Valley News -

Ag Commissioner's staff to inspect commercial cannabis grows

 

Last updated 1/22/2019 at 10:18am



RIVERSIDE - Riverside County supervisors are expected next week to approve a contract with the state that will designate the county Office of the Agricultural Commissioner as the inspecting authority for all commercial cannabis grows countywide.

The 18-month-long agreement with the California Department of Food & Agriculture will be considered during the Board of Supervisors' policy agenda Tuesday morning.

It would be the second compact between the county and state under the CalCannabis Program. The first one ran from May 1 to Nov. 30.

The new agreement will be in effect until June 30, 2020, and will only pertain to cities within the county that permit commercial cannabis cultivation -- Banning, Desert Hot Springs, Jurupa Valley, Moreno Valley, Palm Desert and Perris. The county's existing ban on all commercial cannabis activity remains in force throughout unincorporated communities.

The state will allocate about $14,000 to fulfill the contract terms in the current and next fiscal years, according to the county Executive Office.

Agricultural Commissioner Ruben Arroyo's staff will conduct on-site compliance inspections that ensure commercial marijuana growers and processors are abiding by rules and regulations under which they were licensed by the California Department of Food & Agriculture.

Violations will be documented and reported to the state, officials said.

Although the county maintains a blanket prohibition on cannabis cultivation and sales in unincorporated areas, the board in October tentatively approved a series of regulations that will clear the way for up to 50 marijuana producers to operate in specified locations.

The regulatory scheme is expected to be formally approved following additional public hearings in the current fiscal year.

Under the Medicinal & Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation & Safety Act, all entities seeking to engage in commercial-level cannabis activity are required to procure permits from the CDFA's CalCannabis Licensing, Compliance & Enforcement Division.

Localities may continue to prohibit commercial grows, as well as storefront and mobile marijuana dispensaries, as they see fit under state law. However, personal cultivation of up to six plants for recreation and medical purposes, as defined under voter-approved Proposition 64, cannot be outlawed.

 

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