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edible Monterey Bay Winter 2016

24 edible MONTEREY BAY WINTER 2016 And taxes are necessary because there will be a lot more work involved: “It will be a huge regulatory burden for the county,” says Roach. “ere will be a lot of ongoing work that needs to be done for this new industry.” Every city and county in the state has local control regarding medical cannabis cultivation, and that will continue under Prop 64. For instance, the city of Salinas is currently considering 24 applications for medical marijuana business permits, eight of those for cultivation. San Benito County, on the other hand, has a moratorium on commercial cannabis cultivation, according to agriculture commissioner Karen Overstreet. “It’s really hard for me to predict what will happen at this point,” said Overstreet before the vote, noting that the county would look to the state for regulatory guidance if Prop 64 were to pass. Another great unknown in all this is what economic opportunities will open up for ag businesses, and indeed, for business in general. On the agriculture side, not just cultivation and harvesting are involved, but also growing seed and clones, Collins notes. Salinas cannabis attorney Gavin Kogan points out that there’s also the potential for many more jobs to be created over and above the agriculture side—for instance, in security, electrical work, construction, water delivery, fencing and transportation: “ere will be very, very significant effects on the local economy… it’s the ancillary services that boost the economy, not necessarily the growing.” In addition to his cannabis law practice at L+G, LLP, Kogan co-founded Indus Holdings Co., which launched the local medical cannabis product company Altai, and is a senior manager of Grupo Flor, a property leasing firm involved in all aspects of the wholesale cannabis supply chain being developed on California’s Central Coast. Kogan says Monterey County is poised to be one of the greatest beneficiaries of Prop 64: “We have the regulatory and political will to develop this industry ahead of the rest of the state. And it’s located on Highway 101, between the two largest consumer centers of Los Angeles and San Francisco.” e existing agriculture infrastructure and expertise in this area will also help, Kogan says—not to mention that there is any number of vacant greenhouses available in the trithe measure, as well as funding drug research and treatment. According to the California National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), as much as $1.2 billion per year could be raised from these taxes at the state level. Retail sales of cannabis could run from $3 to $4.5 billion a year; spinoff industries could generate as much as $18 billion, studies say. Needless to say, it’s all pretty complicated, or as Dhillon puts it, “a whole big sticky mess.” ere will be a variety of issues to work out between now and January 2018, and looming over all of this is the fact that according to federal law, cannabis is still illegal. And despite all the talk about legalization, most of those involved in cannabis businesses are not anxious to discuss what they do. Requests to several local businesses were turned down or calls not returned; one reply says, “Looks like we have to pass this time around…after the vote, perhaps?” Local counties have been preparing for the passage of AUMA, bolstered by the state’s passage of the California Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act last year, which lays out licensing parameters and a regulatory framework for medical cannabis that will segue into licensing and regulation for recreational marijuana sales. Santa Cruz County is already far ahead of the curve, with an online step-by-step guide to help existing cannabis farmers and pot-related businesses get a local license. e county even has its own designated cannabis licensing office. Santa Cruz County communications manager Jason Hoppin says that a cultivation ordinance is now under review and will be put into place next year, which will spell out the time, place and manner of cultivation. Unlike Monterey County, Santa Cruz County allows cannabis to be grown outdoors, with most pot farms found in the mountain areas where the climate is most suitable. Bob Roach, assistant agricultural commissioner for Monterey County, points out that the county board of supervisors recently passed ordinances for zoning and permits for growing medical marijuana, and included language in these ordinances that could be applied to expansion into growing on a larger scale for recreational use.


edible Monterey Bay Winter 2016
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