February 17, 2020

California marijuana regulations remain complex, but growers steadily becoming compliant


FORTUNA— Save for a few adjustments in state laws, a cannabis permitting workshop in Fortuna on Wednesday carried out in exactly the same way as another workshop 18 months prior — each serving as an effective how-to on becoming legally compliant with California’s pot regulations.

But for state officials walking attendees through the ins and outs of state policies, there’s one evident distinction between past and present workshops: whereas an August 2018 event packed the River Lodge with 100 growers and consultants, only about 15 people showed up to Wednesday’s occasion.

Janice Mackey, a public information manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the decline in attendance signals good news that more and more cannabis growers are coming into compliance with California’s legal system.

“When legalization first came out, the workshops were much bigger,” Mackey said, “but it’s well worth our time to get people in seats. People want to be here face-to-face to understand the regulations.”

With state provisional licenses and localized interim permits, growers have found themselves able to at least temporarily operate commercially as they seek permanent compliance. Much of the adaptation required of prospective cultivators comes down to where they choose to grow.

Some pot grows remain near watersheds and less-than-ideal surfaces, which continues to interfere with habitats for native aquatic species, like the southern torrent salamander, one fish and wildlife official said.

“These flat ag-lands … Humboldt County’s not a flat place, but places like Carlotta and Hydesville with traditional agriculture production — it seems like there’s that land still,” said environmental scientist Greg O’Connell. “We’d rather not see new cultivation on steep slopes.”

But even with the state’s presentation down to clockwork, one interested attendee found himself befuddled by the complex web of regulations set forth in the state’s presentation. The retired fisherman had been lightly interested in entering the cannabis business, but he changed his mind before the end of Wednesday’s workshop.

“I wouldn’t have a clue how to get started with all this stuff,” said Bayside resident George Boling after sitting through the hourslong workshop. “Most of the people dealing with (these regulations) have been in this business illegally and they already know what they’re doing.”

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Besides cannabis regulations, growers also have to navigate California’s regulation of private business ownership. A new state law approved by the governor late last year will allow them to make business expenses tax-deductible. …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business

      

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