Pubdate: Mon, 07 Apr 2008
Source: Daily Triplicate, The (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Western Communications, Inc.
Author: Nicholas Grube
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Pot growers in Del Norte County might take a hit Tuesday.

The Board of Supervisors will revisit a local medical marijuana
ordinance and consider drastically lowering the amount of pot that can
legally be grown or possessed.

Current medical marijuana laws in the county allow a person to have up
to 99 plants in a 100-square-foot cultivation area and possess up to a
pound of processed pot. A new ordinance would lower these numbers to
six plants and four ounces.

"Del Norte County is just out of this world high," District Five
Supervisor David Finigan said about the current ordinance. "It's time
to weigh in and correct it."

The Community Action and Prevention Alliance (formerly the Alcohol,
Tobacco and Other Drug Prevention Coalition) began looking at Del
Norte County's medical marijuana ordinance in November. Last week the
group proposed changing the ordinance.

"The glaring issue was that there's excess marijuana on the streets
and we felt this was the primary source of this marijuana," said Randy
Bancroft, who is the lead spokesperson for the alliance and also the
county's prevention coordinator. "We looked at what other counties are
doing and wanted to be standing with the majority of counties."

Statewide, Del Norte ranks among the most liberal counties when it
comes to growing medical marijuana, with most counties opting for a
maximum of six mature plants or 12 immature plants. Humboldt County
has no limit on the number of plants cultivated so long as the canopy
doesn't exceed 100 square feet.

Likewise, the amount of processed marijuana a Del Norte patient or
caregiver can possess-1 pound-is high compared to the rest of the
state. Most counties only allow 8 ounces. Humboldt County allows 3

Detective Sgt. Steve Morris heads the Del Norte County Sheriff's
Office felony investigations unit that makes periodic compliance
checks on people who grow medical marijuana. Because of Del Norte's
favorable conditions for medical marijuana, he said he has noticed an
influx of prospective pot growers to the area.

"We have made contact with several people who are in compliance with
the law and they have moved here from outside of the area," Morris
said. "They state that they have come here because the county they
came from or the state they came from is much more restrictive than
Del Norte County."

A majority of the people the sheriff's office checks up on are in
compliance, Morris said, but he also understands the temptation the
county's guidelines provide.

"The 99 plants just makes it too inviting to make money from," he
said, "especially if you don't have a job or if your job is
low-paying-it's just too inviting."

For Bancroft, Del Norte County's medical marijuana ordinance is simply
too much.

"We don't want to be known as the best place to grow marijuana in
California," Bancroft said. "We would like to be known for our
beaches, our parks, our friendly population, our safe streets and not
as a drug community."
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