Mendocino County will stop accepting new medical marijuana growing permit applications as part of a lawsuit settlement reached Tuesday.
The county, however, will continue to process ones submitted before 5 p.m. Wednesday under terms of the agreement reached between the county and the Mendocino County Blacktail Association.
The association, comprised of hunters and conservationists, sued the county June 8, contending it needed to have done a full environmental impact report before increasing pot plant limits established under a so-called “temporary urgency” ordinance adopted May 17. That ordinance allows people to grow up to 99 plants on a 10-acre parcel with a permit from the Sheriff’s Office. Up to 50 plants can be grown on 5 acres with a permit. The limit without a permit is 25 plants per parcel, which was the prior maximum.
Permits cost $1,500, and growers must purchase a $50 identifying zip tie from the Sheriff’s Office for each plant.
The temporary ordinance was adopted until the county can adopt a permanent ordinance, a process slowed by the need for an environmental study. The EIR is expected to be completed in October. A permanent ordinance is expected early next year.
Nearly 100 people have applied for permits under the temporary ordinance but none has been issued so far, county officials said.
The temporary ordinance was adopted in anticipation of new state regulations expected to be implemented in early 2018, generating what local officials think will be a swell in medical marijuana plant production.
The permits are aimed at managing and regulating the growth, supervisors said. But the Blacktail Association said the county violated state environmental laws because it did not first study the impacts of allowing larger amounts of marijuana cultivation.
Paul Trouette, who heads the Blacktail Association, said he’s happy with the settlement. The organization will keep an eye on how the county processes the existing permit applications, he said.
“We want to make sure everybody’s compliant,” Trouette said.
You can reach Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 462-6473 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @MendoReporter