Up against it; that’s what many local cannabis farmers feel. Are you going to seek compliance or are you just going to try to ride it out, if you can? The best idea might be to get ahead of the licensing authorities, eh?

The County has created a pre-authorization window from 12/8/15 to year’s end to recognize your cannabis business as “in operation” and “in good standing with the local jurisdiction” before 1/1/16. Download the “Commercial Cannabis Activity Registration” form off the County website, complete the form and mail to County Planning Department – Steve Lazar, 3015 H Street, Eureka CA 95501. We recommend that you check a “cultivation” type and save the rest for later. The State wants this recognition so farmers can receive “priority processing” for their commercial medical cannabis activity after 1/1/2018.

Get in compliance with Fish and Wildlife and the Water Resource Control Board; they want you to file your intent to register and comply by 2/15/16. The Water Board intends to mail a notice to Humboldt County growers highlighting each grow you are responsible for, but you would be well served to comply by 2/15, even if they did not contact you.

The State passed  AB243, AB266, SB643, as law, in September, 2015. Recently, a Federal judge ruled in favor of a Marin dispensary, instructing Federal law enforcement to ignore any cannabis grower following California law. These bills make the cultivation and processing of medical cannabis legal under California law, as long as the Feds honor this instruction. Read the bills on the web. The County has until 3/1/16 to implement their own local ordinances that could modify these laws.

The State will actually begin issuing licenses starting on 1/1/18 based on the priority date of 1/1/16. Complete industry compliance is expected by 1/1/19. Between now and then, growers will need to follow the new law until their license is issued. The 2016 ballot recreational initiatives that are widely expected to pass could change things. The State will not license you if you are out of step with your local jurisdiction – this means building permits on processing buildings, greenhouses and infrastructure. Farmers will need complete permitting from the County by no later than 1/1/18 to qualify for licensing.

This is not definitive; things are changing all the time and we may have gotten something wrong. We recommend that you hire a consultant or a lawyer.