Not everyone in California is ecstatic about the thought of a recreational marijuana market, including the entire Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors. This afternoon, the board voted unanimously in favor of an emergency 45-day countywide ban on the cultivation of recreational marijuana.
The temporary moratorium on growing includes any plants intended for commercial sale or personal use, making both practices illegal in Santa Cruz County once again. This ban comes just one week after California voters made their stance on cannabis distinctly clear by voting “yes” on Prop 64, effectively making recreational cultivation legal. It is important to note that the new ban will not affect Santa Cruz residents who have a doctor’s recommendation or grow plants indoors for personal use.
Santa Cruz County Supervisors insist that the emergency ban’s purpose is creating some lead time before recreational legalization so that proper regulatory language can be put in place. Prop 64 gave individual cities and counties the ability to vote on certain local parameters of the bill, including the maximum number of dispensary licenses awarded. The city of San Jose also voted to enact a similar ban on recreational grows.
Even without the ban, commercial growers are still unable to sell their harvests or any other marijuana products to recreational customers under Prop 64. Sellers and growers must obtain a license from the State of California in order to serve recreational clientele, unless they give their products away for free.
The 45-day moratorium on commercial growing puts immense pressure on recently-hired “County Cannabis Czar” Dan Peterson, who is tasked with developing the recreational marijuana framework in Santa Cruz. Peterson will oversee all recreational licenses, regulation, and tax collection for the county.
Cover Image Courtesy of Allie Beckett