Cannabis news wrap: Humboldt, Kern, West Sacramento, Mendocino, Watsonville

When it rains cannabis news, it pours. Let me know how you like this news digest format.

Feds target Mendocino County’s medical marijuana program

In response to a federal subpoena seeking records related to its suspended medical cannabis cultivation program, Mendocino County supervisors voted Tuesday to hire outside counsel. Supervisors held a special closed meeting Tuesday to discuss the federal inquiry into Mendocino County’s medical marijuana Ordinance 9.31 with County Counsel Tom Parker, according to the Ukiah Daily Journal.

The Daily Journal filed a public records request and then published the text of the Mendocino County marijuana subpoena, which was issued by the U.S. Attorneys Office in San Francisco. Copies of the subpoena were issued to Auditor-Controller Meredith Ford, County Fiscal Manager Norman Thurston, Sheriff Tom Allman, sheriff’s Captain Randy Johnson (who oversaw the 9.31 program), and the county “custodian of records,” the Daily Journal reports.

Humboldt County extends moratorium on new dispensaries

Up the road, Humboldt County supervisors voted to extend a moratorium on new medical cannabis dispensaries. The latest update is an ongoing departure from moratoria and bans on medical marijuana businesses found in other cities and counties, which typically cover both new and existing dispensaries.

The exception added by the supervisors on Tuesday allows existing permitted dispensaries to reapply “if the location of the facility becomes unavailable for continued use,” the Eureka Times-Standard reports. That was an apparent nod to Hummingbird Healing Center, which closed its doors under federal pressure in September.

The federal crackdown is relevant not only to dispensary operators, Deputy Counsel Davina Smith told the supervisors in urging the moratorium, but also to Humboldt County officials. No local governments or employees have faced federal prosecution in California, Smith said, “But the possibility remains and I’d hate for Humboldt County to be the first.”

West Sacramento set to jump on outdoor cultivation ban-wagon

The West Sacramento City Council is scheduled to hear an emergency ordinance tonight that would ban the outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana by qualified patients and primary caregivers. The city banned outdoor cultivation by marijuana dispensaries last year, the Sacramento Bee reports, but that ordinance did not address growing for personal use.

Record 3,600 cannabis plants seized at Watsonville indoor grow

As outdoor bans wend their way up and down the state, indoor grow operations continue to proliferate. Two people were arrested and more than 3,600 pot plants were seized at a former mushroom farm near Watsonville, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports. No mention of the suspect’s Prop. 215 patient status was made by the newspaper or the Santa Cruz County Anti-Crime Team.

Supervisors fine Kern County cannabis dispensaries

Medical cannabis dispensaries that stayed open after the June passage of Kern County’s Measure G are being fined for operating outside that measure’s narrow zoning restrictions. Supervisors imposed a $50,000 fine effective Tuesday against Kern County Kind Collective, the Bakersfield Californian reports, and the dispensary faces additional fines of $1,000 a day starting today. Although supervisors imposed similar fines Nov. 6 against several other dispensaries, a Kern County judge later issued a restraining order that blocked the county from imposing penalties on them for one month.

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