By Deb Murphy
Inyo’s Board of Supervisors incorporated one Planning Commission recommendation into the County’s cannabis ordinance—keeping with the timeline to get the regs on the books by early February.
That change would allow non-volatile manufacturing in conjunction with cultivation operations. Public comment at both yesterday’s Supervisors’ meeting and last month’s Commission session brought to light that some activities identified as non-volatile manufacturing were benign and closely tied to bringing the product to market.
Supervisor Rick Pucci reflected the Board’s attitude toward delaying passage of the ordinance. “We can’t put this off for a perfect solution,” he said. “There won’t ever be a perfect solution. We have to move forward.”
Planning Chair Frank Stewart explained the Commission’s recommendations which included allowing commercial cultivation of up to six plants—the same as allowed for personal use—in residential zones with a simpler administrative permit rather than the Conditional Use Permit process and staying with conventional set-backs and noticing requirements.
The majority of public comment was highly critical of the recommendations. The anti-commenters included three Commission members—one of whom didn’t attend the December 20 meeting, one voted against the motion, one voted for the recommendations but changed her mind.
Two commenters thanked the Commission for coming up with creative solutions and encouraged the Board to take another look at those solutions in the future.
A Lone Pine medicinal grower Reggie Cook asked for a couple of changes: allowing cultivation in C-5 zoning and reducing or eliminating set-backs for parcels that abutted un-used public lands. Supervisor Matt Kingsley’s solution was for Cook to ask for a re-zone of his parcel as it didn’t fit the definition of C-5 zoning anyway. He added that the set-backs could be adjusted during Cook’s Conditional Use Permit process.
Kingsley stressed the Board and Planning Department had worked toward a flexible ordinance but he wanted to move forward slowly and methodically. “It’s easier to expand (an ordinance) than it is to contract,” he said.
The only wrinkle in allowing non-volatile manufacturing in conjunction with grow operations was the caps put on license categories at the Board’s December 21 meeting. Deputy County Counsel John Vallejo explained he could easily tweak the ordinance for non-volatile manufacturing but changing those caps would be too complex to get done by the January 9th first reading of the final ordinance.
So, after more than a year of discussion, consultants, public comments, workshops and more workshops, the cannabis ordinance should be on the books in early February.