Only in Sonoma File: Ag Commissioner plays CYA on allowing multiple permits on single parcel

Only in Sonoma File: Ag Commissioner plays CYA on allowing multiple permits on single parcel

The Ag Commissioner has been actively promoting issuance of multiple 10,000 square feet cannabis permits per parcel that total up to an acre, in violation of the cannabis ordinance that allows an aggregate of no more than 10,000 square feet of cultivation per parcel.

In this article, Ag Commissioner Andrew Smith acts like he’s solving the problem.

Let’s be clear, Andrew caused the problem.

Here is the article where Andrew is pretending to be innocent bystander on the issue:

“At one point, Gore asked Smith to confirm whether staff were actually facilitating the multi-tenant applications against the board’s original intent. Smith said that his office was not encouraging ministerial grows, but that prospective applicants were merely — and understandably — intrigued by the loophole.”

Here are emails showing Andrew was actively pushing applicants to pursue the same multi-tenant approach.

Also shown is a very cozy relationship between the previous Cannabis Manager and the cannabis industry and lobbying groups. Neighborhood citizen groups never got so much attention.

The note below is in regard to letter from the Founder of CannaCraft who admits in his letter: 1) He growing 16 acres of cannabis with plans to expand to 19 acres, and 2) has “half the ministerial permits” . This far exceeds the one acre max per grower/owner allowed in the ordinance. Why doesn’t Andrew seem to care?

“Good Afternoon,

I am working with Andrew and his team to push forward an immediately extra help permit tech to help them process this backlog as these permits could represent $3M in 20/21 revenue. I spoke with Tony and Nicky Bobby over the weekend so was aware they would be communicated their urgent need; appropriately so. There is a staff member who was laid off in Permit Sonoma that worked with RPC and is familiar with Accela and would be able to get up and running right away, Regina (Permit Sonoma Admin Deputy) is working with Gina (AWM Admin Mng) to make it happen asap.

For context, when Andrew and I spoke last week with the changes we are proposing to the ordinance the 61 applications und somarosafarms would be more like 15 properties and even fewer applications once caps for acreage are removed. Each parcel is submitting 4 applications currently.

Other Updates from your Cannabis Manager:

I attended the Grange meeting with growers last night in Sebastopol and had great conversations. A few folks are interested in hemp but didn’t know what to do, I sent them to the right place with AWM. I plan to attend these meetings to continue the conversation and info share. I updated them on ordinance efforts and the Ad Hoc update that went to the Board yesterday.

I was also added to a local, private cannabis action group on Facebook that are keeping me busy with questions.

I am starting a task force on Equity to be ready for application early next year to the State grant and am starting conversations across jurisdictions to learn from others’ mistakes.

I am also attending a bi-weekly roundtable called “State of Cannabis” and this group includes industry reps from all over the country in areas with legalized cannabis and we are working through issues at the local, state, and federal level. This is industry led and I frankly don’t know how I got looped in, but this is the coolest set of people, conversations, and forward thinking around cannabis policy I have seen in some time.

Tennis and I had a brief check in yesterday, we discussed Pool Ridge Road, fire risk assessments, and confirmation of comp planning scope.

Please let me know if you have any questions about the Ad Hoc report or this update. Anything else?

Thank you,