The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 16 unanimously adopted the first part of a cannabis land use ordinance that will set a minimum lot size for commercial cultivation operations and allow dispensaries in unincorporated areas to start selling recreational marijuana as soon as mid-November.
The ordinance requires a minimum lot size of 10 acres for commercial cannabis cultivation operations in agricultural and rural and resource development zones. That provision will eliminate more than 5,000 properties that previously were considered for cultivation.
It also allows adult use/recreational cannabis operations, including dispensaries, with a use permit.
The five cannabis dispensaries in the unincorporated county will be allowed to sell recreational marijuana starting Nov. 15, the date the ordinance takes effect, said Tim Ricard, cannabis program manager at the Sonoma County Economic Development Board.
Under the ordinance, a 600-foot setback from schools is required for indoor cultivation in agricultural and resource development zones.
Speakers at the lengthy public hearing said they opposed outdoor marijuana grows for various reasons, including public safety, traffic, noise, lighting and the pungent smell of the marijuana as the harvest progresses.
One speaker showed the board a respiration mask he wears because of the pot odor whenever he goes outside his home near a 30,000-square foot outdoor marijuana grow and a 3,000 square-foot indoor grow.
The second part of the cannabis land use ordinance will include a more thorough review of neighborhood compatibility. It will start in 2019 and take 12-18 months, according to the staff of Permit Sonoma and the Economic Development Board.
Story originally published by Bay City News.