More information on Inyo County cannabis

By Deb Murphy

A couple of elements of Inyo County’s cannabis journey were altered at last Thursday’s special Board of Supervisors meeting.

First, the moratorium on medical and commercial marijuana operations was extended for another ten and a half months. There’s slim chance the moratorium will last that long. The simple reason for the moratorium, originally put in place in early November, was to preclude commercial operations from setting up shop before Inyo’s ordinances were in place.

Technically, the state will start issuing licenses January 1. If a county or city doesn’t have its own ordinances by then, the state regs prevail. Any state-licensed operation could be grandfathered in before the county finalizes its own regs. Both Inyo and Mono counties have used the moratorium to keep that from happening.

More impactful were recommendations from Inyo’s Planning Commission following their own review of the ordinance at its December 20 meeting.

According to Commissioner Todd Vogel, those recommendations were:

  • Allow non-volatile manufacturing businesses in rural residential zoning. The current ordinance restricts that category of manufacturing to industrial zones.

  • Rather than the noticing of the intent to establish a commercial cannabis business set by the county to all residents within 1,200 feet of the site, the Commission recommended the same noticing, 300-feet, as other Conditional Use Permit requests.

  • Allow commercial cultivation in R-1 zones, up to the six plants allowed for cultivation for personal use without the need to go through the CUP process. The Commission recommended a much simpler administrative permit.

Commission Chair Frank Stewart provided some of the reasoning behind the more liberal suggestions. In a phone interview, he described the non-volatile manufacturing suggestion as “a benign request.” According to Stewart, just the use of ice or water to maintain freshness is defined by the state as “non-volatile” manufacturing.

There’s hold-over apprehension,” he said. “But the controversy has passed. The voters approved commercial operations and the county will receive taxes.”

Stewart pointed out the six plant for sale or personal use in R-1 zones would encourage cottage industries and produce the product where it will be consumed. As it stands, the county’s ordinance limits commercial grows to 12-acre or larger Rural Residential parcels. Only areas primarily in southern Inyo have parcel sizes and zoning for large scale operations.

Those large scale operations have been the target of residents in the Olancha/Cartago communities. The county’s November ’16 advisory measures passed in the area, but recently residents have expressed strong feelings against large-scale, or any, cannabis businesses. “A secret ballot is the best measure of the breadth of the community’s feeling,” Stewart said. “We need to move beyond the stigma.”

Inyo’s Board of Supervisors will listen to the planning commissioners’ point of view at its January 2 meeting, rather than the having the first official reading of the final ordinance as was originally scheduled.

The final ordinance could then be read at the January 9th meeting, the second reading the following week and the ordinance official 30 days afterwards.


7 Responses to More information on Inyo County cannabis

  1. David Dennison October 22, 2018 at 8:17 pm #

    Sad day when a community has to rely on pot sales for their basic needs….like having a fire dept.But like I said,when this story was posted some 10 months ago….what pot smoker has to rely on a weed business to buy their pot ?….for 99 % of them,weed is a phone call and a short drive away….and minus the heavy taxes by doing that too.

  2. Gary e newby October 20, 2018 at 8:33 pm #

    The Charleston view Commumity welcomes cannibas business, we’re hoping tax revenues will get us some basic services, we have no fire dept. So no insurance on are homes my taxes are 400 $ a year.and the county supplies trash service. That’s it.

  3. Trouble January 3, 2018 at 8:01 am #

    Lower, it’s about personal freedoms and protections from the long arm of the law. But I’m not sure how much that means to you.
    The least people should do is respect what people have voted for.

  4. Low-Inyo December 30, 2017 at 8:28 am #

    Where is there a pot smoker that can’t find weed to buy and would need “pot shops” to make a purchase ?…

  5. Senior citizen December 28, 2017 at 4:42 pm #

    People are treating marijuana like it’s a poison. Why? So much misinformation among people who think they know what they are talking about.
    Treat cannabis like alcohol manufacturing, selling, storing and transportation. Marijuana is far safer than alcohol, people die from alcohol poisoning. This is part of progress and can give employment and income for adults and taxes for the county.

    Thank you Mr Stewart, but these area clearances are a bit over the top, Especially with all the requirements and ordinances that will be enforced.

    The some residents who are protesting the buildings for marijuana growing and processing have big barns and quanset huts on their property. What is the difference? They complained about water being used and chemical run off while there are alfalfa fields that run sprinklers 24-7 and use chemicals right here. And then there is Crystal Geyser sucking up unknown gallons of water.

    First, you will kill marijuana plants in a hurry by over watering them, just like most plants. Second, any marijuana grower worth a darn will only use organic nutrients.

  6. Sandy Justice December 28, 2017 at 7:55 am #

    I am a home owner in Olancha and there is a vocal minority that is pushing to stop any pot shop, farm or grow from happening in Olancha.

    Their are and will always be a small number of people that still buy into the old lies about pot.

    But they are the minority and in no way do they speak for all of Olancha. Olancha voted 2 to 1 to have these businesses in Olancha. The people have spoken already.

    • Scott Leahy February 7, 2018 at 11:48 am #

      Respectfully, Olancha is unincorporated. Your election precinct stretches from the Kern County line up to the South end of Owens Lake. Prop 64 won in your district by over 60%. So they are not a vocal minority, they are a voting majority.


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