A nonprofit trade association representing cannabis farmers in five California growers’ groups is launching a $100,000 matching-funds campaign to secure state lobbyists to work on a number of issues affecting growers, it announced Feb. 1.
Founded in 2019, the Origins Council’s most pressing challenge this year involves coaxing the Legislature to extend provisional licenses these growers obtain while they await final state regulatory approvals.
Without help in Sacramento, farmers say they face mounds of red tape to get permanent licenses to grow cannabis, risking collapse of their markets if they don’t succeed. Meeting the requirements may be time consuming and expensive.
The council serves 500 members in five groups of cannabis growing regions in California. They include the Sonoma County Growers Alliance, Nevada County Cannabis Alliance, Big Sur Farmers Association, Trinity County Agriculture Alliance and the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance. The latter represents Happy Day Farms grower Casey O’Neill of Bell Springs, located north of Laytonville.
“We’re thrilled the Origins Council is ready to take these steps,” O’Neill told the Business Journal of his 1-acre vegetable and cannabis farm in Mendocino County. “Farmers at the Capital are under-represented. But I need to be on the farm.”
The provisional licenses to operate, which are granted by the state as temporary fixes until full state and local government approvals are met, will sunset at the end of this year.
Many farmers’ permanent licenses to operate are often hung up in regulatory applications that resembles planning and building permits.
There are 5,181 active provisional cannabis cultivation licenses in the state.
O’Neill’s concern lies with meeting California Environmental Quality Act and Department of Water Resources standards. For one thing, his farm sits on a steep slope along the rainy North Coast, a ripe prescription for storm water runoff that interlocking, sometimes unforgiving state agencies may