Pubdate: Thu, 22 Dec 2011
Source: Orland Press-Register (Willows, CA)
Copyright: 2011 Freedom Communications
Author: Rick Longley, Tri-County Newspapers 


Glenn County planning commissioners are in no hurry to approve a
medical marijuana ordinance for the unincorporated areas of the county.

They opted to wait on the issue Wednesday to get more information on
how Sheriff Larry Jones feels about the proposal.

Planning Director John Linhart said the proposed ordinance would
regulate the cultivation and other issues surrounding medical marijuana.

The code would restrict the growing area to a maximum of 100 square
feet per parcel, and keep the plants out of neighbors' views.

Secure fencing is required and the plants must be at least 20 feet
from any residence located on a separate parcel, Linhart said.

The ordinance also would prohibit growing the plant within 1,000 feet
of schools, parks, churches and treatment facilities on larger
parcels, and not within 300 feet of such facilities on smaller lots of
1 acre or less.

Linhart said the ordinance does not address marijuana dispensaries,
collectives or cooperatives since he does not feel it is appropriate
for the county to get into that legal argument.

Federal agencies are now coming after such entities more than in the
recent past, he said.

He added if a medical marijuana grower exceeded the zoning
regulations, his department would ask the sheriff to enforce the code.

The proposed ordinance also does not allow the sale of marijuana or
growing it for people other than the card holder, Linhart said.

"Do they need to get a permit?" Commissioner Keith Corum

Linhart said no, but they need to have the card showing the plant is
recommended by a medical professional.

Corum also wanted to know what regulations the cities of Orland and
Willows have concerning medical marijuana plants.

"I don't know what ordinances they have," Linhart said.

Orland does not have regulations regarding personal use grows at this
time, according to Jessica LeDay with the Orland Police Department.

She said the department does get complaints from citizens about the
smell of marijuana, but there are no guidelines for growing setbacks
and so on right now.

Orland does, however, have a ban on dispensaries, cooperatives and
collectives within the city, LeDay said.

Willows currently does not have a dispensary or collective ban on its
books, according to City Manager Steve Holsinger.

"We still believe because marijuana is prohibited by federal law the
city has the jurisdictional right to prohibit these facilities within
city boundaries," Holsinger said.

Holsinger added in his opinion, county Public Health units would be
the ideal places to dispense marijuana with state funding.

Willows police Chief Bill Spears said as far as personal grows go, his
department follows the guidelines set by the state Attorney General's
Office, but has no other ordinance in effect.

The county regulations would be enforced by complaints, and if
somebody flagrantly violates them, it might become a sheriff's case.

Commissioner Brian Leach wondered about marijuana plant odors since
the plants are considered pungent.

"We are trying to keep it small and have setbacks," Linhart said,
"without mandating this be done inside."

However, the plant becomes an agricultural product when grown
outdoors, so the county is trying to mitigate problems for neighbors ,
he said.

The director also said he does not know how many plants or pounds of
marijuana can be grown within 100 square feet, but that square footage
seemed a reasonable space.

Leach also wondered what the county would do if a medical marijuana
user said he has a right to do it and "you can't stop me."

Linhart said if it becomes a nuisance, the user could no longer do

"There are some plants with little to no odor," Corum said, and some
that grow only 3 feet tall - based on conversations he has had with
people knowledgeable about the issue.

So some medical marijuana users may need to change the variety of
plant to comply with the ordinance, he said.

The matter likely will come back to the commission in January for
further discussion. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.