Legal Cannabis Cultivation in Nevada County

In 2018, Nevada County produced a draft Commercial Cannabis Ordinance (NCCO) to initiate the state-mandated process to legalize personal and commercial cannabis cultivation for this community. The draft NCCO underwent environmental review, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). This process gave SYRCL and our community an opportunity to expand the Growing Green program and advocate for the Yuba River watershed. SYRCL initially submitted scoping comments to the County in September 2018. You can find a copy of those comments here.

On January 11, 2019, Nevada County published the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the NCCO, with a 45-day public review and comment period. On February 25, SYRCL submitted a 15-page comment letter on the DEIR, asking Nevada County to realistically evaluate environmental impacts from commercial cannabis cultivation for the Yuba River watershed. For more information, read our press release and check out our comments below.

On April 1, 2019, Nevada County published the Final Environmental Impact Report (Volume I and Volume II) and the updated NCCO. SYRCL was disappointed with the response to the comments as well as the lack of analysis and mitigation measures in the FEIR. Despite SYRCL’s concerns, the Nevada County Planning Commission voted on April 11, 2019 to certify the FEIR and recommended the NCCO to the Board of Supervisors for approval. The Board of Supervisors held a special meeting May 7, 2019 to discuss the FEIR and NCCO, and voted to approve the NCCO and legalize commercial cannabis cultivation at the May 14, 2019 Board Meeting.

In 2020, SYRCL continues to collaborate with Nevada County staff, as well as state resource agencies, to promote watershed-friendly cannabis cultivation in Nevada County. While still concerned about the NCCO and the FEIR (Volume I and Volume II), SYRCL is cautiously optimistic that Nevada County and state regulatory agencies such as the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Board (CVRWQB) will continue to work with SYRCL and our community to ensuring safe, legal cannabis cultivation for the Yuba River watershed.

SYRCL’s vision for Growing Green for the Yuba is to help the community understand how regulation can be a tool that allows agriculture to align with objectives that maintain water quality, and promote habitat for fish and wildlife. In partnership with important community cannabis stakeholders, we’re hosting educational and on-farm workshops, promoting Best Management Practices and participating in additional collaborative leadership, science, stewardship and education. As a community we can educate each other to ensure cannabis is grown in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way.