Oct 3, 2016

What is the agenda of certain locals, including HUMMAP, trying to put roadblocks for those in the cannabis industry trying to get legal?

Seems to me that HUMMAP has its own agenda in putting roadblocks for those trying to get out of the black market in the cannabis industry. I attended the meetings for the commercial cannabis ordinance and so did HUMMAP's Woods and board meeting regular Kent Sawatsky. Read the previous posts to see why Sawatsky's involvement is relevant.

I took detailed notes. I am no expert on cannabis or land use or building and planning but even I understood the most basic concepts.

No new grows --end date applications at the end of the year--December 31 2016, specifically.

Prime ag soil only for new grows.

End of the year date was to bring under baseline for mitigated negative declaration

Something else that is worth pondering is that when TPZ land recommendation from Planning Commission didn't get included, Lee Ulansey and Bob Morris brought a vote of no confidence against Planning staff.

I am not against all landowners or developers, some are good, some are questionable, just  cannabis growers or any other profession. Right now the people complaining about this ordinance just seem to be people not getting their way.

Staff went over Planning Department recommendations with County Counsel.

Read the court documents, press releases and responses for yourself.

This is a link to the actual court document of the settlement in July 2106. It supports the letter County Counsel sent to Rachel Doughty, attorney for HUMMAP on 

County Counsel's response to Rachel Doughty's letter on September 27, 2016:

We are in receipt of your letter of September 25, 2016, claiming that the issuance of the Director’s Policy Statement No. 16-006, constitutes an amendment of Ordinance No. 2544 in violation of the settlement agreement and Court order in HuMMAP v. County of Humboldt, Case No. CV-160171.  We disagree with your allegations for the reasons explained below.
The administrative record shows that the intent of the Board of Supervisors was to have a cutoff date for all existing and new grows as December 31, 2016.  They also directed staff to determine what “good standing” meant pursuant to state law.  Staff came up with the 180 day requirement (August 23rd) for determination of good standing. But the overall purpose of the Ordinance was to bring existing illegal grows into environmental compliance.  People may apply for a permit without pre-registering, but they will have the burden to prove a pre-existing grow.
Many people contacted the Planning Department and were confused as to which date applied.  Planning staff sent out its policy statement as a clarification that is allowed by state law to interpret the ambiguity.  The courts give great deference to the agency’s interpretation of an ambiguity especially when it is viewed with the ordinance’s purpose in its entirety and it is in accord with the legislative record.  Also, even without an ambiguity, a court may disregard a literal meaning that is in conflict with a clear legislative purpose. 
You were personally informed of staff’s position on the deadline during our settlement negotiations and had no issue with it at that time.  The Settlement Agreement only references the December 31st deadline and that the County will do an EIR before it continues the application period beyond that date.   We are in the process of doing the EIR. Your client also stated that they wanted as many illegal grows to be brought into environmental compliance as possible.  Precluding any more applications for existing grows before December 31st would be contrary to your previous position. 
We will not revoke the policy statement and the cutoff date for all applications remains December 31, 2016.  If you have any questions, please let us know.  

Text of letter to County from HUMMAP's attorney Rachael Doughty on September 25, 2016:

Re: Amendment of County Ordinance 2544 (CMMLUO) in Violation of Judgment Dear Counsel: Robert Sutherland received correspondence from Mr. Lazar on Saturday morning that included as an attachment Planning and Building Policy Statement No. 16-006. As indicated in my August 29, 2016 correspondence with your office and subsequent discussion with Mr. Lazar and Ms. Duke on September 13, 2016, we consider the policy position described in this Statement to be an amendment and expansion of the CMMLUO in violation of the settlement agreement reached by the Humboldt-Mendocino Marijuana Advocacy Project (HUMMAP) and the County (CV- 160171). Unless the policy statement is withdrawn by close of business, Tuesday, September 27, it is our intention on Wednesday, September 28 to file an application for an order to show cause why the County should not be held in contempt for violation of the terms of the settlement agreement pursuant to the court’s continuing jurisdiction over this matter. We will also seek attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in enforcement of the judgment. Section CMMLUO section unambiguously requires: All operators of existing cultivation sites seeking recognition of cultivation activities that occurred on or before January 1, 2016, for purposes of obtaining a Zoning Clearance Certificate or discretionary permit for ongoing commercial cannabis cultivation for medical use pursuant to the CMMLUO shall register with the County of Humboldt Department of Planning & Building within 180 days of the effective date of this ordinance. (emphasis added)

Section requires that permits only be issued “when possible to bring the cultivation
into compliance with all applicable standards set forth in [the Ordinance]” which must include
registration to demonstrate existence as of January 1, 2016.
The ordinance offers no alternative to registration by which a permit applicant may establish
existence by January 1, 2016. This interpretation is consistent with the information provided the
public by the County even as of the date of this letter.
Please confirm by tomorrow, September 27, that the County has not and will not issue
commercial grow permits under the CMMLUO to any existing grower that did not register
pursuant to CMMLUO section by August 23, 2016.1
Please consider this letter an invitation to meet and confer regarding this matter

Jul 25, 2016

Does HUMMAP want growers to stay in the black market?

HUMMAP got absolutely nothing in the lawsuit they filed against the County except getting an attorney from Berkley getting paid. The Board of Supervisors had the dates where they approved funding an EIR already and HUMMAP acts like they got the Board Of Supervisors to do something.

After the HUMMAP settlement, I have not seen Robert Sutherland at the cannabis tax or any cannabis related BOS meetings. I have seen some other people who also attended regularly when the commercial cannabis cultivation ordinance was being discussed.

HUMMAP cost the County $35k and got absolutely nothing from the lawsuit. Was this because Sutherland and others didn't get their way with the board?  Is HUMMAP telling people  to stay in a black market?

The BOS already had everything in the ordinance, HUMMAP just clarified where you get tax credits and generator decibel level (which was already in the ordinance). HUMMAP dropped their main issue of size of square footage and  are now touting credit for the EIR, but the BOS had already approved and funded it. BOS would have already had a cleanup ordinance come forward but everything was on hold because of the lawsuit.

HUMMAP should be focusing their energies getting people to come into compliance because they won't be environmental impacts if growers follow all the rules/laws that the State Water board, Fish &Wildlife, Cal Fire and County have.

Small, medium or big, there are growers taking a leap of faith and wanting to get in compliance and be legal and pay taxes.

All this lawsuit did is waste taxpayer money and resources that could have been used by staff on revenue and helping businesses.

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