Calaveras County Planning Department doors closed Wednesday at 4 p.m. as a second significant deadline passed for nearly 770 individuals and firms that seek to register as legal medical cannabis cultivators in Calaveras County.
A weary Planning Director Peter Maurer said his lobby was busy throughout the day serving “last-minute Charleys” who waited for the final moment to file paperwork satisfying requirements that growers show they are complying with state rules for their water use, tax information and for business license information.
Maurer said the Sept. 7 filing requirements come from the State Water Resources Control Board for water use, distribution and recovery, from the Franchise Tax Board for state income tax records and from the California Secretary of State’s office for business license applications.
The documents do not guarantee a successful registration and are pieces in the long paper trail that began with passage by the Board of Supervisors on May 10 of an urgency ordinance to regulate personal and commercial cultivation of cannabis in Calaveras County. The first deadline came June 30, when those wishing to register had to file applications and pay $5,000 fees.
Final approval as a registered cannabis cultivator will come when the Planning Department staff members have reviewed all the required documents, performed on-site inspections for grow size and building code compliance, when background checks are successfully passed, when indemnification documents protecting the county from lawsuits are filed and the paperwork required by Wednesday comes back with approvals from the various state agencies.
Maurer said that so far, no registrants have been approved. He said final approval cannot be granted until county staff receive all the required documents, including those turned in on Wednesday.
“We’re processing these documents as fast as we can and I have almost my entire staff working on it,” he said. Maurer said that as of Wednesday, exact numbers are elusive becaue so many documents need to be processed. A comprehensive, up-to-date report is due to the Board of Supervisors on Sept. 27.
However, Maurer said “a ballpark number of 30 to 40 (registration applications) have been denied so far.” He said those applications had obvious red flags so staff denied them.
“At that point there’s no reason to continue,” Maurer said
“But of that number, 12 or so have appealed,” he said. Appeals of denials by the Planning Department are heard by the Planning Commission. So far, no appeals have been granted. Several of those whose appeals were denied have said they will appeal to the Calaveras County Board of supervisors.
Seven petitions to appeal Planning Department denials of cannabis registrations are listed in today’s Enterprise in the Public Notices section. Hearings before the Planning Commission for those appeals are set to begin at 9 a.m., Sept. 22. Appellants represent farms all over the county, from Burson to Mokelumne Hill, West Point and Mountain Ranch, and include properties sized from five acres to more than 30 acres.