29 September 2016
If this isn’t a class action in waiting we don’t know what is ?
Here’s the report and sober reading it is too if AUMA goes through and this approach to process is repeated throughout the state.
Is there an outsourced business opportunity for law firms in the making here?
There’s a flowchart that lays out the process for medical cannabis farm registration in Calaveras County. That flowchart is included with a report that Planning Director Peter Maurer will present Tuesday to the Board of Supervisors. Maurer will explain why his department has yet to complete the processing of even one cannabis farm registration more than three months after the deadline for applicants.
The flowchart, all on its own, helps explain the situation. It looks like a wiring diagram drawn by a very disturbed electrician.
Most of the paths in the flowchart lead to denial. And Maurer said on Thursday that so far, no registration applications had been approved, although 27 have been denied. The Planning Commission has upheld every denial that has been brought to it for consideration. Three of those denials have been appealed to the Board of Supervisors and will be reviewed on Tuesday.
Maurer’s report says that his department is overwhelmed. That, he said, is why he has not responded to repeated requests by the Enterprise for a list of registrants and their locations.
Maurer’s report says that his department received 995 registration applications. Of those, 181 were for personal-use cultivation and 74 were for caregivers. The remaining 740 were for commercial farms.
To put those numbers in perspective, the Planning Department in typical years receives only about 150 applications of all sorts, ranging from simple special event permits and lot split requests to full-blown developments. The cannabis applications, according to Maurer’s report, are not on the simple end of the spectrum.
“Because of the complexity of review by multiple departments and the need to verify each item before issuing a registration, none has yet been issued,” the report said of the farm registrations.
“Once we find a point where the applicant has failed to comply with the ordinance, we stop the process and issue a denial. There’s no reason to take valuable staff time to continue once we’re reached that point,” he said.
According to the report, overwhelmed staff is one reason no registrations have been completed months after the June 30 filing deadline.
Meanwhile, Maurer will report that his full-time staff has increased by 60 percent from six employees to 10. While the urgency ordinance was being written and before passage by the board on May 10, the Planning Department expected 300 to 400 cannabis farm applications and “conservatively budgeted for 200.”
Planning Department staff members and Maurer have described sifting through boxes and boxes filled with applications.
Maurer’s report said denied applications are turned over to code enforcement personnel so citations can be issues and the abatement process can begin.
As of Sept. 16, code enforcement officers had investigated 61 cultivation sites and “many were found to be out of compliance and are still pending resolution,” according to the report. Maurer will tell the board that abatement proceedings are underway for “at least four others.”
Meanwhile, the registration program has brought in $3,717,800 in fees. Each commercial medical cannabis cultivator paid a yearly fee of $5,000. Caregivers’ fees are $200 a year, and personal cultivators pay $100 yearly. The money can only be spent on cannabis registration and enforcement.
So far, $304,425.31 has been billed to a special account set up by the Planning Department for salaried, benefits, services and supplies. The Board of Supervisors has approved 29 full- and part-time positions to serve the county’s medical cannabis program, including six new deputies and a new sergeant for the Sheriff’s Office, all funded by cannabis registration fees, according to Maurer’s report.
Meanwhile the police dept are still using resources to close down illegal grows – this report is only 48 hours old (29 Sept 2016) http://www.calaverasenterprise.com/news/article_43b7c18c-84f9-11e6-87e9-4bc69a46a777.html
Calveras County Govt Offices: http://calaverasgov.us