Cannabis Workshop Held By County
BY MARIO CONDE
The Imperial County Board of Supervisors held the first of a series of workshops regarding the Adult Use Marijuana Act with information on Medical Cannabis.
The Board of Supervisors hosted this informational meeting seeking the public’s input and comments at these workshops about the potential methods of local implementation for this statewide voter-approved law as the Board explores potential rules and ordinances that they may developed.
Proposition 64 was approved by voters on November 9, 2016 and legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults aged 21 years or older, permitting smoking in a private home or at a business licensed for on-site marijuana consumption. State of California passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act with 57% statewide voter approval. However, County of Imperial voted 51% against the measure making one of ten counties in the state to vote no.
Smoking was to remain illegal while driving a vehicle, anywhere smoking tobacco is, and in all public places. Up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana are legal to possess under this measure.
However, possession on the grounds of a school, day care center, or youth center while children are present remains illegal. An individual is permitted to grow up to six plants within a private home as long as the area is locked and not visible from a public place
Proposition 64 permits a company holding both a State License and local jurisdictions permit the ability to develop and operate recreational and medical marijuana the commercial; cultivation, manufacturing, retail sales along with testing and transportation. Proposition 64 also permits the operation of dispensaries/retail shops for commercial sale of recreation marijuana and marijuana related products. Recent regulations also allow medical marijuana dispensaries to become for profit businesses.
Imperial County Agricultural Commissioner Carlos Ortiz told the board that Prop. 64 included a provision for the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013. Industrial hemp is an agricultural commodity used to produce a wide variety of products, including textiles, rope, food, oil, and plastics.
Industrial hemp refers to non-psychoactive types of Cannabis sativa. It must contain less than 0.3% of THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana. Per the California Food and Agricultural Code: To grow hemp in California, commercial growers must first register with the County Agricultural Commissioner.
“These registrations are not yet available in the Imperial County.” Ortiz told the board but said there is an advisory board being formed that will be making recommendations.
El Centro resident Tammy Thomas said that this will be very helpful for cancer patients and asked to board to look for regulate the use of marijuana.
“I highly recommend that you look at regulating marijuana since this is a tremendous opportunity to set the bar for what the marijuana industry should be at.” Thomas said.
Francisco Andrade representing the Calexico Cannabis Coalition told the board to establish a tax for the use of marijuana and use the revenue for public safety.
“If the County goes forward with these regulations you should make it accessible for small businesses that want to get into the cannabis industry.” Andrade stated.
James Irwin, Founder and CEO Trinity Farming & Manufacturing, is also working on the construction of a facility in Calexico for cannabis cultivation. Irwin mentioned that their facility in Calexico is expected to start construction in May that will create twenty-five jobs and will have a payroll of $2 million a year.
The next informational workshop will take place Monday, April 24, at the Del Rio Community Center in Brawley at 5:30 p.m. and on May 1st at Calexico City Hall.