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Linegar’s Legacy

Linegar’s Legacy

The way that cannabis applications will be considered in Sonoma County is going through a radical change, thanks to our Agricultural Commissioner, Tony Linegar, who is, at 54, retiring and moving to Hawaii, leaving us to deal with the fallout of his poor policy. All along, Mr. Linegar has been telling worried residents that the county is going to stink, so get used to it. He has also touted cannabis and hemp as the savior of the poor dairy industry (most profitable ag business in California last year) and struggling small farmers. He has maligned concerned neighbors as newcomers building McMansions and then protesting ag activities next to their properties. He says cannabis is just like any other ag crop, despite the security issues.

The short story is that it looks like hemp AND cannabis will be treated the same, with ministerial permits being issued by the Ag Commissioner’s office, rather than Permit Sonoma. This means neighbors of projects will have little opportunity to make comment on applications and that applicants will not be required to go through environmental review, such as requirements for traffic and sound studies or water availability, etc. that might be required for use permits in Sonoma County.

This does not bode well for the West County Trail, nor for setbacks to any sensitive uses next to cannabis/hemp, such as schools and residences. There is no action at this time, but FOG wanted to update you on what is going on. When the Board of Supervisors has this on their agenda, we will notify you.

Here are links to two articles on the new policy:

https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10473986-181/sonoma-county-supervisors-ok-changes

https://www.pressdemocrat.com/business/10697266-181/retiring-sonoma-county-ag-leader

And a link to what is happening in Santa Barbara County with cannabis:

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-02-14/carpinteria-pot-farm-accused-of-selling-on-black-market


Anna Ransome for Friends of Graton