MENDOCINO Co., 3/17/21 — The County of Mendocino has been awarded a second state grant, this one for $832,000, towards its cannabis equity program. This sum, which was announced March 15, will be added to the $2.2 million the county received in early 2020 for the program, totally about $ 3 million.
The county opened applications for the equity program — usually referred to as Mendocino County Local Equity Entrepreneur Program (LEEP) — on February 5, 2021 and is currently accepting applicants. The county’s fourth and newest cannabis program manager, Kristin Nevedal, also started in the position on March 15, after being selected by the Board of Supervisors during their recent board meeting.
Nevedal is the first of the county’s four cannabis program manager with experience in the industry. She will report directly to the county supervisors, a notable change from previous iterations of the job. The county’s full announcement can be found below.
Nevedal takes on the job as the majority of the county’s temporarily permitted “Phase 1” cultivators are facing the possibility of not receiving the state licenses required for operation in 2022 due to a complex CEQA situation. At the same time, the county is seeking to re-open cannabis cultivation permits in “Phase 3” using a significantly different proposed permitting process and the potential for acres of cannabis allowed per permit, which will be heard by the Planning Commission this Friday, March 19.
The statewide cannabis equity program, which has allocated $55 million to counties and cities, has supported almost 20 different local programs, including in San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Sonoma, Lake, Humboldt, and Trinity, and seeks to address the past disproportionate consequences of cannabis prohibition by assisting applicants who are seeking commercial cannabis licenses. A portion of the funds required to go directly toward loans for qualifying individuals.
In Mendocino County, the program is designed to “provide funding and services for those hardest hit by the War on Drugs by lowering barriers to cannabis permitting and licensing,” according to the program’s website. Applicants must meet criteria for residency, income status, and qualifications for “equity” eligibility, which includes prior arrests, proximity to past “Campaign Against Marijuana Planting” (CAMP) raids, and other negative impacts from previous cannabis enforcement actions, including asset forfeiture. In 2020, the Board of Supervisors also voted to allocate an additional $100,000 to the program, bringing its overall funding to over $3.1 million so far.
So far in Mendocino, no applicants have been selected to receive any funds, and applications for the program’s services have not been made available. The county’s webpage states these applications will be forthcoming in February or March of 2021. Many of the Mendocino County “legacy” farmers are part of the “Phase One” cultivation permit applicants, since “proof of prior cultivation” was required, and have advocated for the funds to be used to provide financial assistance for smaller and multi-generational farmers now facing potentially exorbitant costs for CEQA analysis to receive their annual state permits and retain their existing county permits, both of which are required for commercial cultivation in 2022.This is the third round of statewide funds awarded to local jurisdictions that have established funding to assist tsk in gaining commercial cultivation permits across the state. Humboldt County’s equity program, called Project Trellis, was established prior to Mendocino County’s. Project Trellis also received over one million in funding this round, and is accepting applications until March 19, 2021. During it’s initial equity funding application in 2019, Mendocino County worked with “California Center for Rural Policy (CCRP) at Humboldt State University, the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research (HIIMR), as well as cannabis industry partners including the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance (MCA), Origins Council (OC).”
Here’s the announcement from the county detailing how to apply for the program:
Last year, Mendocino County was awarded $2.2 million from the Cannabis Equity Grants Program for Local Jurisdictions which is being administered by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). In addition, the Board of Supervisor’s allocated $100,000 matching grant dollars to support our local Cannabis Equity Program which aims to provide funding and services for those hardest hit by the War on Drugs by lowering barriers to cannabis permitting and licensing.
To qualify for Cannabis Equity Grant funding, all interested applicants must demonstrate eligibility by completing an Equity Eligibility Application which opens on February 5, 2021. Those who apply and can demonstrate they meet the requirements of the program will receive the Mendocino County Local Equity Entrepreneur Program (LEEP) designation and Equity Applicant identification number which will enable them to apply for grant funding and services beginning in February and March.
Steps to become an Equity Eligible Applicant:
- Check to see if you meet the eligibility criteria by visiting our website and reviewing the application requirements. (The criteria is also listed below)
- Get designated as an Equity Applicant by submitting an Equity Eligibility Application starting February 5, 2021. Visit our website for more details on how to apply online.
- Equity Eligibility Applicants will be notified if they meet the criteria and receive an Equity Applicant identification number. Equity verified applicants will be able to apply for grant funding beginning in February and March in three categories: County Fee Waivers, Direct Technical Assistance in Business Development or Cannabis Cooperative Education, and Direct Grants. Learn more on our website.
For more information please see our website: https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/planning-building-services/cannabis-cultivation/cannabis-equity-grant
Mendocino County Cannabis Equity Applicant Eligibility Requirements:
- You must be eligible for a cannabis related application, permit and/or license to operate a cannabis business in the unincorporated areas of Mendocino County whose activities are specific to cultivation, nurseries, processing, manufacturing, laboratory analysis, distribution or retail of cannabis.
- Have a household income as defined as “very low income” or “extremely low income” for Mendocino County in the 2020 State Income Limits produced by the California Department of Housing and Community Development.
- And you must meet one of the following equity conditions:
- Have lived within a 5-mile radius of the location of raids conducted by the Campaign against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) program.
- Have a parent, sibling or child who was arrested for or convicted of the sale, possession, use, manufacture or cultivation of cannabis (including as a juvenile).
- Any individual who has obtained or applied for a cannabis permit in Mendocino County, or who has worked in or currently works in the cannabis industry, and was arrested and/or convicted of a non-violent cannabis-related offense, or was subject to asset forfeiture arising from a cannabis-related event.
- Is a person who experienced sexual assault, exploitation, domestic violence, and/or human trafficking while participating in the cannabis industry.
- Have become homeless or suffered a loss of housing as a result of cannabis enforcement.
For eligibility related questions please email [email protected]
County of Mendocino cannabis program manager announcement:
On March 9th, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to hire Kristin Nevedal as manager of the county’s cannabis program. She began her duties Monday, March 15th.
“Implementing Mendocino’s cannabis program has been a chronic problem for the county; it has changed departments and hands multiple times compounded with problematic local policy and hundreds of legacy cultivators stuck in the pipeline for years,” says Fifth District Supervisor Ted Williams.
“Untying this knot requires a special candidate. Kristin Nevedal is that candidate, and we are fortunate that she accepted the charge. Her extensive experience in cannabis policy, advocacy, and compliance makes her uniquely qualified to hit the ground running in managing the cannabis program and resolving our permitting backlog,” says Supervisor Williams, who continued by suggesting Ms. Nevedal’s hiring is among the county’s most important in 2021.
“Having such a competent person in this role will allow the Department of Planning and Building to function more effectively and work on other deferred countywide needs,” he concludes.
Third District Supervisor John Haschak notes, “Kristin has an excellent history of cannabis experience at state, regional, and local levels. Her ability to work with stakeholders and governmental entities will serve Mendocino County well.”
Ms. Nevedal’s cannabis resume encompasses local, state, and academic experience. She was co director for the Humboldt Institute of Interdisciplinary Cannabis Research and an associate faculty member for the Humboldt State University Sociology Department. She worked concurrently as a social science research director and founder for the Center for the Study of Cannabis and Social Policy in Seattle, Washington.
Within the cannabis community, Ms. Nevedal is known for her work with the Bureau of Cannabis Control as a gubernatorial appointee on several subcommittees. She is the founder of the International Cannabis Advisory Farmers Association, has been an education director for the Emerald Cup and the co-founder and vice president of the Humboldt Growers Association.
“I’m excited to be working with the County in its effort to develop and implement a meaningful cannabis regulatory program. I want to thank the Board of Supervisors for their support and confidence. I’m deeply humbled by the opportunity,” says Ms. Nevedal.
“I look forward to working with the Board, County staff, and the cannabis community to address concerns and inefficiencies, improve outcomes, and ensure we can achieve a successful path forward,” she concludes.