NEVADA CITY, Calif. December 19, 2016 – A request for proposals (RFP) has been published by Nevada County’s Purchasing Division for “consulting and facilitation services for marijuana regulation community advisory group.”
The Nevada County Board of Supervisors (BOS) has formed a subcommittee to bring a plan for a permanent cultivation ordinance, with stakeholder and community input. The subcommittee consists of Supervisors Hank Weston and Richard Anderson. They will present their plan for approval by the full BOS at one of the next meetings. Meanwhile, the county is looking to hire a facilitator.
RFP background information
“The Board Subcommittee intends to form a Marijuana Regulation Community Advisory Group (hereinafter “Advisory Group”) to advise the Board Subcommittee on development of a permanent County Ordinance with respect to the regulation of marijuana-related activities in Nevada County.
The Board Subcommittee recognizes that the regulation of marijuana is a controversial issue to the Nevada County community, with both proponents and opponents of marijuana-related activities. In order to ensure an inclusive and participatory process, the County is seeking the services of a skilled and experienced consultant to advise and assist the Board Subcommittee in forming the Advisory Group; to facilitate and document the work of the Advisory Group, including performance of a community assessment and development of recommendations for a permanent marijuana ordinance; and to serve as a liaison between the Advisory Group, the Board Subcommittee, cognizant County departments and offices, and the public.
In soliciting proposals for these professional consulting and facilitation services, the County seeks to ensure, and to reassure the public, that the Advisory Group’s work to provide recommendations to the Board of Supervisors for long-term marijuana regulations is representative of the community at large and demonstrates in good faith an inclusive and participatory process with applicable stakeholders. The County acknowledges that this is a controversial issue in our community and seeks to retain an independent and neutral facilitator to ensure a sound process and positive outcome for Nevada County.
The contract resulting from this solicitation is expected to be for a period of one year, and may be extended an additional six months if necessary.”
The RFP also includes a “Recent History of Marijuana Regulation in Nevada County,” described as follows:
“Initial and Urgency Marijuana Ordinances
On May 8, 2012 the Board of Supervisors adopted Ordinance 2349, An Urgency Ordinance Adding Article 5 to Chapter IV of the Nevada County General Code Regarding Medical Marijuana Cultivation (“Cultivation Ordinance”). In January 2016, in response to increased complaints and new state legislation, the Board of Supervisors adopted Ordinance No. 2405, An Urgency Ordinance Amending Article 5 of the Nevada County General Code regarding Medical Marijuana Cultivation. Ordinance No. 2405 banned outdoor cultivation of marijuana.
In addition to the passage of Ordinance No. 2405, the Board of Supervisors passed Resolution No. 16-038 seeking to place provisions related to the outdoor cultivation ban on the June 2016 ballot (Measure W). To clarify the Board’s intention in the event Measure W failed, the Board of Supervisors passed Resolution 16-082 in February 2016. By adopting this Resolution, the Board committed to repeal the outdoor cultivation ban and implement alternative cultivation regulations at the next available meeting after the results of the election were certified. On June 7, 2016, Measure W failed to pass. The election results were certified on July 19, 2016 with 59.45% of voters casting a no vote on Measure W.
Interim Ordinance No. 2416
To honor the Board’s commitment to repeal the outdoor ban and implement alternative cultivation regulations, the Chair of the Board appointed two Supervisors to serve as a Marijuana Subcommittee. The Marijuana Subcommittee was charged with meeting with marijuana cultivation stakeholders and to make recommendations on interim cultivation regulations.
Given the Board’s commitment and desire to repeal the ban on an expedited basis, it was determined the best course would be to seek passage of an interim ordinance on an urgency basis. It was explained to the stakeholders that any urgency ordinance would require passage by the Board of Supervisors by a 4/5ths vote. It was also explained that, in order to avoid any delay by triggering a lengthy CEQA compliance process, the proposed interim regulations would need to be very modest with respect to the size of allowed grow areas. It was also explained that the Board would be working on developing more comprehensive permanent regulations based on input and discussion with all stakeholder interests.
The Marijuana subcommittee met with the stakeholders on three separate occasions: June 15, June 27 and July 12, 2016. Proposals were exchanged between the subcommittee and the stakeholders, but consensus was not reached. Shortly after the June 27, 2016 meeting, the subcommittee received written proposals from four cultivation groups which were considered, together with the verbal representations made at the subcommittee meetings, in developing the proposed Urgency Ordinance. On July 19, 2016, the stakeholders submitted a document entitled “Nevada County Cannabis United-Recommendations.” An interim ordinance, Ordinance No. 2416, was passed on July 27, 2016 allowing for indoor and outdoor cultivation in rural and agricultural zones. Cultivation limitations were based on parcel size and zoning classification. This ordinance was meant to allow for some cultivation while the Subcommittee worked toward the development of long-term marijuana regulations.
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Specifically, cultivation was not allowed on parcels of two acres or less or in any R1, R2 or R3 zones. In R-A zones cultivation was only allowed up to 12 plants indoors only on 5-10 acre parcels, up to 16 plants indoors or outdoors on 10-20 acre parcels, and up to 25 plants indoors or outdoors on parcels of more than 20 acres. In RA, AG, AE, FR, and TPZ zones cultivation was allowed of up to 6 plants outdoors only on two-acre parcels, up to 12 plants indoors only on 5-10 acre parcels, up to 16 plants indoors or outdoors on 10-20 acre parcels, and up to 25 plants indoors or outdoors on parcels of more than 20 acres. Additionally, the ordinance outlined that a) plant counts include both mature and immature plants, b) all parcels are limited to a maximum of 12 plants indoors, regardless of the total number allowed on the parcel, c) setbacks are measured from the border of an outdoor staked grow area or indoor cultivation area to the property line of an adjacent legal parcel under separate ownership, and d) outdoor cultivation must be conducted in one continuous grow area, along with additional regulations and requirements outlined in Article 5 of the Nevada County General Code.
Dissolution of Interim Ordinance Subcommittee and Formation of Marijuana Regulations Subcommittee
Since the work of the Interim Ordinance Subcommittee was completed, on November 8, 2016 the Board dissolved the Interim Ordinance subcommittee and formed a new Nevada County Board of Supervisors Marijuana Subcommittee charged with obtaining marijuana stakeholder and community input for the development of recommendations for long-term regulations for consideration by the Board of Supervisors pertaining to marijuana-related activities in Nevada County. The Chair appointed Supervisors Hank Weston and Richard Anderson to serve on the new Marijuana Subcommittee and directed the Subcommittee to first work with the Community Development Agency, the Sheriff’s Office, the CEO’s office and County Counsel’s Office to prepare a proposal to obtain community input for the development of long-term regulations on marijuana-related activities in Nevada County.
Proposition 64 Passage
On November 8, 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64, the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (commonly referred to as “AUMA”) allowing adults 21 years of age or older to legally cultivate, possess and use marijuana for nonmedical purposes, with certain restrictions. Specifically, the proposition allows cities and counties to regulate marijuana-related activities, including the ability to ban marijuana-related businesses. However, Proposition 64 prohibits cities and counties from completely banning the cultivation, for personal use, of up to six plants inside a private residence or an accessory structure to a private residence. As such, in an effort to ensure compliance with Proposition 64, an amendment to the County’s Marijuana Ordinance No. 2416 was introduced to the Board of Supervisors on December 13, 2016 to narrowly amend the County’s ordinance to allow the indoor personal cultivation of six marijuana plants per private residence or accessory structure by persons 21 or older for medical or nonmedical purposes. This amendment will be considered for adoption by the Board of Supervisors on January 10, 2017.”
The deadline to submit a proposal for services is January 17, 2017 at 3:00 pm. The full RFP packet can be downloaded from the county’s website.