County to consider cannabis as ag crop – Sonoma County Gazette

The County of Sonoma Cannabis Program today announced four virtual town halls, including two each on March 8 and March 12, to allow for public discussion regarding a proposed policy change to streamline permitting for commercial cannabis cultivation in agricultural and resource zoned areas of unincorporated Sonoma County. The current use permit process involves multiple stages of review and studies across numerous government agencies. In addition to the proposed ordinance, a proposed amendment to the county General Plan would recognize cannabis as an agricultural crop consistent with state law.

The draft ordinance, general plan amendment and related documents were posted for public review on February 16 and remain available until March 18 at 12:00 p.m., with public comments requested via email to Cannabis@Sonoma-County.org.

View the documents here:

sonomacounty.ca.gov/cannabis-program

Schedule of upcoming virtual town halls:

  • March 8, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • March 8, 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • March 12, 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
  • March 12, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

The virtual town halls will be facilitated by Dr. B.J. Bischoff, a meeting facilitation expert with over 25 years of experience enabling effective group discussions and planning for public policy development.

Members of the public interested in participating in the virtual town halls should visit the Sonoma County Cannabis Program webpage for webinar link information.

On December 17, 2019, the Board of Supervisors accepted recommendations from the Cannabis Ad Hoc directing staff to develop policy changes that would streamline the permitting process. In addition, the November 10, 2020, Cannabis Ad Hoc update included staff’s recommendation to pursue a General Plan amendment that will manage cannabis cultivation similarly to other crops' agricultural uses.

A public hearing before the County of Sonoma Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled for March 18 at the conclusion of the public comment period. The Planning Commission will review and incorporate public feedback in a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors for consideration during a public hearing tentatively scheduled for April 13. Separate notices of the date, time, and means of accessing the public hearings will be published 10 days prior to the confirmed dates.

For more information about the upcoming virtual town halls and draft ordinance, or for general information about cannabis in Sonoma County, please email Cannabis@Sonoma-County.org or call (707) 565-2431.

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