Pubdate: Fri, 10 Jul 2009
Source: Red Bluff Daily News (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Red Bluff Daily News
Author: Geoff Johnson, Staff Writer


Tehama County's medical marijuana growers and users are working to
stop a proposed county ordinance that would limit marijuana growth to
areas 1,000 feet from schools, bus stops and day care centers and
require what growers say is an unaffordable security system.

Calling themselves the Tehama Health Coalition, about 14 advocates met
Tuesday night at the Feedbag Grill to discuss their strategies as the
Board of Supervisors' July 14 decision nears.

Medical cannabis occupies a legal quagmire. Marijuana grown and used
for medicinal purposes is legal, according to California law, but
illegal under federal law.

The Obama administration ceased the practice of using the DEA to raid
dispensaries considered legal under California law, and San Diego
County tried to sue the state of California while raiding dispensaries
and gardens in its jurisdiction, arguing federal law supersedes state

Its suit has since been rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. Advocates
at the meeting said they see the ordinance, proposed by Supervisor Bob
Williams, as a back door to limit medical marijuana.

Requiring a 6-foot fence, an electronic alarm system and bars on the
windows of any room housing plants are requirements of the ordinance,
which could make it impossible for medical marijuana users on modest
incomes to grow their own.

Under the ordinance, growers would not face any criminal penalties for
growth, but could have their gardens destroyed and be billed for the
costs if found out of compliance.

Jason Browne, a Cannabis Action Network volunteer, said the ordnance
could disrupt the lives of at least as 3,600 Tehama County residents,
based on his research. If we can't have a dispensary, and now they're
going to try to tell us we can't grow enough of our own medicine, what
are those 3,600 patients supposed to do? Are they suggesting we all
drive to the Bay Area and purchase it and drive back?

Restricting access of county residents to something Californians have
the right to is criminal, Browne said. If the board goes through with
its proposed ordinance, Browne has no reservations about mounting a
lawsuit against the county.

Browne cited a California Supreme Court decision that could make it
illegal to post limits on medical marijuana growth, despite assurance
from County Counsel that the ordinance could still be legal by
treating medical marijuana gardens that violate the ordinance as
public nuisances, rather than crime.

Browne suggested instead that the county issue $25 tags for growers of
medical marijuana to distinguish authorized cannabis from illegal
cannabis, thus turning cannabis into a source of revenue for the county.

A similar ordinance has been passed in Mendocino County the same
county that passed the ordinance that served as the basis for
Supervisor Bob Williams' proposal.

Supervisors will meet to discuss the ordinance at 1:30 p.m. July 14 at
727 Oak St. 
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