Lawsuit challenges Yolo Cannabis Land Use Ordinance

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The Yolo County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted the Cannabis Land Use Ordinance (CLUO) at their Sept. 14 meeting after months of holding public meetings, engaging shareholders and making revisions to accommodate differing concerns.

Ultimately, the Board of Supervisors agreed that although not perfect, they did the best they could to balance the issues with the interests of the community. Chief Assistant Director of Community Services Leslie Lindbo said at the Sept. 14 meeting that the result, “is a really great cannabis land use ordinance.”

Apparently, not everyone agrees.

The CLUO ordinance went into effect on Oct. 14, 30 days after approval and the same day the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, Sierra Club, Yolo County Farm Bureau and the citizen’s group Voices for Responsible Leadership joined in a lawsuit against the County of Yolo, the Yolo Board of Supervisors and Yolo County Community Services.

The petition alleges that the final version of the CLUO was not subject to public reviews, that there are conflicts with the Williamson Act and that it dismisses common-sense options for sensible cannabis land use regulation. The suit further alleges the process was flawed and the CLUO fails to mitigate environmental impacts while ignoring reasonable alternatives in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

“Not only does cannabis cultivation pose adverse impacts for residential rural communities, but its production is also fundamentally incompatible with traditional agriculture in Yolo County, and the County needs to account for that reality through appropriate mitigation,” said the Yocha Dehe Nation in a press release.

Compounding the alleged flaws, the suit claims the CLUO was approved before the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was certified and that cannabis and traditional crops are not compatible.

The suit seeks to have the board’s approval of the CLUO invalidated and require it to comply with applicable law before taking steps to implement it.

The lawsuit doesn’t seek to halt cannabis cultivation and allied businesses in Yolo County, but addresses concerns with over-concentration around sensitive and cultural heritage sites, as well as in smaller communities like those in Capay Valley.

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