Pubdate: Mon, 06 Jul 2009
Source: Red Bluff Daily News (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Red Bluff Daily News
Author: Richard Mazzucchi
Note: Richard Mazzucchi is a retired research engineer specializing 
in energy efficiency and renewable energy. He has travelled 
extensively and now makes his home in Los Molinos, where he is 
striving to manifest a sustainable and spiritual lifestyle.
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Regulation)


The Tehama County supervisors are considering an ordinance that 
tightens local medicinal marijuana restrictions. Medical marijuana 
has been legal in California since 1996, and allows the possession of 
12 immature marijuana plants, six mature plants or half-a-pound of 
dried, processed marijuana if the person in question has a doctor's 

Counties are not allowed to pass guidelines that lower these amounts, 
but can raise the limit or pass other ordinances related to the 
cultivation of marijuana. The ordinance crafted by Tehama County 
Supervisor Bob Williams is based on a similar ordinance in Mendocino County.

It would limit licensed medical marijuana users to 25 plants while 
requiring marijuana gardens to be surrounded by six-foot fences and 
located no less than 1,000 feet from schools or day care centers, 
school bus stops and other places where minors gather. It would also 
require marijuana harvesters to register with the county Public 
Health Department.

Apparently a growing number of locals are afraid of a rash of 
incidents like the January shooting of Clarence Puckett, who, along 
with his wife, had been growing marijuana in a Los Molinos residence. 
In this isolated case several suspects, including a 17-year-old boy, 
allegedly broke in and demanded money and marijuana before killing 
Puckett and stealing several pounds of marijuana.

The hypothesis of the ordinance is that by requiring increased 
security and moving the facilities away from children, medical 
marijuana theft will be less likely. In addition to the potential for 
theft, Williams' ordinance mentions the higher amounts of electricity 
associated with indoor growth and the potential for improper 
pesticide disposal as reasons for keeping a list of medical marijuana gardens.

I'm not sure what the supervisors may be smoking, but it certainly 
isn't medicinal marijuana. These restrictions, if imposed, would 
deprive many patients of a safe and private source of their 
medication. Requiring registration and elaborate security measures 
will only serve to highlight where marijuana is grown and contribute 
to illegal attempts to steal it.

Making it illegal to grow within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop 
basically makes it illegal to grow in nearly all urban environments, 
and most rural ones. Higher electrical use by indoor growers should 
be of no concern to the public so long as the power is paid for and 
used safely.

In addition, pesticide disposal problems are minor for small time 
growers, particularly in relation to their widespread agricultural 
use in Tehama County.

It would appear that the supporters of this ordinance are making an 
ill-fated attempt to deny medicinal marijuana patients access to 
their medication. Similar actions have been successfully challenged 
in court because of their unnecessary restrictions.

Rather than further regulate marijuana cultivation, it is more 
productive to legalize adult marijuana use in order to address public 
safety concerns. As an added benefit the state budget crisis would be 
eased by taxing legal recreational use. Police, court and 
incarceration costs would be significantly reduced, and a renewed 
respect for reasonable drug policies would manifest.
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