Monterey County is holding off on expanding commercial medical marijuana cultivation rules to allow outdoor grows. Currently, only indoor medical marijuana grows are allowed in Monterey County.
While no one from the county was immediately available to talk about the decision on Tuesday, the county report states outdoor grows bring up regulation challenges because of space and environmental issues like illegal grading and water diversion.
But there are some benefits.
“But outdoor growers are generally going to have a lesser carbon footprint because indoor grow requires so much electricity, etc.," said Peter Brazil, a local attorney who deals with agricultural business and cannabis cultivation.
The Monterey County Board of Supervisors discussed several options at Tuesday’s meeting, including establishing regulated zones for outdoor grows.
But supervisors decided to table the issue and wait to see if Measure Y passes this November, which would tax commercial cannabis.
"It's important because as a community right now we're not deriving any benefits from cannabis operations. Once it passes, at that point there will be a tax imposed and the community will be benefiting from that extent,” said Brazil. “And then we'll have a more stable background from which to make a decision on outdoor grows."
Proposition 46 could also have an impact on future decisions, which is on the November ballot and calls for the legalization of recreational marijuana.