|Both the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA), which implemented regulations for medical cannabis, and the Adult Use of Marijuana Act of 2016 (AUMA), which legalized recreational marijuana, provide for decision-making by local governmental agencies. In order to be prepared for many of the actions that take effect by the State on January 1, 2018, staff will facilitate Board discussions at one meeting each month. These discussions are designed to lead to permanent ordinance(s), policies and/or guidelines which implement the decisions made by the Board. Attachment A is a listing of the date staff anticipates providing the Board these opportunities for discussion and the policy items to be considered on that date. Many of the policy issues will be addressed at the State level with regulations currently being developed for implementation in January 2018. Throughout 2017, the Board will be discussing these issues in order to determine if Yolo County will follow State guidelines or implement a local alternative. Attachment B is a matrix of the same policy issues sorted by category as well as fields for indicating State guidelines and staff recommendations. As a strategy is developed and discussed at the Board level, information will be added to the corresponding fields in the matrix. Check-ins with the Planning Commission will occur periodically in order to keep planning activities in concert with policy objectives. In this scenario, the Board will have two opportunities to consider options; once at the noted Board date and again when approving recommended ordinances, policies and/or guidelines. As a point of reference for what a final product could look like, Attachment D is a copy of the Sonoma County Ordinance their Board adopted addressing the decisions made.
Recognizing that stakeholder input is critical to the decision-making process, staff recommends a robust community engagement strategy. Previous outreach efforts for cannabis cultivation included input from the following community groups:
Capay Valley General Plan Advisory Committee Meeting
Esparto General Plan Advisory Committee Meeting
Community meeting held at Norton Hall in Woodland
Community meeting held at the Little Shop of Growers in Woodland
Three community meetings at Yolo Botanicals
These meetings were designed to allow a variety of interests to provide input to the ordinance recommendation staff brought forward to the Board. One of the challenges in this effort was the consistent attendance at every meeting by a few voices. In order to ensure that all stakeholders have an opportunity to provide input, staff recommends a varied approach that includes establishing an e-mail list to provide updates to interested individuals, creating a dedicated web page to allow for up-to-date information, conducting online surveys and utilizing social media to engage more non-industry residents. Staff also recommends forming a community advisory group comprised of representatives from residents, growers, sellers, education, health care and consumers. As work progresses, it is anticipated that educational forums will be needed to help stakeholders learn about the options available to local government and become informed about the impacts of decisions made by the Board.
Attachment C is a document developed for the State Joint Senate Oversight Hearing regarding the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation and Prop 64 implementation which highlights the differences between MCRSA and AUMA. This illustrates the challenges in syncing up our local policy decisions with both programs.
Additionally, staff has a recommended approach for assisting the Board with decision-making. At each meeting, staff will provide the Board with a decision chart for each policy consideration that includes the various options, benefits and challenges associated with the issue. The goal of the decision chart would be for the Board to utilize the steps to reach a conclusion.
Finally, staff recommends placing an emergency measure on the November 7, 2017 ballot that allows for a business tax to provide funding for many of the unfunded impacts of the legalization of cannabis in California. It is important that we have our policy objectives in place as well as a strategy for the use of tax receipts prior to an election which made a June 2017 election challenging to accomplish. A revenue tax measure is allowed at a general election when a Board of Supervisors member is on the ballot which would not be until June 2018. An emergency revenue measure may be brought at a special election if there is a unanimous vote by the Board of Supervisors.
A county may, by action of its Board of Supervisors, adopt a sales and use tax. (R&T Code 7201). Voter approval is required for new and increased local taxes. The level of voter approval required (i.e., simple majority or two-thirds) is dependent upon whether the tax is general or special. A general tax is one in which the tax proceeds go into the County’s general fund and are available for general governmental purposes. (Gov. Code 53721). The Board of Supervisors may levy a tax for general purposes, provided the ordinance proposing the tax is approved by a two-thirds vote of all members of the Board (4/5 vote) and the tax approved by majority vote of voters. In contrast, any tax levied to fund a specific governmental project or program, or any tax in which the proceeds are not placed in the general fund, and are not made available for general government purposes, is a special tax. A special tax requires both a two-thirds vote of all members of the Board and approval by a two-thirds vote of voters. The revenues from the tax must only be used for general purposes. The timeline to include a sales tax measure on the November 2017 ballot is as follows (Elections Code 10403):
With these statutorily driven date requirements, the Board would need to approve a ballot initiative at their June 27, 2017 meeting. In order to be prepared for this decision, presentations on the revenue measure will occur at the April 25 and May 23 meetings.
- July 10, 2017 (120 days before election): Deadline to have the measure resolution filed with the Board of Supervisors and a copy given to the elections office.
- August 11, 2017 (88 days before election): Deadline for any arguments regarding the measure
- August 21, 2017 (78 days before election): Deadline for any rebuttals regarding the measure
Finally, Attachment D is Sonoma County's marijuana ordinances which are included for illustrative purposes as a sample of a recently enacted County regulatory framework for the local medical marijuana industry and personal cultivation consistent with the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) (2015) and Proposition 64 (the California Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Initiative, 2016) to permit and regulate medical marijuana cultivators, nurseries, manufacturers, transporters, distributors, testing laboratories and dispensaries.