SB-67: A Letter to Governor Newsom on the Urgency of Expediting Approval to Extend Cannabis Cultivation Temporary Permits

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Dear Governor Newsom,

I reach out to you as a fellow fourth generation San Franciscan regarding expedited passage of SB-67. Like you, I carry on that pioneer spirit of our forefathers and feel tremendous pride in our Golden State.  I went to the Convent of the Sacred Heart and worked at The Chronicle with Pat Steger covering society for most of the 1980s.

The pioneer in me guided me to Mendocino County in 2003, where my husband and I thought we would “retire” on a ranch in the northern hills. Truth is, we’ve never worked so hard in our lives. For supplemental income, we joined the 9.31 cannabis program offered by Mendocino County in 2011, and enjoyed the privilege of growing our cannabis plants legally, under the full sun using organic methods. One could call it the quintessential California lifestyle.

Since then, we have joined others to become politically active in our County around the making of the new cannabis legislation. We have spent the last three years working with the CDFA and many other agencies with the ultimate goal of obtaining an Annual Cultivation permit. It has cost us almost $150,000 in consultants, license and permit fees, etc. We have created a recognized brand and are selling in legal cannabis retail outlets across the state.

All should be going great – yet a huge threat looms over practically every cannabis cultivator in California. Temporary permits are beginning to expire now and will continue to do so through July, putting at least 4,000 businesses at risk, possibly as many as 9,000. That’s a lot of families with no income, seniors with no retirement savings, and trickle-down economic consequences which could have horrible effects.

It is not these people’s fault – the various agencies are seriously overwhelmed and have not had time to process all the applications. It will still take several months for them to catch up, by which time thousands of cultivation permits will have expired. This will either put farmers out of business or force them onto the black market to support their families. These are the very farmers who have made every effort to comply with the new regulations.

I have no doubt you are aware that Senator McGuire and Assemblymember Wood have introduced SB-67. It is crucial it is signed by you as soon as possible. I understand it may take two months to receive State legislative approval and finally make it to your desk. Governor, if there is any way that can be expedited it will save the livelihoods of thousands of farmers and their families. Please do your best to help this frightening situation.

On behalf of our dedicated fellow farmers – those who strive to grow pure, craft cannabis with the same high-quality consciousness as the finest winemakers in Napa County – I beseech you to consider the seriousness of this impending crisis. We really need you to listen. The pioneers are calling out.

With Much Appreciation, 

Nikki Lastreto

Concerned Cannabis Farmer, Mendocino County

Mendocino Cannabis Industry Association Founding Member


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