Green Trade Santa Cruz images of Santa Cruz County and Logo

All articles by Green Trade Santa Cruz

State Bureau of Cannabis Control Application Checklist and License Types

The State Bureau of Cannabis Control is holding workshops for businesses seeking to apply for state licensing.  The links for the “aniticipated” licensing application requirements and checklists can be found below:

http://cannabis.ca.gov/…/…/03/17-xxx_Info_Wrkshp_Handout.pdf

http://cannabis.ca.gov/…/03/17-188_Application_Checklist.pdf

 

Draft EIR Comment Period Extended

EIR Public Comment Meeting Monday Oct 2, Comment Period Extended till end of October

The DRAFT Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the proposed regulations for commercial cannabis cultivation and manufacturing is available for review and comment.  A public meeting to accept comments will be held on Monday, October 2, 2017, at 701 Ocean Street in the Board of Supervisors Chambers, fifth floor, from 6:00 to 8:00.  The comment period has been extended until the end of October.

To comment via email, send to cannabiseir@santacruzcounty.us

To send hard copy comments, mail or deliver to:

Cannabis Comments c/o Matt Johnston

Planning Department

701 Ocean Street, 4th floor

Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Draft Environmental Impact Report Released

The long awaited Draft Environmental Impact Report commissioned by the County Planning Department was released Aug 31st.  The public has until Oct 16 to submit comments before a final report will be completed and presented to the Board for certification.  It’s important to note that the completed EIR will not establish policy but will be used to inform policy makers as they consider a final ordinance.

Comments on the adequacy of the document including its assumptions and alternatives, are best made in writing to Matt Johnson, County Planning Department, 601 Ocean St. Santa Cruz, CA 95060 or via email to cannabiseir@santacruzcounty.us, however a public meeting will be held on Oct 2, 6PM at the BOS Chambers in the County Office Building where comments can be made in person.

You can access the document and all the appendices online here.  It is also available for viewing at the Public Library and at the County Office Building.

You can view the Powerpoint presentation given to the public and the Board of Supervisors via Google Docs here: DEIR Powerpoint Presentation  or you can download the document here: BOS 9-12 deir presentation v3

Draft EIR Released, New Licensing Mgr Appointed, Public Event 9/13

A marketing campaign to “Support Santa Cruz Cannabis” will kick off with a gathering of cannabis advocates, local businesses leaders and government officials on Wednesday, September 13, 7 PM at the Resource Center for NonViolence on Ocean St Santa Cruz.

The newly appointed County Cannabis Licensing Manager Robin Bolster-Grant will be on hand along with other officials from the city and county.  GreenTrade Santa Cruz, a coalition of local cannabis related businesses, will present their vision for how Santa Cruz businesses will capture their share of what is estimated to be a $5 to $10 billion industry.  

“Santa Cruz County is well positioned to lead the state into this new era.”  says Pat Malo, Executive Director of GreenTrade Santa Cruz and host of the event.  “The County was among the first jurisdictions in the state to embrace legalization and begin the hard work of creating a regulatory framework to allow local businesses to seek state licenses. Other areas may boast about the amount of product they produce but Santa Cruz has always been about quality.  Our regulatory process reflects our desire to create a sustainable, environmentally responsible and socially conscious cannabis trade – one that we can all take pride in.”

With today’s release of the Draft Environmental Impact Report the stage is set for final adoption of local ordinances specifying the parameters businesses will need to meet in order to be eligible for state licenses. A public presentation on the DEIR will be held on Sept 6 at 6:30 at the County Office Building. Public comments will be accepted through October 16th.

There is a lot of work that still needs to be done at the state and local level before the largest legal cannabis market in the world opens on Jan 2 2018.   

On Tuesday Sept 12th, the Board of Supervisors will hear reports from County staff on the status of dispensary licensing, a proposed new ordinance for processors, taxation issues and the steps which still need to be taken to ensure compliant local businesses are able to apply for state licenses.

Growing Support for Santa Cruz Cannabis

Over the past ten days we have met with John Leopold, Chair of the Board of Supervisors; Robin Musitelli, aide to Supervisor McPherson, Rachel Dann, aide to Supervisor Coonerty, County Chief Administrator Carlos Palacio, and his staff including Melodye Serino, and Loretta Moreno.

There have also been meetings with Santa Cruz City officials.

Our primary goal has been to ensure that action is taken soon to ensure local businesses wishing to seek state licensing are eligible to apply at the earliest opportunity and that as many businesses as possible receive the necessary local authorizations to continue operations when the regulated state market opens in January and the application period closes in July.

We have proposed an expedited determination by local authorities of the form that this authorization will take.  The criteria for determining which entities will be eligible for this authorization will still need to be determined.

We are confident that our local officials are not only aware of the need for quick action but are actively seeking an appropriate solution.

On Thursday we learned that the draft EIR will be made available for a 45 day public comment period sometime next week (Thurs or Fri).  The draft will be first presented to the Planning and Agriculture Commissions on Sept 6th. A public presentation is scheduled for that evening at 7PM in the BOS chambers at the County Office Building.

On Tues Sept 12 the Board of Supervisors will receive reports from staff on various cannabis related issues including an update on dispensary licensing, the draft manufacturing ordinance, and taxation.

We believe that staff will be ready to discuss some course of action on an interim authorization as soon as the following Board meeting on Sept 19.

Be sure and save the date for the next GreenTrade general meeting; Sept 13, 7PM at the Resource Center for NonViolence. We want as large a turnout as possible to kick off our “Support Santa Cruz Cannabis” campaign.

Support Santa Cruz Cannabis

Soon the State of California will begin processing applications from businesses hoping to participate in the world’s largest and fastest growing regulated cannabis market.  The State application process has been designed to preserve local control with public safety as the top priority however continued delays at the local level are putting Santa Cruz businesses in jeopardy.  

Without quick action by local leaders, Santa Cruz businesses will be shut out of that process.

A simple solution is available: Authorize local businesses to continue operation while they seek state licensing.  This affords policy makers, staff and the public the time to thoughtfully consider the EIR, better align ordinances with state law and regulations and to reconcile local policy to the new reality of legalized adult use.  

Conservative estimates of the value of our local cannabis trade is $500 million annually, putting it on a par with agriculture and tourism.  Many of the hundreds of family farms and cottage businesses that have been operating locally for decades have already been forced to relocate to other parts of the state to avoid significant disruption or bankruptcy.  Others have had to halt needed investments, layoff workers and re-think their business plans.

Since 2015, by some estimates, as much as half of local cannabis production has been lost to other counties due to regulatory and administrative uncertainties.

Please join with GreenTrade to urge your elected officials to take action to protect and promote the growth of a safe, environmentally responsible, socially conscious, economically viable cannabis trade in our community by ensuring local businesses are eligible to apply for state licensing.

The consequences of inaction are serious and will affect our whole community.

Santa Cruz could lose one of its largest economic drivers, turn away millions of dollars in annual tax revenue, disrupt hundreds of businesses and families and be left with only unlicensed, unregulated operators.

The clock is running out, the time to act is now.

Please, write, call or visit your local representative and tell them:  “We Support Santa Cruz Cannabis”  Alert your friends and neighbors to the serious social, economic and, environmental consequences of continued delays in reaching a simple, common sense solution.  Become a full or supporting member of GreenTrade; click here to sign up.

 

Policy Goals

In recognition of the new post Prop 64 and SB94 realities we want the County to consider the  adoption of a fourth policy goal relative to local cannabis:  

Foster and support the economic sustainability of the local cannabis trade

In the short term Green Trade will continue to advocate for County action in the following areas:

  • Ensuring that local cannabis businesses in good standing are eligible to apply for state licenses at the earliest opportunity (Jan 1, 2018?)
  • Aligning the local ordinance with SB94, particularly definitions and license types
  • Creating a sustainable local tax policy
  • Creating a representative advisory board of stakeholders
  • Ensuring that WAMM is protected and eligible for state licensing

Among the specific actions we believe should be considered as soon as possible:

  • Creation of a registration program for manufacturers, distributors, transporters, nurseries and testing labs as a first step to allow local businesses to apply for state licensing.
  • Adoption of an emergency ordinance providing for interim or provisional authorization allowing local businesses in good standing to be eligible to apply for a state license.
  • Amend cultivation and manufacturing ordinances to more closely align with State law
  • Include cottage licensing
  • Strengthen the environmental best practices to reduce the use of pesticides, runoff, stream diversion, etc..  Maintain the ban on genetically modified cannabis.
  • Appoint an advisory group of stakeholders to study and make recommendations on a sustainable tax policy, code enforcement and other issues

 

Good Standing

Setting the Bar

The Green Trade monthly policy working group will meet in room 4 of the Louden Nelson Community Center 11:30-1 on Wednesday June 21.  Our monthly general meeting on Wednesday June 28, 7pm at the Freight Building at Depot Park will also be policy focused.

The working group will begin the process of “Setting the Bar” for an environmentally responsible, socially conscious, safe and fair cannabis trade in Santa Cruz County and defining “good standing” as it applies to eligibility for state licensing.

High quality standards, a commitment to best practices and the sense of community is what created our world renowned reputation for great cannabis.  As we transition from prohibition and quasi legal status to full membership in local and state commerce we have new responsibilities but also a great opportunity to provide leadership within the wider community.

The recently announced delay in the expected release of the draft EIR makes it nearly certain that the Board of Supervisors will not get to vote on the proposed final ordinances before the end of the year.  New state legislation and the agency regulations being finalised should provide a much clearer path toward state licensing.  

One thing remains certain, eligibility for state licenses requires local approval.  Local approval may come in many forms, (the state will likely provide some guidance). It would certainly be a local license but it could also come as an affirmation that a business is in “good standing” with the local jurisdiction.  

We do not yet know how the new leadership at the County Office – the replacement of long time Chief Administrator Susan Mauriello with Carlos Palacio – will affect how cannabis businesses are treated but we do know that the county staff have heard our calls to develop a plan that allows for business continuity and ensures eligibility to seek state licensing.  We need to be clear that disruptions are not good for anyone.

We’ve been invited to share our thoughts on what benchmarks or other criteria could establish “good standing” and that will be one of our focuses this Wednesday.

In other news:

State Bureau of Cannabis Control

The passage this week of SB94 now awaits only the Governor’s signature to become the law of the land.  This almost 60,000 word law replaces both the AUMA and the MCRSA language.  A lot of ambiguity has been removed and generally the new law should help small producers and processors to enter and compete in legal cannabis marketplace. The various state agencies who have been drafting regulations will now need to realign them to fit this law.  Public comment periods will reopen soon.

State Environmental Impact Report

The State CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Draft Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) for public review and comment. This environmental report can be viewed hereThe Draft PEIR provides information about the potential environmental effects associated with the adoption and implementation of statewide cannabis cultivation regulations. Additional information on the PEIR can be found by reading this Frequently Asked Questions handout on the environmental review process. The release of the Draft PEIR triggers a 45-day public review and comment period to allow agencies and interested parties the opportunity to provide input on the environmental analyses, mitigation measures, and alternatives associated with statewide cannabis cultivation. Public and agency comments on the Draft PEIR are a critical part of the environmental review process.

The formal comment period for the CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Draft PEIR begins on June 15, 2017, and ends on July 31, 2017, 5pm (PST) A number of public meetings will be held around the state including one in Monterey on July 18th.

Marketing Working Group Update

A lot of progress is being made on collaborative marketing initiatives by our marketing working group.  We will share more information at our June General meeting but here are few highlights:

  • Progress continues on a “Santa Cruz Brand” logo for use by members.
  • A cannabis speakers bureau is being formed.  Brenda Chadwick and Christopher Carr are taking the lead in the organization of this service to reach out in the local community to provide reliable information on a variety of topics. A short generic presentation is being developed, speakers are being recruited and audience groups are being identified.
  • A “Swag Bag” of Santa Cruz cannabis related products for use as promotional gifts for visiting celebrities and dignitaries and as a prototype for future promotional activities is being designed.

Green Trade Membership Update

We have resolved our banking issue and can now resume accepting membership fees. A separate announcement with all the details is coming soon.  It will be important that prospective members sign up and remit their fees to assure voting rights, eligibility for election to the Board of Directors and other membership benefits.

Plans for a Professional Services focused meeting

We are planning to hold a general meeting (possibly in July) featuring service providers – attorneys, accountants, realtors, insurers, packaging, marketing, etc. – If you fall into this category let us know by email to info@greentradesantacruz.org if you would be interested in participating. If you are in need of any of these services, stay tuned for more details.

General Meeting, May 31, 7 PM

On Wed May 31 at 7 PM at the Freight Building in Depot Park in Santa Cruz Green Trade will host a “Small farmer, landowner, and cultivator mixer”  where we will discuss various issues related to cooperative arrangements that may be available under current proposed regulations.

Were bringing together realtors, attorneys, small farmers, and cannabis cultivators for what we expect will be a lively exchange of information about ways we can all work together to plan for the future of cannabis cultivation in Santa Cruz County. 

There will be a brief update on the current state of regulatory issues followed by short presentations about the opportunities and pitfalls that are associated with the proposed local ordinances.  There will be plenty of opportunities to get every question answered and to interact with other attendees. Open to the public.

 

What’s In A Word?

 

 

What’s in a Word?

Close to 50 representatives of local cannabis businesses met at the last Green Trade Santa Cruz meeting at the Freight Building in Depot Park to get an update on local and state regulatory actions, exchange ideas, and discuss collective marketing strategies.

The entire gamut of cannabis related businesses were represented from growers, processors and retail to distribution, marketing, and service providers.  There were 19 who self identified as cultivators, 12 manufacturers, 5 Retail/Distribution and a dozen miscellaneous ancillary businesses, like suppliers, packaging, legal, accounting, etc..

Attendees were asked to share if their product or service uses “Santa Cruz” in their marketing and what terms do they think best describes Santa Cruz Cannabis

Terms like “healthy” “natural” “pure” “environmentally conscious” and “organic” were offered.  “Blessed”, “cool” “hip” “fair” “original” and “artisan” were also repeatedly mentioned.

“Passion”, “compassion”, “community” “stewardship” and “love” were other terms that resonated with the group.

There was general agreement that “high quality” should be a cornerstone of local products and services as a way of differentiating Santa Cruz from therest of the State. Adopting and setting high standards was seen as a necessary step to protect the brand.

Our unique legacy, was seen as a strong selling point. From the communes of the 60’s and 70’s, the birth of the American organic farming movement and the success of the Santa Cruz Mountain wine appellation,  to WAMM, and MAPS, Santa Cruz has a solid reputation for fostering pioneers, innovators and risk takers. Our significant contributions in genetics, research, cultivation methods, processing and handling should be spotlighted as well.  

We do it the “right way” was a common sentiment expressed.

The local lifestyle: “laid back” “stress free” “tolerant” “progressive” were coupled with surf, sun, sand and skateboards. Active and activists were popular terms but the response that drew the biggest reaction was simplyThe best weed in the world”.