Sonoma County cannabis growers who use a streamlined permit designed to help small farmers have three years to apply for a more stringently regulated permit or risk being shut down.
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to extend the county’s 45-day moratorium on so-called multi-tenant use permits to September 10, 2023, in an attempt to rein in larger growers who are taking advantage of the system.
The decision will funnel 54 pending applicants into the county’s backlogged conditional use permitting process, which can take years and cost $50,000 to navigate. Owners of the 85 multi-use permits now operating in the county will have three years from the date of their last permit renewal — so long as their grow does not exceed 10,000 square feet — to apply for conditional use permits.
“Our current structure definitely got us to this place,” Supervisor Susan Gorin said as she addressed the need for the moratorium. “I’m still looking for the mechanism for small growers, but what we have is not that mechanism.” The board also voted unanimously to use about $200,000 in cannabis tax revenues to refund the cost of application fees to the 54 pending applicants.
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