Growers sue California county for obstructing adult-use cannabis licensing

A group of growers is suing a county and its sheriff in east central California for allegedly blocking adult-use cannabis licensing against the will of the voters.

The El Dorado County Growers Advocacy Alliance and two cannabis companies – Cybele Holdings and Single Source Solutions – filed the lawsuit in Superior Court earlier this week against the county and Sheriff John D’Agostini.

“The 2018 El Dorado County ballot measures approved 150 cannabis cultivation licenses and zero have been issued,” Rod Miller, executive director of the El Dorado County Growers Alliance, said in a news release.

“We are asking the court to compel the sheriff to follow state and county law.”

The 2018 ballot measure, which was approved by 60% of the voters, required the sheriff to make recommendations based on the criminal background of the marijuana license applicants, according to the suit.

But D’Agostini has failed to complete the background checks because he has asked for information that is constitutionally unavailable from state and federal crime data bases rather than use state licensing background checks and other available resources, the growers allege.

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The result is that the county has lost out on thousands of potential jobs and millions of dollars of potential tax revenue, Miller wrote.

The Sacramento Bee, citing county records, reported that 10 outdoor cultivation license applications are awaiting processing.

Cybele’s permit application has been pending since April 2020, according to the lawsuit.

The newspaper wrote that D’Agostini’s office declined to comment and that the county hadn’t commented by its deadline.