The California Coastal Commission approved a six-month extension on legalizing the commercial cannabis industry in the coastal zone at its monthly meeting on Friday in Half Moon Bay.
Humboldt County commercial cannabis industry is still illicit in coastal zones simply because there have not been any regulations implemented. It could be another six months before those rules are put in place after the commission voted 9-1 Friday morning to extend the deadline by six months.
County Planning Director John Ford send a letter to the commission expressing frustration about the impending delay.
North Coast Commissioner Ryan Sundberg initially pushed Friday morning for a three-month delay, stating the county sought to move forward and noting the lack of rules puts local cannabis farmers in a tough position.
“The request I had from the county this morning was to do a three-month extension and not the one year,” Sundberg told the commission. “We’ve got people in Humboldt who have invested millions of dollars in projects and this keeps getting held up and held up. I understand where they’re coming with a sense of urgency because of many, many jobs and lots of money invested.”
Jack Ainsworth, executive director of the commission, shot down the idea. “I don’t want to bring something to you half-basked,” he said.
Jennifer Savage, who said she was representing Humboldt Baykeeper and Friends of the Eel River, spoke during the public comment period and backed the extension.
“The potential to degrade coastal resources is too great to rush forward without a local public hearing and we hope that lessons from the implementation of the inland cannabis ordinances will be fully incorporated with input from the local communities,” she said.
“And on a personal note, as a 21-year resident of Humboldt County, I know very well how all things cannabis are intertwined with all things Humboldt and I absolutely urge you to give the necessary time and allow the local community to weigh in as it takes to get this right,” she added.
A motion was made, amended and ultimately approved 9-1 giving a six-month extension.