July 19, 2021 — The cannabis cultivation ordinance has been at the center of controversy since the Board of Supervisors passed it less than a month ago. But the cannabis facilities ordinance was amended in May, with little fanfare. There were just a few objections, some from small growers requesting more consideration for microbusinesses, and others from neighbors, most notably a church in Hopland, protesting the removal of the requirement for a 600 foot setback between cannabis facilities and churches.
Tomorrow in closed session, the Board of Supervisors is scheduled to discuss a lawsuit over the matter. The lawsuit says that the county cited a common sense exemption from CEQA when the original facilities ordinance took effect late in 2017. It argues that the common sense exemption does not apply to the amended ordinance, because the changes will foreseeably draw more visitors and workers into undeveloped parts of the county, which would result in more infrastructure and more development.
David Drell, of the Willits Environmental Center, which filed the lawsuit on July 2, says the organization is resorting to litigation because the changes to the ordinance are too drastic to get by without proper environmental review and mitigations.