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Local News

“We will not be pitted against one another”

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Mendocino County YouTube channel.
Mendocino County YouTube channel.
Scott Ward admonishes the Board of Supervisors, saying, "You've got a deadline coming up quickly...and I don't think you have enough time."

Long-time cannabis attorney Hannah Nelson and Ellen Drell, of the Willits Environmental Center, co-signed a letter outlining their shared opinions about how the county should approach its policy towards the removal of trees by cannabis permit applicants.

On Wednesday, during a special Board of Supervisors meeting to ratify the declaration of a local emergency, one commenter urged the Board to approach the cannabis program more effectively, while another declared that he thinks the county should abandon the program altogether.

During public comment on off-agenda items, a man who identified himself as Alan Stein called to complain about the $17.5 million Local Jurisdiction Award Grant Program. That’s state money that’s supposed to be used to help local provisional cannabis license holders come into compliance with state environmental regulations. The cannabis department recently asked the General Government Committee to recommend that it be allowed to reduce the amount it will make available in direct grants to individual applicants from $10.5 million to $3.6 million.

Meanwhile, former building official turned cannabis consultant Scott Ward told the board the number of license holders in the county has increased by one; and that he thinks the Board should seriously consider a recent letter, co-signed by long-time cannabis attorney Hannah Nelson and Ellen Drell of the Willits Environmental Center, laying out their shared proposal to solve the vegetation modification issues colloquially known as “veg mod hell.”

Drell and Nelson are keenly aware that they are often perceived as being on opposing sides of the cannabis issue. Their letter closes with a declaration that, “We will not be pitted against one another or sustain a claim by County Counsel that one of us is more likely to succeed in a lawsuit than the other. Rather, we demand a reasonable approach and we have done the work and analysis to provide a path forward.”

Local News
Sarah Reith came to Mendocino County in 2008 and worked as a reporter and freelancer, joining KZYX as a community news reporter in 2017. She became the KZYX News Director in March, 2023.