Monday, June 12th
California Department of Food and Agriculture
Attn: Rachelle Kennedy
CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing
1220 N Street, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: Proposed Medical Cannabis Cultivation Regulations
On behalf of the California Growers Association I write today to share our comments on the proposed regulations for medical cannabis cultivation.
Our organization has convened weekly conference calls, several study groups around the state and aggregated input from several of our sub-committees and working groups. After this thorough review we are please to say that—for the most part—we are supportive of the regulations.
In the interest of time and efficiency our comments here are focused only on the parts of the regulations that we feel most strongly about. Generally speaking, our feedback is very positive, though our comments contained herein might not reflect that. Many of the comments in this document are critical as we have chosen to highlight the areas where we think there are problems.
For several regulations we have indicated our support. This means that we would prefer no change to these regulations.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment and for consideration of our comments.
Article 1 – Definitions
(q) Mixed light – We recommend a lower wattage threshold of 15 watts per square foot. We would support a thresh hold as low as 5 to 7 watts per square foot.
(t) Outdoor cultivation – We support the inclusion of light deprivation as long as no artificial light is used. We feel that “low intensity” should be better defined in an objective manner. Also, this definition is somewhat problematic because often times “mother plants” are often kept under high intensity lighting in order to generate the vegetative growth necessary to produce the number of clones required. It may be most appropriate to allow for a nominal amount of high intensity light in addition to low intensity light for propagation.
Article 2 – Applications
8100 Application fees – We strongly support the proposed fees.
8107 Good Standing – We support the clarity regarding establishment of good standing.
8109 Water Source Supplemental Information – We support the clarity with regard to the information needed for the various water sources. We are particularly supportive of the subdivision (c) providing clarity on rainwater catchment.
8117 – Waiver of Sovereign Immunity – we have no formal position on this section, however we strongly encourage intergovernmental consultation with tribal governments in this regard.
Article 3 – Fees and Requirements
8200 – Cultivation License Fees and Requirements – We strongly support the fees as proposed.
8203 – Cultivation License Types – We strongly support the new proposed license type, “Processor.”
8203 (a) (1) – Specialty Cottage Outdoor – Our membership is split on this definition. Some think it is unfair to limit outdoor cottage growers to 25 plants and they should be allowed the 2500 square feet allowed for mixed light. Others feel that this is a reasonable balance. We would like clarification on a key question: would a cottage mixed light grower be required to use artificial light and use a greenhouse? In other words, would a growers licensed as a cottage mixed light be able to grow 2500 square feet of outdoor canopy?
8204 – Cultivation Limits – While not a consensus issue, a majority of our members would support a reduced limitation on cultivation licenses to 1 acre cumulative, at least for 2018.
8205 – Medium Cultivation License Limits – We support this limitation.
8206 – Multi-Tenant Cultivation – We support this regulation and appreciate the clarification on this important topic.
Article 4 – Site Requirements
8300 – Premises Diagram – We support these requirements.
8301 – Cultivation Plan – We support these requirements.
8305 – Waste Management – These requirements are borderline unworkable and possible fall into the “regulation for regulations sake” type of requirement. Will these requirements actually achieve the desired outcomes?(e) There are plenty of things that waste could be mixed with that would not inhibit subsequent extraction. For example, cannabis waste could be mixed with grass clippings and the entire mixture could be run through an extraction rig somewhere and the active ingredients could still be obtained. An example of this came in 2014 when law enforcement in Nevada County ran seized cannabis through a wood chipper with assorted vegetative matter from the forest. This pile was left in a semi public location and local high school students were observed picking through the pile and obtaining consumable cannabis products.(g) This subdivision alludes to onsite composting, however there is not other mention of this method of disposal. Most of our members prefer onsite composting and would like more clarity about this method of disposal. We recommend a new subdivision that clearly authorizes onsite composting. We strongly support onsite composting as a means of waste disposal.
8309 – Propagation requirements – We support these requirements.
8310 – Processing requirements – We support these requirements.
8313 – Environmental Protection Measures – We generally support these requirements but suggest clarification on the following:(d) clarify that for off-grid cultivation sites backup generators may be used as a backup energy source.
8314 – Additional Environmental Protection Measures for Mixed Light – We support this requirement.
8315 – Additional Environmental Protection Measures for Indoor – We support these requirements and recommend applying them to mixed-light as well.
Article 5 – Record and Reporting
8400 – Record Retention – Why the 7-year requirement? This seems a bit excessive.
8401 – Track and Trace System – We generally support these requirements though for off grid grows or grows in areas that do not have good access to broadband we encourage a minimum of 72 hours for reporting and data input. For some of our members accessing track and trace will mean a two hour (or more drive) in good conditions; in inclement weather or wildfire (and other emergency situations) entire regions of the state can be without access to the internet, sometimes for a week or more. This should be accounted for.
8402 – Track and Trace Unique Identifiers – Tracking by plant is an overly burdensome requirement that will ultimately be ineffective. The expected yield per plant is highly variable and relying on plant count tracking to flag suspicious behavior will result in an easy system to game. Square footage is the best unit for reducing the variability of expected yield and thus for flagging suspicious activity and effectively tracking product. We support the provisions related to immature plants.
8407 – Inventory Audits – We do not have concerns with this requirement, however we think it may be more appropriate to put it in Article 6 realting to “Inspections, Investigations and Audits.”
Article 6 – Inspections, Investigations and Audits
8501 – Inspections, Investigations and Audits – what is the difference between each of these? Are there differences? Will licensees be given advance notice? What is the threshold to trigger each one of these? Are they associated with different violation classes?
8501 – (e) –We support the requirement that these activities take place during normal business hours.
Article 7 – Enforcement – generally this article seems clear and reasonable.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed regulations and we look forward to continuing to work with the CalCannabis team to move toward a well regulated cannabis industry in California. It all starts on the farm and these regulations provide a relatively clear understanding of what farmers must do to comply.