Santa Cruz County is debuting a new medical cannabis website to keep track of pot grows in the area. Starting this week the county will be accepting registration forms from cultivators and the cost to register isn't cheap.
It'll cost $3,500 to cultivate medical marijuana in Santa Cruz County. Officials said pot grows have been around for decades and it's time for more oversight.
"Before this registration program we've never had any information about what they're doing and where they are doing it, and how much they're doing of it. the only people we've ever collected any information on are the ones who've gotten themselves into trouble," said county supervisor, John Leopold.
The current law only allows 99 plants per parcel. According to the Santa Cruz County Sheriffs office in years past many of the cultivators have been cited for not being in compliance. The registration is a prerequisite for growers who want to obtain a cultivation license. Some of the pot shops in town said it's a step in the right direction, while there are still some concerns.
"We do want commercial cannabis cultivation in Santa Cruz, however this presents some caveats for the cultivator, number one you have to pay a $3,500 registration fee, quite a hefty fee. Number two you have to expose yourself and your location which presents some potential issues for cultivators," said Kind Peoples Collective, Khalil Moutawakkil
Cultivators could be hesitant to give personal information because of all the pot shops that have been targeted over the years. But the county is only giving 90 days to register.
"We're saying that people have to have been growing since january 1, 2013, or can show that they've been an active farmer in the county for at least three years," said Leopold.
It's estimated that about 250 people will register to grow.
"We're hoping that people who are engaged in sound environmental cultivation practices will come in and both show us what they're doing so that we can adopt rules that make sense and that we start creating a brighter line between those good actors people that are doing it well, and bad actors people who are spoiling the environment," said Leopold.
County said the registration money will fund the licensing manager and four staff members. The county is interviewing for the manager position this week.