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Mendocino County Cannabis Farmers Beg for Help From California

John SchroyerFebruary 16, 20234min0

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Less than 1% of cannabis farmers in the county have transitioned to full permits.

A trade organization representing hundreds of small cannabis farmers in Mendocino County asked for “urgent intervention” by the state to save their marijuana cultivation permits, in a letter sent to California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the director of the state Department of Cannabis Control.

The letter, dated Feb. 8 and penned by the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance (MCA), asserted that Mendocino County officials have spun their wheels for years in an ineffective attempt at standing up a local cannabis licensing program that jibes with all state requirements. “Mendocino’s cannabis program has reached a breaking point,” the letter reads, and reports that only six out of 841 farmers – less than 1% – have been able to obtain full annual state cultivation permits, largely due to local licensing dysfunction.

For years, much of the state’s legal cannabis companies have been operating on “provisional” permits that don’t require full compliance with state environmental regulations and other rules, but that temporary transition phase is coming to an end this July.

The MCA letter warns that unless something drastically changes, county officials only expect 256 of the farms to transition to full licensure by a state-imposed deadline of July 1.

“If this estimate were accurate, it would suggest that approximately 75% of cultivators who entered the permitting process in good faith beginning in 2017 will be unable to obtain a state license,” the letter reads. “While we believe this estimate is unacceptable, we also unfortunately believe that it is optimistic in light of the program’s current trajectory.”

But the MCA said it’s skeptical even the 256 will survive and keep their licenses, due to a reported staffing shortfall at the county level.

The 16-page letter outlines a series of years-long problems at the county level, and notes that b