El Dorado County supervisors set commercial cannabis permit fees | TahoeDailyTribune.com

El Dorado County supervisors set commercial cannabis permit fees

Dylan Svoboda
Mountain Democrat

The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved new fees for commercial cannabis permitting.

Costs vary depending on whether the applicant is a prospective cannabis cultivator, retailer, distributor or manufacturer. The revenue generated from the fees would go towards the cost of administering a regulated cannabis program. Fees are supposed to generate full cost recovery for the county.

Each type of cannabis business would be charged an estimated $1,480 for the pre-application process. Pre-applications are an optional county program aimed at helping cannabis businesses figure out possible variables or issues in their project before starting the application process.

The commercial cannabis application includes a conditional use permit and an annual operating permit process. This process includes a review of the cannabis activities by county staff.

Fees for a commercial cannabis applications vary by type depending on how many different county departments are involved in the application process.

Commercial cannabis cultivation and manufacturing permit fees are a tick higher than retailers, distributors and testing labs because environmental management is involved in the permitting process, according to county chief deputy administrative officer Creighton Avila.

Conditional use permits will be approximately $9,433 for both cultivation and manufacturing while operating permits will be $7,284 and $6,445 respectively.

Existing cannabis retailers have substantially lower application fees than new retailers, distributors and testing labs due to less need for legal services from county counsel, according to Avila.

New retailers, distributors and testing labs must pay approximately $9,433 for a conditional use permit and $5,642 for an operating permit. In comparison, existing retailers must pay approximately $6,554 for a conditional use permit and $4,553 for an operating permit.

Once the initial permits are approved, businesses will enter a county-operated monitoring program, which makes sure cannabis businesses adhere to voter-approved cannabis regulations.

After a year, businesses must renew their operating permit. At that time the county will review the business’ performance and operations.

All commercial cannabis businesses are subject to annual fees ranging $3,000 to $5,000 for both the monitoring program and operating permit renewal.

Rod Miller, head of the El Dorado County Cannabis Growers Alliance, thanked the board and staff for making the fees as low as possible.

“I think we have a strong possibility for a real win-win for the county moving forward,” Miller said. “We’re developing a new economy, bringing the old world into the new world.”

Over the coming months and years, county staff intends on coming back to the board with updates and adjustments to the fee program.

Pre-applications and applications will be available by Sept. 30.

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