The Colusa County Board of Supervisors last week agreed to allow limited commercial cannabis operations at Colusa Industrial Properties.
The board, which had previously banned all commercial marijuana production in Colusa County, introduced an amendment to their regulations on Jan. 8 to allow limited cannabis production at the industrial park because the annexation process of the property into the City of Colusa has started.
The ordinance, once adopted, would be good until the annexation of the property is completed or two years, whichever comes first, said outgoing Chairman Gary Evans.
City and county officials have been discussing the possibility of limited marijuana cultivation at Colusa Industrial Properties for several months, and have arranged to divide revenue under a tax share agreement.
A proposed marijuana company is slated to go into an area located directly behind the Colusa Visitors Center on Davison Court.
“Currently, Colusa County has a complete ban on the cultivation and distribution of marijuana within all the unincorporated area of the county,” said County Counsel Marcus Kroph. “That includes industrial hemp, which falls under cannabis in our ordinance.”
The only legal marijuana cultivation allowed in Colusa County currently is the personal exception under state law that allows individuals 21 and older to have six plants, but even that is subject to growing restrictions under the county’s ordinance, Kroph said.
The Board of Supervisors is expected to adopt the amendment to their cannabis regulations at their February meeting, which will allow indoor marijuana cultivation within a very limited area of CIP, providing it operates under a state license, has an odor management plan, security, and waste management plan, among other requirements, officials said. The ordinance will take effect 30 days later.
“Nowhere else in the county will we be permitting this under our proposed amendments,” Kroph said.
While county officials have frowned on cannabis cultivation anywhere in the county, they recognize that the City of Colusa embraces it.
“The city has already committed to being in the cannabis industry, and this gives them a place to put things,” said Evans, at his last meeting at the helm.
Most involved in the CIP annexation process have agreed that property zoned M2 for heavy industrial use is really the place for marijuana cultivation, which is legal under state law, as opposed to Colusa’s downtown or historic waterfront, which already has several marijuana businesses in operation and another large project in the works.
Once CIP is annexed, the City of Colusa will be able to regulate cannabis operations as they see fit, Kroph said.
The Board of Supervisors on Jan 8, however, said they would not remove the prohibition within their code related to the delivery of marijuana to any location in Colusa County, despite California’s final draft cannabis business regulations that approved statewide marijuana deliveries, even in areas that ban cannabis.
Those rules will not be completely finalized until approved by the Office of Administrative Law, which could make a decision on the regulations as early as today.
Meanwhile, statewide delivery continues to be the most debated issue involving California’s marijuana industry, with the League of California Cities and Law Enforcement groups planning to take their fight to court. The groups argue that pot deliveries in areas that ban cannabis erode local government control and have the potential to increase crime.
Kroph said despite the regulations allowing deliveries statewide, the county’s position is that it violates state law.
“It is my recommendation to leave (the prohibition) in there,” he told the board last week. “That is something we can fight down the line if we want to do that, but it is something still up to interpretation.”■