Trinity County continues its efforts to establish regulations, policies, and processes that will (hopefully) balance economic development interests with residential quality of life interests. I first became active in County matters during a community effort to expand the commercial cannabis opt-out areas in the Lewiston Grass Valley area.
I thought it would be helpful to share some of the information I have gathered through ongoing community discussions and participation in County Board meetings and Cannabis-focused Ad hoc meetings.
Commercial Cannabis License Status – as of this writing, I understand that there are less than 10 commercial cannabis operators fully licensed to operate (legally) in Trinity County. There are over 100 in-process applications that are at the “Appendix C stage” of the process. The County is stepping up efforts to help applicants to complete the process.
Additional Funds – Additional Resources – Trinity County recently received several million dollars in State-provided funding to invest in Commercial Cannabis-related initiatives. The vast majority of these funds are being used to support efforts to process the hundreds of license applications that are currently in process. Two consulting firms have been hired to support the applicants and the county in working through the application/approval process. For example, last week the County hosted an ad hoc session dedicated to training applicants in the completion of environmental checklists (appendix C) required as part of the application process. You can learn more about this part of the process via this link.
Commercial Cannabis Opt-out Efforts – There are a number of commercial cannabis opt-outs in place right now, and others are “in the works.” Trinity County is using a small portion of the State-provided funding mentioned above to help prepare new ordinances that will take the place of these temporary opt-out ordinances. The first priority is the Rush Creek Opt-out ordinance – as it is set to expire in July. Here is an estimated timeline for work in this area (based on updates provided during the last Ad-hoc meeting):
- Consultant to submit proposed opt-out related ordinance to the Planning Commission by end of March;
- Planning Commission to review (and revise with the consultant) before submitting to the Board of Supervisors;
- The Board of Supervisors (and public) would then have 2 to 4 weeks to review the Commission-endorsed ordinance before a vote by the Board of Supervisors;
- The new ordinance would become effective 30 days after Board approval.
Commercial Cannabis County “Revenues” – as reported in the most recent ad-hoc meeting, the County has currently received approximately $90,000 in cannabis tax revenues. This is separate from fees collected via the application process.
Cannabis Retail & Processing – The same consultant who is (first) working on opt-out ordinances is also tasked with working on ordinances to address cannabis processing and cannabis-related retail operations.
Cannabis-Related Meetings – there are a number of ongoing (official) meetings related to cannabis. The County’s Cannabis Ad-hoc Committee as a whole meets on Thursday at 11 am. Ad-hoc meetings can only be staff. Dan Frasier and Keith Groves (Cannabis Ad-hoc Representatives) then host public meetings at 1 pm every Thursday, which can go as late as 2:30 pm, At 2;30 pm the meeting shifts to a private meeting with Cannabis grower stakeholders, which can go till 5 pm.
Every 3rd Thursday of the month there is a private meeting with pro-opt-out stakeholders, normally at 1pm. Also once to twice a month, Trinity County’s consultants give a “class” – addressing questions regarding the application/licensing processes. These sessions are open to the public. At this point, these sessions are random and are announced with a week’s notice.
My Views – I continue to learn more about this subject every week. Here are my views on commercial cannabis as of this writing. I believe…
- there is a place for commercial cannabis here in Trinity County. Done correctly, it can produce income for operators, residents, and the County;
- a number of mistakes have been made up to this point – leading to unhappy residents and unhappy applicants;
- commercial cannabis operations do not belong so close to residents that they impact resident’s safety, quality of life, and access to essential resources – such as clean water;
- there are many applicants/operators who are trying to do things the right way… following all the “rules”;
- the “rules” have shifted over time, making it difficult for everyone – applicants, residents, and staff;
- we need more clarity, consideration, consistency, transparency, and community engagement to find the right balance that will best serve the County and its residents.