County counsel comments on proposed cannabis regulations

At their meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 21, the Colusa County Board of Supervisors authorized County Counsel Marcos Kropf to provide comments on the draft regarding permanent regulation on medical and recreational cannabis, which were released by state regulators on July 13.

Kropf provided the Pioneer Review with the comments he sent to state regulators on Friday. In the letter, Kropf said that the county’s opposition to two proposed regulations, including one that pertains to the delivery of cannabis goods to physical addresses in California, which states that a delivery employee may deliver to any jurisdiction within the State of California.

Kropf wrote that the proposed regulation directly conflicts with the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) otherwise known as Proposition 64.

“To that end, it attempts to eliminate local jurisdictional control over cannabis deliveries no matter where they may occur, contrary to the express provisions of California Business and Professions Code sections 26200 et. seq. and 26090,” Kropf wrote. “Both of those sections contemplate and allow local regulation of cannabis deliveries. Accordingly, the County opposes proposed regulation 5416(d) because it is contrary to the law, beyond the authority of the Bureau to enact as a regulation, it contravenes the will of the voters, and represents bad public policy.”

Kropf also indicated that the county felt that a proposed regulation – Section 5001(c)(11) – was inadequate. The section requires, as part of the temporary license application process, that an applicant provide ‘a copy of a valid license, permit, or other authorization issued by a local jurisdiction, that enables the applicant to conduct commercial cannabis activity at the location requested for the temporary license,’ as well as requiring that upon receipt of the application, the Bureau shall contact the applicable local jurisdiction to confirm the validity of the authorization. Kropf wrote that it was the county’s opinion that the proposed regulation falls short “because an applicant only has to list a single authorizing approval, when in reality more than one local approval may be required from different permitting agencies.”

“For example, a cannabis manufacturing business using hazardous materials may only list the local planning agency approval but fail to list the local designated Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA),” Kropf wrote. As a result, that applicant will be able to obtain a temporary State manufacturing license and begin operations even though it is in violation of the Health and Safety Code requirements for a Hazardous Material Business Plan, potentially endangering the public.”

Kropf wrote that was exactly what has happened in Colusa County under the current emergency regulations.

“When the Colusa County CUPA learned of this problem, in March of 2018, the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch, California Department of Public Health was notified of the problem in the application process. The only response that Colusa County received is that ‘[w]e’re researching your question and will get back to you.’ To date we have not heard back regarding this issue and the proposed regulations fail to acknowledge this problem or address the issue,” Kropf wrote. “It is critical that the proposed regulations address this issue for the protection of the public health. As such, the County of Colusa recommends that the regulations be amended to require that ALL required permits and approvals be identified by the applicant and that the State contact EVERY permitting agency to ensure that the necessary permits were obtained.”

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Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net