The Times Standard reports
A set of amendments to Humboldt County’s cannabis laws are on their way to the county’s Board of Supervisors after winning approval from the planning commission last week.
Among the policy changes are new language for people growing marijuana for personal use, a “streamlined” permitting pathway for small-farm cultivators and changes to the county’s cannabis code in accordance with a lawsuit against the local tax. The last will mean that growers, not landowners, are taxed for their pot farms.
The Humboldt County Planning Commission voted unanimously Thursday to move the amendments forward with some discussion over a requirement that growers pay a cash bond to ensure they will be around to pay taxes, instead of ditching their grows and leaving landowners with the bill. Eventually, the commission voted to keep the bonds in the policy.
Commissioner Noah Levy said the “bond requirement” is to place legal cementing between growers and landowners when there’s no trust between the two.
“It seems to apply where the landowner doesn’t sign off,” Levy said. “If they don’t give sign-off, what sort of applicant is that?”
“Too many times we are dealing with applicants and property owners who are not functioning in a cohesive way, shall we say,” added John Ford, the county’s director of planning and building.
On the other hand, commissioner Melanie McCavour said the bond requirement would ensure that property owners could not make unfair demands of growers in exchange for being a guarantor for their farms.
“For me, it really removes corruption,” McCavour said. “You could have a situation, for example, where you have, ‘I won’t sign off unless you give me a portion.’ ”
Ford further clarified that the changes might not apply very much to small farmers, who already tend to own the properties where they grow cannabis.