Santa Rosa, CA – June 28, 2017 – The County of Sonoma will begin accepting permit applications for commercial and medical cannabis businesses on Wednesday July 5, 2017. In anticipation of an increase in customers on July 5, the Permit Center will have additional staffing and processes in place to serve the cannabis customers and to limit the impact on existing Permit Sonoma (Permit and Resource Management Department) customers. The Permit Center will also extend public hours on July 5, operating from 8am to 4pm (previously 10:30 to 4).
Outdoor cannabis cultivation zoning permit applications for operations up to and including 10,000 square feet in Diverse Agriculture and Land Extensive Agriculture and up to 25 plants in Land Intensive Agriculture will be accepted at the Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures with a required intake appointment. The Department of Health Services will also begin accepting health permits for dispensaries and edible manufactures.
The acceptance of permits for cannabis businesses marks the culmination of more than a year-long engagement effort, which has involved nearly every County department, the Board of Supervisors, and significant public input to develop and implement a series of ordinances regulating and taxing the local medical cannabis industry.
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Shirlee Zane explained: “The County’s goals in permitting cannabis are to preserve our environmental resources, protect the health and safety of our communities, and ensure the industry contributes positively to the economic vitality of our County.” “We are starting with a fairly conservative approach issuing one-year permits to allow the County to adapt to unforeseen impacts and changing state laws.”
Sonoma County is a leader among California counties to implement the medical cannabis permitting process. In December 2016, the Board of Supervisors adopted the Cannabis Ordinance for Land Use, Medical Cannabis Health Ordinance, and Cannabis Business Tax Ordinance. Ordinances of this nature usually take two to three years to adopt, but in order to provide a clear path forward for existing cultivators seeking a state license, Sonoma County adopted the Cannabis ordinances in 10 months.
In anticipation of the permitting process and to better prepare the industry to move into a regulated commercial market, the County hosted a ten-part workshop series titled “Dirt to Dispensary” to assist cannabis businesses in preparing permit applications.
Many long-time cannabis cultivators are not familiar with government processes. They’re not familiar with how to go in and obtain a permit. They are eager to become compliant businesses that are recognized for their contribution to our local economy, but they don’t know how to navigate the process, which is why these workshops were so important in preparing the industry to meet the same standards as all other local businesses,” said Tim Ricard, Cannabis Program Manager.
Information on the ordinance and cannabis program may be found by visiting the project website: www.sonomacounty.ca.gov/cannabis. For more information, please contact Sonoma County Cannabis Program Manager Tim Ricard, by phone at (707)565-7257 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org