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Environmental & Resource Protection

Cannabis Regulations Environmental Review

In February of 2017, the County of Santa Cruz initiated an Environmental Impact Report to analyze a proposed program for regulating and licensing commercial cannabis activity. The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on the proposed program was made available for review and comment in August, 2017. Just prior to the review period, the State of California revised the Business and Professions code to include a Statutory Exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for cannabis regulation programs that require discretionary review and approval for commercial cannabis activity, where the review includesenvironmental review under CEQA for individual projects as they come in for authorization.

On February 5, 2018, the Board directed County staff to pursue a new recommended regulatory program using the statutory exemption, and therefore a Final EIR on the previously proposed program will not be completed. The many comments that were received during the DEIR comment period have been reviewed and in many cases measures to respond to comments have been incorporated into the set of proposed local ordinances that was reviewed in concept by the Board of Supervisors on February 5, 2018. The Board directed modifications to the proposed ordinances. The ordinances, as modified, will be presented to the Planning Commission at a public hearing on February 28, 2018.

All comments submitted during the comment period have been posted for public review at the following link: