Calaveras Supervisors initiated discussions into a regulatory future for Calaveras cannabis Tuesday, but not before an attempt by a couple on the board for a ban.
After a speech during deliberations as to why District 4 Supervisor Dennis Mills preferred to prohibit cannabis, the representative attempted to approve the ban, with the support of District 5 Supervisors Clyde Clapp, before allowing others on the board to speak.
His motion died at the vote, 3-2 against. Before the poll, District 1 Supervisor Gary Tofanelli said he would not support the attempt because it was proposed without giving others an opportunity to speak. Mills said he was just trying to rule out a number of the three proposals supervisors discussed during the daylong hearing.
With its defeat, supervisors elected to chat about the two regulatory alternatives, side by side, and what could be tolerated. Discussions were cut short at 6 p.m. so that everyone could go home. They are scheduled to resume Thursday morning at 9 a.m..
For much of the past year, marijuana policy beyond the county’s urgency ordinance has been up in the air. Since January, supervisors were waiting to approve a ban before Tofanelli detailed strict stipulations in October he said were needed in order to vote in favor of regulations.
In November, the Calaveras County Planning Commission analysed Tofanelli’s suggestions in a regulatory package the Calaveras County Planning Department crafted and loosened the stipulations. They began with a document that would allow for 50 marijuana farmers in Calaveras. They finished with something that would allow all approved farmers to remain.
Even in his opposition to the prohibition, Tofanelli said Tuesday during board discussion he could still vote for the ban when the time comes. He said before analysis of the regulatory options he could live with the one based off his feedback and had a number of issues with the ordinance the planning commission returned with.
Among stipulations most controversial for current marijuana farmers in Calaveras, Tofanelli said he did not intend to budge much from a maximum of 50 registered farm sites, all having to be on a minimum parcel size of 50 acres.
Multiple farmers would be allowed to cultivate on site, however, said Deputy County Counsel Julie Moss-Lewis. The cumulative total per site would remain a maximum 22,000 square foot area.
Undetermined at the time of adjournment were outdoor requirements limiting all farming to Agriculture 1, Agricultural Preserve and General Forestry zones. In addition, indoor rules that would prohibit anything outside of Light Industry and Business Park zones are still in limbo.
Earlier, supervisors heard from a number of Calaveras officials that turned out for the discussions.
Calaveras County Building Official Ed Short said his department of 5.5 full time code compliance officers would have fewer resources and less manpower to enforce the civil side of the ban, which would entail those growing no more than six plants.
“If you regulate, you have enforcement,” said Short. “It is more efficient with a regulatory fee. With a ban, you have no fees to have the staff go out and do the work.”
Also discussed was how prepared fire departments from Calaveras Special Districts were at the potential increase in personal indoor grows allowed with, even with a ban, in Proposition 64.
Mike Johnson, chief of the Ebbetts Pass Fire District and the fire chief’s association, said the district would have to transition outside of the rural service mile into an industrial type of fire service. “Select pieces” are equipped for confined space extrications. He added they would not be ready for hazmat response without help from outside the county.
Supervisors later elected during regulatory deliberations to allow personal marijuana farming outdoors at a 75-foot property line setback, unless the farmer receives a note from a neighbor allowing otherwise.