Board of Supervisors to remove from the ordinance all language referring to the program, according to a report from the Ukiah Daily Journal.
The landmark program allowed medicinal cannabis collectives to grow up to 99 plants, with a fee structure including inspections, and zip-tie identification markers for each plant.
According to an article from Toke Of The Town, the annual application and initial inspection cost $1,500, with each zip tie costing $50. Monthly inspections cost from $300 to $600 per month. Last year, 94 cannabis farmers signed up for the program, which generated $663,230 for the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office just from July through December. The decision could force the county to lay off sheriff’s deputies due to the loss in revenue.
A slew of people lined up to argue the changes. Speakers pointed out that the county's regulations brought the marijuana industry up from the underground, and the county needs the revenue. Some urged the board to fight the federal threat, saying "there were no legal grounds for it." Only two speakers were completely opposed to marijuana cultivation in general.
"This is not telling people they can't grow marijuana, as per the state attorney general's guidelines; it's telling local government that we can't collect money for it," Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman said. Gotta love when federal policy puts people out of work.
Once the changes are enacted, the county will revert to the prior limit of twenty-five plants per-parcel. Collectives may still purchase the zip-ties to indicate the plants are legal, under state guidelines.
Other minor changes were enacted, including one that disallowed the use of diesel generators, a requirement that growers using rental property notify a landlord, and a requirement that a doctor's recommendation be displayed in a medical marijuana garden.