Santa Cruz County, Calif., Requires Cannabis Registration Online

Cannabis cultivators operating since January 2013 and growers with more than three years experience in the commercial ag zone have until midnight Nov. 6 to register.

by Jondi Gumz, Santa Cruz Sentinel, Calif. / August 12, 2016

(TNS) -- Whether the online registration process for medical cannabis cultivators will be as smooth as filing your taxes electronically or as bumpy as the first Covered California insurance rollout remains to be seen.

In any case, it must be done online.

The registration site went live Monday at co.santa-cruz.ca.us/CannabisLicensingOffice.aspx.

Cannabis cultivators operating since January 2013 and growers with more than three years experience in the commercial ag zone have until midnight Nov. 6 to register.

“This is definitely a big moment for the county,” said Trevor Luxon, a Santa Cruz attorney with a specialty in cannabis business law.

“They ask a huge amount of information about the property and the applicant,” he said, cautioning, “It’s not going to be an easy process for cultivators.”

He estimated a complete registration would comprise about 50 pages, and compared it to the process of filing for a permit from the Planning Department.

“It’s so thorough, it would take you time to get the information,” Luxon said. “You’re not going to be able to answer it all off the cuff.”

The county asks for the federal tax identification number, the state tax identification number and the state Board of Equalization tax identification number, plus a background check for the owner and operators via Live Scan.

D’Angelo “Cricket” Roberto of Responsible Cultivation Santa Cruz, who served on the county’s Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee, said it was too soon to assess the registration program.

Not so for Jim Coffis of Santa Cruz Mountains for Sustainable Cannabis Medicine, who was surprised there was no Spanish version.

“There’s 500-odd questions, some require an essay,” he said, questioning the depth of personal background information requested and the requirement to detail a security plan. “These are going to be public documents.”

The process is “cumbersome,” and “onerous,” as he sees it.

“I get it they want to err on the side of caution,” he said. “Imagine if this was an economic development issue, you wouldn’t make somebody jump through these hoops. There’s whole bunch more revenue out there to be captured.”

Last year, 14 medical cannabis dispensaries rang up $32 million in sales.

The applications will be reviewed by staff yet to be hired.

About 120 people applied to become the county’s first cannabis licensing manager.

“We’re currently interviewing candidates,” said county spokesman Jason Hoppin, noting many applicants did not meet the minimum qualifications.

The job called for five years of public administrative or regulatory experience, and a bachelor’s degree in economics, business, finance or land use, with a master’s degree or law degree “highly desirable.” The salary range was listed at $110,614 to 148,242.

The manager will have a staff of four to assist in reviewing applications.

“We expect it will take some time for applicants to review and complete the forms, which are lengthy comparable to what other states ask of operators,” Hoppin said.

Cannabia Checklist

  • Cost: $3,500 per cultivation site; $100 for Live Scan background check per owner or operator; $300 per on-site inspection; extra services at $110 per hour.
  • Background information.
  • Applicant owner certification form.
  • Building inspection report for indoor cultivation sites.
  • Cannabis cultivation registration application.
  • Map of cultivation site, pinpointing the cultivation spot on the parcel with exact dimensions.
  • Local tax receipts.
  • Personal background information on owners and operators.
  • Certifications, assurance and warranties form with notarized signatures.
  • Security plan.
  • Parcel owner certification form if the applicant is not the exclusive owner of the site.
  • Electrical certification form by licensed electrician if indoor cultivation is proposed.
  • Well permit and proof of ownership if water is supplied by a well.

©2016 the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Platforms & Programs