Zoning law in CA county puts 3,000 growers at risk

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A new law in California’s Sonoma County that bans commercial cultivation in large areas outside of city limits has created an uncertain future for some 3,000 cannabis growers in that northern California region.

County officials approved the prohibition in December. It took effect Jan. 19, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. The law was implemented in response to complaints against 15-20 commercial cultivation operations in single-family homes.

The zoning law restricts cultivation to Sonoma County’s agricultural, industrial and resource zones, which leaves out the more than 31,000 land parcels in the county’s rural residential zones, the Press Democrat reported.

Cultivators in those areas are now faced with either moving out or hoping the authorities don’t go after them, the newspaper reported. The new rules could mean a loss of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in tax receipts for the county, according to the Press Democrat.

The county has already begun enforcing the ban and has acted against MMJ cultivators whose operations do not meet the zoning law requirements.