"California county’s cannabis industry on ‘the brink of irreversible failure’"

Mendocino County is one of the best places in the world to grow cannabis. Wet air from the Pacific washes over the county’s mountain valleys, creating perfect microclimates for growing pungent pot, and the “Mendo” nickname has become an international shorthand for high-quality pot. But when it comes to the legal cannabis market, this historical cannabis county’s government can’t seem to get much of anything done.

After six years of pot legalization, only 12 of the county’s 832 active cannabis farms have received annual licenses, according to an SFGATE analysis of county and Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) records. That means only 1% of the county’s cultivators are fully licensed — one of the worst rates in the state. Overall, 49% of California’s cultivation licenses have annual status, and over 63% of farms in Humboldt County, a neighboring county also known for cannabis cultivation, have received annual licenses. The remaining businesses are at risk of losing their temporary licenses, and the cannabis farmers are blaming dysfunction at the county government.

The situation is so dire that his month, the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance (MCA), a coalition of local cannabis businesses, sent an open letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom and DCC Director Nicole Elliott, warning that the county’s cannabis industry is “on the brink of irreversible failure” because of negligence by the county government. Michael Katz, the executive director of the MCA, said that the county government has been a “roadblock” stopping pot farmers from getting full licenses, costing pot farmers thousands of dollars in the process.

“The time is basically out and we basically don’t have a lot more flexibility to get people through [the licensing process],” Katz told SFGATE. “... These people have no money left and they’re still being told to this day that they don’t know if they can get their annual permits.”

Read more at sfgate.com

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