Humboldt County Growers Alliance Offers Five Tips on How to ‘Facilitate a Smooth Review of Your Cannabis Application’

white hairs on marijuana against blue sky

Marijuana flower [Photo by Kym Kemp]

Letter from the Humboldt County Growers Alliance:

Dear Humboldt cannabis community and those working with the industry,

Many thanks to the hard-working people who are deep in the trenches of bringing …this industry in Humboldt out of the fog and into the light: to the staff across the counter at the Planning Department; to the farm hands working from sun up to sundown; to the building inspector braving roads full of potholes; to the consultants and lawyers who are having a hard time finding time to sleep; to our Agricultural Commissioner who has enthusiastically participated every step of the way; to the farmers who find themselves buried in meetings and paperwork instead of soil and sun; to the five Supervisors and new planning director; to the licensed contractors; to the loyal trimmer who is filling out their first 1099 [tax form]; and to the interim Sheriff for his transparency with regard to enforcement priorities–we applaud and we appreciate you.

But, before we get ahead of ourselves, there are still thousands of applications pending completion and review. On Thursday, May 18, Humboldt County Planning Director John Ford made a public commitment that  all applications deemed complete by June 30, 2017, will be processed to decision by Dec. 31, 2017.

Director Ford has explained the new directives and provided clarity about how to navigate the permitting process, so it is time to get the job done.  Consultants, lawyers, agents and applicants must work diligently to complete the process in a timely manner.  In response,  county departments must step up to the challenge and process applications before Jan. 1, 2018, when the state begins issuing licenses.

Here are the top five ways to facilitate a smooth review of your application:

  1. Be thorough. Make a checklist of planning and other agency requirements. Double and triple check your documents and reports to ensure they match with regard to proposed activities, and that all prior comments are directly addressed in the resubmittal paperwork;
  2. Be patient. If caught commencing cultivation or making site improvement actions prior to obtaining all needed permits these actions could result in permit delays (at best) and possible violations;
  3. Do not change the project description as the project is being processed, this can require re-evaluation of the project;
  4. Be available. In order to provide timely responses to planning department requests, make sure lines of communication are open including: voicemail is setup and email is checked frequently; and
  5. Do not make daily calls to the planning department asking for an update (each call takes a planner away from working on the project).

Humboldt County, it’s time to see what we are made of. June 30 is right around the corner!

With kind regards,




  • There is no form 1090

    • Are you sure you’re a tax lady?

    • “Though a medical marijuana business is illegal under federal law ,it remains obligated to pay federal income tax on its taxable income because s61(a)does not differentiate between income derived from legal sources and income derived from illegal sources.”

      .Also there are no federal deductions allowed on any business expense involving a schedule 1.

      • Triniboldticino

        The Federal Tax is ALL income from the Federally illegal activity. 100% tax. It hasn’t been enforced. This is discretionary on the IRS. The cases in San Fran indicate that you CAN deduct “costs of goods sold.” In that case, it meant buying poundage from elsewhere, NOT the costs of dirt, nutes, labor, depreciation, etc., etc.

        The cases aren’t clear cut. One was a “good guy” case, providing additional “services” alongside the ganja, and they were permitted certain deductions. The other was a “bad guy” case (from reading the Court’s opinions) and he wasn’t given an inch. These two cases form the basis of most of the advisory opinions in other States as to how to deal with income taxation. Many are simply “farmers” and their “tax advisors” just do the standard dance and hope they never hear about it again.

        Discretionary on the IRS means they can do what they want to do in any given instance. This is why there were IRS agents involved several years ago when there were 400 or so Federal Agents (curiously, very few DEA, if any) running around Humboldt in what appeared to be a massive “training session.”

        Here’s a somewhat uninformed informative overview:

        • A good question for huffman at the next town hall meeting might be to ask him why he isn’t petitioning to abolish the unconstitutional 17th and 16th amendments. He complains about Calif sending more funds to DC than what they get back. He complains about the executive branch enforcing the laws that congress makes and he funds. He complains about not having the funds to install proper screening and immigration channels while okaying funds for the executive branch to enforce the issues he spends all year complaining about them enforcing.
          The House of Representatives holds the purse strings. Not the executive or judiciary branches. The House of Representatives does.
          ABOLISH the 17th amendment and the 16th will soon crumble too. Many scholars openly admit those weren’t ratified. Easy.

  • Crusty McBiscuit

    I really appreciate this stuff, but coming from a douchebag like Cody from Northern Emeralds who is just trying to get growers to join his cult, we don’t want your help. It’s these kind of non-locals who come up here and prosper because of strong selling connections out of the area that chap my ass. Before hamster ranchers like him we grew weed to for a different lifestyle and to enjoy a plot of land and peace of mind, not to drive Teslas and live a life of luxury. We didn’t have Teslas in that era, but you get the point.

  • It’s 1099 and a trimmer would not be the one filling it out.

    • Yah…that made me chuckle. It’s a w-9.
      Accountants are gonna have their hands full next year. Haha

    • Yes, there is definately some education that needs to be taught/learned about the tax/employment process! The trimmers would not be filling out the 1099. That would be the person paying someone as a subcontractor. WHICH, there are many different situations that will determine if a trimmer is actually an employee or a subcontractor. It will be different for various situations.

      Here is a link to a guide to help determine in your case:



    2.)Be patient. If caught commencing cultivation or making site improvement actions prior to obtaining all needed permits these actions could result in permit delays (at best) and possible violations;

    Think about this statement. Does that mean that existing farms awaiting permits need to refrain from cultivating before permits are issued? If so 99% of the applicants(my estimate from everyone I talked to awaiting permits) are growing before being permitted. Seems they should be denied a permit if they are caught growing before permits are issued. That would only be fair to those playing by the rules. If existing farms filing for permits are allowed to grow before being issued permits how is that fair as well. The greedy growers that have the illegal drug money to afford the permitting process are growing and SELLING THEIR WEED FOR PROFIT, before being permitted. We are talking about mult million dollar FOR PROFIT companies/farms that are now hiding under their limited liability corporation name. This looks like some SERIOUS RICO SHIT TO ME!!!

    • Existing cultivators are allowed to cultivate in 2017 provided they are cultivating within the existing footprint of their previous cultivation area (as stated in their application), and they have begun submitting the required documentation for compliance with the CMMLUO.

      Violations can occur when cultivators expand beyond their previous cultivation area e.g. go from 5,000sqft to 10,000sqft; move their site to another location without approval; and/or if “new” cultivation, farmers begin planting before receiving approval. These are just a few of the most common violations occurring.

      The Planning Department, at the behest of the Board of Supervisors, will determine the severity of the violation(s) on a site-by-site basis and proceed accordingly.

      W-2’s are for “employees”
      1099 forms are for “independent contractors”


    ASK ANY GROWER IF THEY ARE A NON PROFIT. 99% will say they sell for profit. I thought it was illegal to have a for profit marijuana business unless you had special state & county licenses. Someone out there please give me the real 411. Can u grow weed in Humboldt for profit right now. YES or NO. Thanks.

    • The short answer is yes it is okay to grow marijuana for profit now. Humboldt County’s has a medical marijuana law called “The Commercial Medical Marijuana Land Use Ordinance.” The definition of commerce is making a profit. See here The long answer is there is a lot of caveats of who can grow and what hoops they have to jump through before they can make a profit. Consult a lawyer for that answer.

      • The short answer is NO, it is not ok to grow marijuana for profit now. This year all marijuana must be grown in accord with the state’s medical marijuana laws, and those laws provide that 1) all transactions must be between 215 patients, and 2) that all transactions must be non-profit. Don’t get confused: non-profit does not mean you can’t sell for more than the out of pocket costs, it means you can’t sell for more than the OOP plus a “reasonable” amount for your skills, labor, and risk.

        You ALSO need a county license in the Emerald Triangle counties. That license may permit for profit growing, but all that means is that you are not in violation of county land use regulations if you grow for profit. It does not exempt you from the State Medical Marijuana laws (or the Feds). Recreational marijuana may not be sold at all, and you can only give away 1/2 oz

        Lots of people will grow for profit in 2017, and most will get away with it. That does not mean it’s legal, it means law enforcement can’t keep up with the problem.

    • Veterans friend

      I love being a “not for profit” grower. Tiny grow, medical, no permit needed, my donees love me. Life is good

  • My least favorite is the rhetoric of “into the light” .. you basterdize everything ganja is and has been about for the kind folk
    . Letters like this are laughable if your stoned enough of cough sick medicine

  • Step Into the Light- Ha Ha!

    “Step into the light”- You disgust me. Yeah- “Step into the light” of filing forms, bending over and loving your compliant state…while the corporate grows blow up and run you over anyway! What a line of bullshit. I was “in the light” since ’78 and way before you cowards showed up to rake up piles of cash and worship your own enslavement to the corporate death machine. You entirely missed the point of what we were doing here. Well, at least we saved some old-growth and rehabilitated some creeks before you greedy little pussies sold it all out. Enjoy your fancy cars and your L.A.-in Humboldt lifestyles you sell-out cowards!

    • Veterans friend


    • This person gets it. permits pshhh whats the point? so you can waste all your hard earned money trying to get compliant just to get undercut and pushed out of the market by all the greenhouse lettuce growers in the central valley converting to cannabis. The “legal” market in California is already oversupplied, where are all these permitted fools going to sell their ganja? Everyone I talk to says theyll just divert a portion of the harvest to the black market like the good ol days… well see how that works when the govt knows exactly how many sqft youre cultivating. Fuck permits, corporate cannabis has already won and the ganja farmer humboldt lifstyle days are numbered.

    • What’s the legality of distribution, pack it in a U-Haul and drive it to it’s destination?.. Anyone here working with Chongs Choice?

    • Put that in ur pipe and smoke it, industry insiders! Ha!

  • Word up – step into the light ha ha – well said, this kind of bs rhetoric makes me sick to my stomach, they are parading this crap like we’re all going to get rich and live in la la land [edit] I don’t think so, I’ve been a grower for 30 years in so hum and I don’t need these ass clowns speaking for me.
    Sell out wanna be corporate clones of each other picking over the bones of our proud sub culture.
    F off!

  • You could just keep your total canopy to less than 1500 sq ft, and keep your doctors rec current, and don’t divert some creeks, and you are legal.

  • Have there been any town hall meetings with both the Sheriff & the representatives answering questions? If so, did they cover how they will respond & protect you against federal overreach?
    Both the Sheriff and your Representatives are elected to serve you. They are not elected to serve the government. How are they prepared to protect and defend your right to do your thing?
    Who draws the line between good practices and harmful practices? Are these lines subject to change at whim? Is it your responsibility to read the lines every hour, in case they changed?

    A man in Idaho, Joe Robertson, is in prison for building firefighter ponds with state and county permits. He is accused of committing a felony for failing to also obtain federal civil engineering permits. His ponds are over 150 miles away from any main river or lake, but the EPA considers all rain water ruts as tributaries.

    A man in the Redding area faces a 2.8 million dollar fine for tilling his own land like he’s always done. His land was not a wetland area until after the government declared it as one.

    Those are just two of the curious cases happening.

    Are your servants serving you or are they serving the government?

  • crusty bizcett and step into the light took the words right out of my mouth .

  • Not bending over

    “Step into the light ” & cove-ite ——your comment so right ! The supervisors appear to have gone $ & power MAD !!! The long time mom & pop growers are getting rooted out in favor of the BIG commercial rich dudes .I have been here 37 years and am so disgusted with eureka always making the rules up ! Also looks like our supe sureley has sided with the scum bag money grubbing pigs !
    Didn’t she used to represent so hum ? I guess being on the money train has corrupted her brain !
    As the big growers get bigger , sanctioned by the supes , the county rapes & and plunders not only our beautiful land but our very existence !

  • Not bending over you are awesome .like minded.

  • Trillium Hummingbird

    Jesus, get a job. Even if you get a permit, your product will be nearly worthless. There will soon be so much commercially produced bud, grown by sober businesspersons, that you “potting soil” growers will be hard pressed to survive, so far from your market. “Diesel growers”, you are just screwed. Diesel. Jeeze.

    When I can buy an ounce of bud at Safeway for $10.00, things will be about right.

    Stop raping and pillaging, stop robbing each other, sell your dope dozer, move back to, wherever the fuck you came from, and get a job.

    It. Is. Over.

  • All of this just in time for the Salinas harvest! HAHAHAHAHA!! Enjoy this year while you can!!!!!!

  • CartOnTopOfHorse

    Salinas has about 5mil sqft currently, let’s just say humboldt has 8000 grows by 10k sqft. Do the math.. trolls are delusional.

  • Will the mafia please stand up

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