Humboldt County calls for changes to commercial cannabis policy
HUMBOLDT COUNTY, Calif. - Humboldt County is proposing new regulations on commercial cannabis cultivation and the environmental impacts associated with the changes. The county has released a Notice of Preparation that details the proposed changes to the county's commercial cannabis land use ordinances. The County of Humboldt Planning and Building Department released the NOP for an Environmental Impact Report on April 7. The EIR will address adoption of countywide regulations and policies to govern commercial cannabis activities concerning medical cannabis or adult use of marijuana. This includes cultivation, processing, distribution, manufacturing, testing, transportation, and retail sales within select zoning districts. The NOP calls for changes to limitations that were placed on the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. California voters approved Proposition 64, AUMA, on Nov. 8, 2016, authorizing a state licensing program for commercial marijuana activities similar to the medical program, but not limited to medical cannabis. One aspect that the NOP mentions as problematic is the restriction placed on applications for growing permits. The proposed amendments to the Humboldt County Code aim to both extend the application period for commercial medical cannabis activities, and broaden regulations to include activities authorized by AUMA. The project area to be analyzed will be the unincorporated parts of the county. In its entirety, Humboldt County contains nearly 2.3 million acres of land. It contains seven incorporated cities, which only make up for 1 percent of the total area. Thirty percent is either publicly owned land, like national forests and parks, or tribal territory. The EIR will examine potential direct and indirect biological impacts of the proposed ordinance amendments. These include issues like loss of vegetation and habitats with development of new cultivation sites or expansion of existing cannabis cultivation sites. The report will also address impacts on roads, accessory structures, above and below ground storage of water used for irrigation, as well as installation of security fencing. Other project features with potential impacts to wildlife include improper use of rodenticide and pesticides, loss or reduction of riverside habitats, and noise resulting from increased human activity in remote areas.
The NOP will be circulated for a 30-day review period from April 6, 2017 to May 9, 2017, and can be viewed here.
The County of Humboldt Planning and Building Department welcomes responsible and trustee agency input during this review. Written comments should be submitted or postmarked no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, May 9, 2017. Please indicate a contact person in your response and send your comments to:
Steve Lazar Humboldt County Planning & Building Department 3015 H Street Eureka, CA 95501