Sonoma County supervisors approved the use of $370,000 in one-time funds last week to deal with the backlog of cannabis permit applications and gather input from the public as it develops cannabis policy goals for a revised ordinance.
The action comes after the board unanimously rejected a planning commission recommendation May 18 to adopt the Commercial Cannabis Cultivation in Agricultural and Resource Areas Ordinance, also known as Chapter 38, which would have streamlined permitting for cannabis cultivation within Agricultural and Resource zoned parcels in Sonoma County.
Board chair Lynda Hopkins said natural disasters have hampered staff capacity to review cannabis permits and that the new direction will help turn that around.
“This investment will help expedite the backlog, support the environmental due diligence necessary for developing responsive cannabis policy, and avoid delay and disruption of other planning projects and regular department operations,” she said. “Endless timelines due to limited staff capacity harm both growers and neighbors who need clarity about whether pending projects are permissible or not.”