Preventing Youth Access
In November 2016, Proposition 64 passed by 57% in California, 63% in San Mateo County and a whopping 69% in Half Moon Bay. With the overwhelming majority of voters in favor of cannabis, we believe that the cannabis ordinances in Half Moon Bay and San Mateo County should reflect, honor, and respect the wishes of the people.
Since Proposition 64 passed, there has been a small group of vocal citizens that have expressed a handful of concerns about the regulated cannabis industry entering their hometown. Most of the concerns being expressed over and over are based in fear (not facts), and are actually addressed by the comprehensive State of California cannabis regulations
Below, in bold, you will find the most common community concerns that have been raised at City Council and County Supervisor meetings, locally held listening sessions, and through local newspapers and media outlets – along with factual information about the regulations and preventative measures in place to address them.
A Track-and-Trace System, which is required by the state of California, will record every cannabis plant and batch, from seedling to sale – tracking every single gram of cannabis cultivated, processed, distributed, and sold in California. Cannabis businesses will be required to report any diversion of product to authorities.
To name a few required facility security measures, licensed cannabis facilities (from greenhouses to dispensaries) must have security guards, 24-hour video surveillance, alarm systems, commercial locks, and vaults for secure storage of cannabis and cannabis products.
Cannabis company owners must submit to background checks and have fingerprints on file with the state prior to being issued a license.
To decrease the threat of robbery, retail delivery drivers will not be able to carry more than $3,000 in product at any one time.
All cannabis products must pass strict testing by a state licensed laboratory prior to being sold to consumers. Laboratories will be required to perform testing on cannabis goods to measure the following: cannabinoids, terpenoids (terpenes), heavy metals, residual pesticides, residual solvents/processing chemicals, microbial impurities (molds/mildews/yeasts), mycotoxins, and moisture content and water activity.
Testing is incredibly important since a majority of the product in circulation prior to January 2018 tested positive for harmful pesticides, contaminants, and molds.
Edibles are now limited to a maximum of 10 mg of THC per serving (clearly marked) and 100 mg of THC per package. Edible labels must include an ingredients list, nutrition facts, THC content and include a universal symbol issued by the State Department of Public Health.
Extensive edibles rules radically limit the variety of legal edibles for sale. No infused hemp milk, no infused alcohol, and no products with both nicotine and THC. However, cannabis-infused butter will be allowed, so long as manufacturers get their butter from a licensed dairy.
Curbing the Opioid Epidemic
Cannabis is the one of the safest, most versatile medicines used in human history. Unlike prescription drugs, cannabis is nontoxic, has no known lethal dosage, and overdose will never result in death (no cannabinoid receptors in areas of the brain that controls heart and lungs).
Cannabis’ potential for dependency is lower than caffeine, unlike most other adult substances or over the counter medications such as alcohol, nicotine, sugar, virtually all prescription medications, and many foods.
Multiple peer-reviewed studies have concluded that the legalization and regulation of cannabis leads to a significant reductions in both opioids being prescribed and in opioid overdose deaths.
Preventing Youth Access
All cannabis and cannabis products must be sold in tamper-resistant, re-sealable, and childproof packaging. Edibles are not allowed to mimic popular food or candy like gummy bears, snickers bars, or ice cream.
You must be 21 years old to purchase adult-use cannabis and 18 years old to purchase medicinal (with a doctor’s recommendation). Just like in the alcohol industry, peace officers will run ‘minor decoy enforcement operations,’ and use a person under 21 years of age to attempt to purchase cannabis products in order to apprehend licensees, employees, or agents of licensees who sell cannabis goods to minors.
Any cannabis related advertising or marketing placed in broadcast, cable, radio, print, and digital communications can only be displayed where at least 71.6% of the audience is reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older.
Retailers cannot display cannabis goods in a place visible from outside the licensed premises and all cannabis products cannot be attractive to individuals under the age of 21. Cannabis goods purchased by a customer cannot leave the retailer’s premises unless the goods are placed in an opaque exit package.
Contrary to what most people believe, recent studies report that cannabis legalization and regulation does NOT result in an increase in teen consumption; in some instances, a reduction in consumption is observed.
The State of California requires that all applicants provide evidence of exemption from, or compliance with, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Applicants will also be required to comply with specific conditions imposed by the State Water Resources Control Board and Department of Fish and Wildlife. It is also important to note that a local jurisdiction may impose additional restrictions to further protect the environment as deemed necessary.
Illegal cannabis grows have a history of negative environmental impact. Legalizing and regulating these cannabis operations will allow state agencies to better protect our water, wildlife, and environment through regulation, enforcement, and strict penalties for bad actors.
Waste and Disposal
Cannabis waste must be contained in a secured waste receptacle or secured area on the licensed premises. Licensees may not sell cannabis waste and must comply with all applicable waste management laws. Cultivators will need a receipt from a licensed waste management company to prove that they compost their waste through secure and environmentally responsible procedures.
Additional Environmental Protection Measures
Indoor license types of all sizes must ensure that electrical power used for commercial cannabis activities is provided by any combination of the following:
On-grid power with 42% renewable source are the current state regulations
Onsite zero net energy renewable source providing 42% of power
Purchase of carbon offsets for any portion of power above 58% not from renewable sources
Demonstration that the equipment to be used would be 42% more energy efficient than standard equipment, using 2014 as the baseline year for such standard equipment
Industrial odor filtration and management systems are required. Technology advancements have come a long way; all odor-related nuances can be addressed through thought out standard operating procedures that use a combination of pressurized facilities in conjunction with filtration systems. If odor is a nuance, the cannabis operator must make corrections to mitigate the issue immediately or their license may be suspended or revoked.
Local regulations could and should require the implementation of odor control technologies and odor control plans, establishing qualitative or quantitative odor ranges and limits. Cannabis business activities can restrict, through stated regulations, the emission of odors and criteria pollutants that have the potential to be considered a nuisance, while exceeding applicable air-quality standards, and comply with air-quality plans, and/or not affect sensitive (nasal) receptors.
Mixed light (greenhouse) cultivation of all tiers and sizes must ensure that lights used for cultivation activities are shielded from sunset to sunrise to avoid nighttime glare, usually done through the use of blackout curtains. For Half Moon Bay and San Mateo County residents, this may mean that if local greenhouses are converted to cannabis operations, the orange, nighttime glow emanating throughout the coast will decrease.