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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.