Earlier this year, Calaveras County issued a Medical Cannabis Cultivation and Commerce Ordinance Project Draft Environmental Impact Report.
The report describes the options for regulating or banning commercial cannabis grows in the county and identifies the likely impacts of each option. Now, following a required public comment period, the county must respond to the dozens of written comments submitted.
According to the report, some of the impacts of commercial cannabis grows can be fully mitigated though proper regulation. Unfortunately, other impacts would remain significant and unavoidable, including those to air quality, biological resources, and transportation.
By the close of the DEIR comment period June 14, Calaveras County received more than 60 comments from individuals, agencies, and organizations concerned about commercial cannabis grows. The comments range from one-page emails written by concerned residents about a couple of issues to lengthy critiques written by experts covering multiple sections of the report.
As would be expected after the many months of debate on the subject, some commenters preferred regulating commercial cannabis grows while others favored banning them. Some comments explained the need to improve the environmental review, while other comments encouraged Calaveras County to adopt additional measures to reduce the impacts of commercial cannabis cultivation. The list of commenting agencies included the Calaveras County Water District, Caltrans, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The comments can be viewed here.
Calaveras County is obliged to compose reasoned, written responses to these comments, supported with facts. The environmental review is designed to help agencies like Calaveras County adopt measures to reduce the impacts of their projects. At the conclusion of the environmental study, the proposed ordinances will be reviewed by the planning commission and considered for approval by the board of supervisors.
There is another opportunity for public comment now, as the planning commission and board of supervisors hold hearings to consider the ordinance options. The tentative schedule is for a commission hearing on September 28, September 29, and possibly October 1. The board is scheduled to hold a hearing on October 17.
If you have concerns regarding this issue, you can make those concerns known in person at these hearings. You can also make your comments in writing a few days beforehand. You can write to the Planning Commission or to the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors by sending your comments to 891 Mountain Ranch Road, San Andreas, CA 95249. If you prefer to email in your comments, send them to the Clerk of the Planning Commission and/or to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors.
The report can be viewed on the county’s website.