Supervisors table commercial cannabis discussion

The discussion on potential commercial cannabis operations is tabled for now.

During the Tuesday, Dec. 8 Lassen County Board of Supervisors meeting, the board briefly discussed the idea of bringing some form of commercial cannabis operations to Lassen County in an attempt to receive some state Proposition 64 funding before the matter was tabled. Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon noted he was researching exactly what the county needed to do to obtain the funds, whether they needed to allow commercial cultivation or not.

“I thought it was worth bringing up again this topic. I have a hard time supporting anything related to marijuana, but the reality is that the people in our outlaying areas are just seeing a huge negative impact from all the cultivation efforts. And I don’t see any way that we can ever make some real, legitimate headway unless we have people working year round on a specialized unit just focused on those marijuana gardens, so I thought it was at least worth discussion and bringing it up here to the public,” said Growdon, noting he wasn’t in favor of any outdoor grows, but potentially for indoor commercial grows as they are easier to regulate.

In past years, the local sheriff’s office has been able to work with the planning and building team for code enforcement on some of the illegal grows, and many usually self abated, Growdon told the board. This year, though, the local department was kept busy with fires and wasn’t able to do as much with the illegal grows. Should the county obtain Prop 64 funding, it could help fund some cannabis dedicated officers, as well as a prevention and education program.

“Right now, we are just chasing our tails,” he said.

The intent of the Tuesday meeting was to discuss and not take action on possible amendments to Title 18 of the Lassen County Code regarding commercial cannabis cultivation.

Supervisor Aaron Albaugh questioned who asked for the matter to be on the agenda, and Supervisor David Teeter answered he and Tom Hammond requested it following Growdon’s suggestion of going after the funding.

Growdon noted he wasn’t in a rush to get the funding.

“With the problem we have, this is just an option to consider,” Growdon added.

Lassen County Counsel Bob Burns added there were other small counties in similar positions as Lassen.

Lassen County Treasurer/Tax Collector Nancy Cardenas said having Measure M — the measure passed by voters in 2018 that approved an ordinance imposing a tax on cannabis business — was a mess without an ordinance to back it up.

She said the county was not bringing in enough to cover the enforcement cost of illegal grows, and either Measure M needs to be rescinded, or ordinances have to go into place that the community can live with.

Kerri Cobb also spoke, asking if the topic is brought back for discussion it be done so during an evening meeting.

The supervisors voted to table the matter, with Hammond saying the topic should be expedited.