A letter from Jude Thilman:
FORT BRAGG — Unregulated volatile solvent extraction in Mendocino County causes accidental explosions and fire dangers. That is what we have now. We desperately need strong, enforceable regulations of the cannabis industry so that we can flush out those illegal operations taking place in garages, backyards, neighborhoods, forests, etc.
With no regulation and no plans by the Board of Supervisors or any other county officials to regulate volatile solvent extraction, we are facing continued fire danger to our communities.
Measure AF mirrors the state Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, signed into law in October 2015 by Gov. Brown. The next two years will see amendments and fine-tuning of specific safety regulations and restrictions on the state level.
However, Measure AF stipulates even greater restrictions. Measure AF encourages local government to create detailed standards that match or exceed state mandated standards. For example, Measure AF would restrict volatile solvent extraction to industrial zones which amount to .09% of the County. Most of the county’s industrial zoning is located in incorporated areas, that is towns and cities, which are required to develop their own local ordinances to govern commercial medical cannabis production, including manufacturing.
Section 698.040 General Provisions in Measure AF reads that “(E) Manufacturing of commercial medical marijuana, either with the use of volatile solvents or with the use of non-volatile solvents, shall be prohibited in any zoning district in the Town Zone.”
The Mendocino County Department of Planning and Building Services will create the standards for manufacturing in addition to those imposed by the state regulations. Measure AF itself sets a firm basis for this. Sections 6.22.104 and 162.040 set Manufacturing Operating Requirements, Minimum Standards, and zoning restrictions. These include methods or procedures to limit risk of explosion, combustion, or any other unreasonably dangerous risk to public safety, a hazardous waste disposal plan, a fire safety and suppression plan, a water source and discharge plan. Measure AF requires that local agencies responsible for issuing County permits first establish standard operating procedures and regulations before issuing permits.
All of this is a step forward toward safety and public protection. And this provides a lot more than we have now – which is nothing. No regulations mean that some bad eggs out there are operating very dangerously. Clearly, the Chiefs meant to say “Vote YES on Measure AF” to bring regulations to cannabis manufacturing.