By Craig S. Harrison, BVCA President
The Board of Supervisors has adopted a Cannabis Tax Ordinance and Medical Cannabis Land Use Ordinance which takes effect on January 20, 2017. It forbids commercial cultivation on Rural Residential- and Agricultural Residential-zoned parcels and directs cultivation to agricultural- and industrial- zoned areas, with limited options in the resource districts.
For parcels where cultivation is allowed, a permit is required which will be issued to a person and must be renewed annually. The permit process requires notification to owners of neighboring parcels who may object to the permit. The BVCA will request that it be notified in order to enable notification to the broader community.
Personal cultivation is allowed under the recently-approved Proposition 64 which is limited to no more than 100 square feet per residence, of which up to 6 plants can be cultivated for adult use (non-medical) purposes. No permit or registry is now required but may be considered in the future to thwart illegal commercial cultivation occurring under the guise of personal use.
Posted below are maps showing the zoning in the Bennett Valley Area Plan and a link to the County's GIS Database so you can lookup the zoning in your area. Bennett Valley has a mix of Diverse Agriculture, Resources and Rural Development, and Rural Residential. To learn whether a parcel’s owner can apply for a permit for commercial cultivation you must determine the parcel’s zoning.
The Cannabis Tax Ordinance will be considered at a special election on March 7, 2017, and no permits will be issued unless that tax is approved. Permit Sonoma (formerly PRMD) will issue guidance concerning cannabis regulation in the near future which we will post to the BVCA web site when it is available.
See also the Permit Sonoma GIS Map: http://www.sonoma-county.org/prmd/activemap/