Cannabis consultant briefs Inyo Supervisors

By Deb Murphy

David McPherson used to be in law enforcement. Today, he’s the Cannabis Compliance Director for Hinderliter, de Llamas and Associates, the consultant hired by Inyo County to help figure out how to navigate the weird, complex waters of California’s Prop. 64, legalizing recreational marijuana, and the volumes of enabling legislation still in progress.

McPherson’s direction to the Inyo County Board of Supervisors Tuesday was simple: follow the best practices in regulating pot businesses for public safety and land use, take your time and do it right.

The time factor, according to McPherson, is one factor resulting in a marijuana mess in Colorado and Washington, both states okayed recreational use 2012. “The damage in Colorado was self-inflicted,” he said. The state had 150 days to cobble together regulations. California’s Prop. 64 commercial operation permits won’t go into effect until January 2018, giving the multiple state departments enough time to work through the details.

According to McPherson, the state has set the regulatory bar fairly low. For example: commercial operations have to be located at least 600 feet from schools, day care centers and places of youth activity. The counties have the option of raising that bar.

You have the tax in place and the numbers” of voters approving both medical and commercial operations, McPherson said referring to three advisory measures on the November 9 ballot. He encouraged the County to start a registry of potential pot-related business applicants “to assess the costs and get an idea of the dynamics.” Alternatives, first-come-first-served in the permitting process, or lotteries, weren’t good ideas. “You want the best actors,” he said.

Rather than concentrating in the income stream from taxes, McPherson suggested setting public safety and land use as top priorities. “If you do these right, the appropriate money will come,” he said.

The consultant filled in some details in the enabling legislation:

  • Counties can apply reasonable restrictions on non-commercial cultivation: banning outdoor cultivation, requiring permits for cultivation, and enacting growth limits. What counties can’t do is require background checks as part of the permitting process. Eventually, “everything will be defined by case law” as to what is a reasonable restriction, McPherson said.

  • Cannabis is now defined as an agricultural product so if an area is zoned ag, cannabis cultivation is legal but the county puts other requirements in place.

  • Potential growers in communities with CC&Rs or operating on leased lands could require approval of the homeowners’ association or lessee.

  • The County should consider its stance on microbusinesses, vertical operations that include cultivation, manufacturing, sales and delivery, everything but testing with permits required for each aspect of the business.

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4 Responses to Cannabis consultant briefs Inyo Supervisors

  1. Low Inyo January 6, 2017 at 12:52 pm #

    Kyle Crowle…I hope your kidding with your above post about legalizing meth….it’s going to be bad enough dealing with more legal “pot-zombies” now….don’t be needing to deal with a bunch of “meth-zombies” on top of it…with meth,staying up all day and night,it usually means hard to hold a job…in turn,the need to steal and con and mooch to get the money to buy the drug…same with the weed,only on a smaller scale…weed being legal now doesn’t mean those that choose to use pot have to do it morning,noon and night…usually the productive pot-smokers do it after work and their days off….those that do it 24/7 usually means no job,not much productivity,a spouse or significant-other doing the working and bringing in the money (to buy the weed and pay the bills ),or if both doing it a lot,a child or two and living off the system….just look around and you’ll see what I mean..try to tell me that isn’t true….just sayin’…

  2. Kyle Crowle January 6, 2017 at 6:07 am #

    All that is left is to Legalize METH, it does actually have self medicating properties and does help with Anxiety and tens of millions of Americans self medicate every day and night, it’s also a hundreds of billions of dollars industry second to none, I tried to educate my uncle Rooty, but he just doesn’t get it, just sayin!

  3. BobM January 5, 2017 at 10:13 am #

    Cannabis consultant?

    100% bureaucratic BS

    Funny how legal now means taxed and over regulated

  4. Trouble January 5, 2017 at 5:25 am #

    What part of it is now legal do they not understand? But,but,but……


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