Pubdate: Thu, 22 Dec 2011 Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA) Copyright: 2011 Appeal-Democrat Contact: http://www.appeal-democrat.com/sections/services/forms/editorletter.php Website: http://www.appeal-democrat.com Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1343 Author: Jonathan Edwards, Appeal-Democrat LIVE OAK FINALIZES BAN ON GROWING MARIJUANA Patients, partyers and profiteers have a month to chop down their marijuana if they want to stay on the right side of the law in Live Oak. The City Council on Wednesday night finalized a ban on growing marijuana for medical use, which will now take effect Jan. 20. Council members first approved the ban at their Dec. 7 meeting, saying marijuana grows stunk up neighborhoods and threatened people's safety as criminals tried to steal plants and growers tried to protect them, sometimes with razor wire and guard dogs. "They're taking our medicines away," said James Maral, a Live Oak resident who recently started the Live Oak Patients Association. "We need to stand up for our rights." He was not alone. About 45 people attended the meeting, and most of them pushed council members to reverse their earlier decision. Opponents included Oakland-based lawyer John Fuery, who said the ban violated Prop. 215, the 1996 voter proposition shielding patients who use marijuana as medicine from prosecution. "The people have spoken," he told the council. "It is the law." The City Council was not swayed, although its members hesitated. Mayor Gary Baland called for a motion and was met with silence. He asked for one again and said he would have to table the issue if no one did so. Council member Rob Klotz motioned for the ban and Diane Hodges seconded it. The vote for the ban was unanimous. Before the vote, Maral pleaded with council members to restrict growing medical marijuana, but stop short of banning it all together. Large commercial grows cultivating marijuana for a profit are a problem, he said, and should be regulated. But don't outlaw patients who are trying to manage pain and live normal lives. Restricting marijuana grows without banning them outright doesn't help," said City Manager Jim Goodwin. A lot of small grows cropped up in the last year, and together they still stink and lure ne'er-do-wells to hop fences and break into houses. The City Council, however, didn't give opponents a chance to make their case, Maral said. Baland limited public comment for each speaker to one minute. "That's not hearing the people out," Maral said. The City Council considered arguments from both sides, Baland said. The city held three workshops to gather input and ideas; the city's Planning Commission recommended restrictions but not a ban at its Nov. 17 meeting; and the council made a decision on Dec. 7. Wednesday night, however, was not a public hearing. "We've already heard everything," Baland said during a recess before taking up the ban. The ban will force the sick to buy marijuana they once grew from drug dealers and gang members, Maral said. "That's what we're left with," he told the council. "That's what you're forcing us to do." Baland said he wasn't deaf to the need for marijuana as medicine, but the "excessive greediness" of growers who cultivated for profit had ruined it for legitimate users. "It breaks my heart to see people who is in legitimate need." Growers filed out of council chambers after the council voted to stand on the sidewalk and parking lot outside to talk about what they would do next. Danielle Ferguson, Maral's roommate, handed out fliers for the association and collected contact information. She vowed to go door-to-door and marshal a recall of City Council members. "It's not done, Maral said. "It's far from over." - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.