Pubdate: Wed, 09 Jun 2010
Source: Colusa County Sun-Herald (CA)
Copyright: 2010 Freedom Communications
Author: Julie Johnson


If there is power in numbers, area pot growers have filed a powerful 
lawsuit against Tehama County.

The lawsuit was filed recently by local medical marijuana patients 
against Tehama County's marijuana cultivation ordinance, which 
regulates where and how much marijuana a patient or caregiver can 
grow in the county.

The plaintiffs claim that the ordinance makes it impossible for them 
to legally exercise their Proposition 215 right to cultivate medical 
marijuana for themselves, according to a statement released by the 
law firm of E.D. Lerman and J. David Nick, which filed the suit in 
Tehama County Superior Court.

The exact number of plaintiffs was not known immediately. However, 
hundreds of people signed up to be part of the lawsuit at a 
informational meeting held by the law firm in April.

Financially supported by California NORML, a pro-medical marijuana 
group dedicated to reforming California's marijuana laws, the lawsuit 
asks to strike down the county ordinance.

At the April meeting, Lerman told the group to expect a "long haul," 
and she anticipates that whichever way the lawsuit is settled - for 
the plaintiffs or for the county - it will be appealed and could 
possibly go as far as the Supreme Court.

The attorney also told the group to start raising money to cover some 
of the cost the lawsuit will incur.

"They can't take everyone's rights away," Lerman said. "California 
law states (medicinal marijuana) patients can have whatever they need 
for themselves and for collectives."

Tehama County Supervisor Bob Williams, who introduced the ordinance, 
said he had anticipated something like this taking place.

"They threatened this all along, through the whole process. I stand 
by the ordinance and what it means to the county. Other than that, 
because of the litigation, I can't say much," Williams said.

"I am all about this. They aren't taking my rights away," medical 
marijuana patient Kenny Kunselman of Rancho Tehama, said.

According to Kathy Prather, co-owner/operator of Tehama Herbal 
Collective, a medical marijuana shop in Corning, there are more than 
3,600 people in the county who hold recommendations for medicinal marijuana.

The Tehama ordinance declares it a public nuisance to grow marijuana 
anywhere within 1,000 feet of a school, school bus stop, church, 
park, or youth-oriented facility.

It also states no more than 12 mature or 24 immature marijuana plants 
can be grown in an area 20 acres or less, and if both mature and 
immature plants are growing there shall be no more than 24 total; in 
an area greater than 20 but less than 160 acres no more than 30 
mature and 60 immature plants, with no more than 60 total at one 
time; and in an area 160 acres or greater no more than 99 plants, 
whether mature or immature.

The ordinance requires outdoor gardens be surrounded by an opaque 
fence at least six feet high and located 100 feet or more from the 
property boundaries; and requires every patient garden to be 
registered with the county health services agency.

In another lawsuit filed by Lerman and Nick, Mendocino County medical 
marijuana patients are challenging an ordinance that limits patient 
cultivation to 25 plants per parcel, regardless of the number of 
patients. The ordinance was recently amended to let collectives apply 
for licenses for larger gardens of up to 99 plants under certain conditions.
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart