Under Humboldt County’s Medical Marijuana Land Use Ordinance (MMLUO), existing cultivator sites can be permitted. The permit path for existing cultivation sites depends on two things: the size of the existing grow, and the evidence demonstrating the grow was in existence prior to January 1, 2016.
Existing grows 5,000 square feet or less can be permitted with a zoning clearance certificate. Existing grows between 5,000 to 10,000 square feet can be permitted with a special permit. Lastly, an existing grow over 10,000 square feet can be permitted with a use permit. The area of an existing grow that can be permitted is capped at 43,560 square feet (one acre). In other words, the County will not permit an existing grow over 43,560 square feet. However, a prospective permittee can agree to discontinue use of portions of the existing grow to get under the 43,560 square feet threshold.
Likewise, existing cultivators should be able to show evidence that the proposed permitted cultivation area existed prior to January 1, 2016 in order to get an existing cultivation site permitted. This can be accomplished through aerial photos of cultivation sites taken prior to January 1, 2016. However, other evidence may be considered by the Planning Commission that demonstrates the grow existed prior to January 1, 2016. This other evidence may include receipts showing the purchase and construction of greenhouses on the property, sales records, time stamped photos of cultivation sites, and other evidence that cultivation was occurring on site prior to January 1, 2016.
If you have questions regarding compliance with state law, the attorneys at Janssen Malloy LLP are here to help.