Sonoma Pauses Some Marijuana Cultivation Permits

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has paused a type of cannabis cultivation permit used by small-scale cannabis farmers. The 45-day moratorium on multi-tenant permits follows complaints that they're being used as a loophole to bypass requirements for grows over 10,000 square feet.

“The County has found that current ministerial standards are not effective at distinguishing and ensuring the kind of multi-tenant operations that the Board of Supervisors intended to allow when the Board reduced barriers to the legal market for small community-based farmers,” the County Administrator’s Office said in a press release.

“There is understandable concern and frustration among local farmers who are trying to do the right thing and are simply caught up in administrative delays,” said Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, Chair of the Board of Supervisors. “At the same time, there are instances of multi-tenant applicants applying for ministerial permits together on three or four contiguous parcels when a grow of the same size would require a conditional use permit if proposed by one applicant, including appropriate environmental review and public input.”

The board is expected to hear recommendations for multi-tenant commercial cannabis permitting on Oct. 26. If it chooses, the board can extend the moratorium for up to 22 months and 15 days while it works on a permanent policy framework.