The Department of Agriculture/ Weights & Measures will issue permits to outdoor cultivators up to 10,000 square feet in certain agricultural zones, but applicants must schedule an appointment. Edibles manufacturers and dispensaries must start with the permit department and then get approvals from the Environmental Health Department. There are five dispensaries in operation in unincorporated Sonoma County. The current ordinance allows for nine. “There is a scramble, certainly people are working to get their ducks in a row,” said Craig Litwin, a cannabis consultant whose firm the 421 Group is Green Rush helping clients navigate the county permitting process. Litwin said his company’s clients are mostly cultivators, of which “a solid handful” have their permits ready to be submitted on Wednesday, and “many others (are) waiting in the wings.” Ricard anticipates about 100 businesses will show up with application packages on Wednesday to the county’s permit office in the county government complex in Santa Rosa. They’ll be greeted by receptionists, given a number and directed to waiting areas. Two staff members will be on hand to prescreen applications, weeding out paperwork with obvious omissions while shepherding prepared applicants to county planners. The planners will meet with applicants for about 45 minutes or an hour for an intake procedure, a first step that gets them into the computer system and establishes a relationship with a planner who will work with the business.
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