Pubdate: Wed, 11 Jan 2012
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2012 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Jonathan Edwards


Medical marijuana patients agreed Tuesday to curb how many plants 
they grow and to keep them away from neighbors if it means striking a 
compromise with opponents demanding a ban.

"I do not want to have to drive 100 miles round trip and pay inflated 
prices to get what I need to have," said Steve Menefee, 59, of Yuba City.

About 70 people showed up Tuesday night for the first of two 
workshops centered around growing medical marijuana. Residents who 
support a ban or a highly restrictive ordinance are set to meet 
Thursday at City Hall.

More patients have started growing marijuana in the last few years. 
Patients hail cultivation as a way to affordable medicine that eases 
their pain, stifles their nausea and allows them to live normal 
lives. Most opponents say that is fine, but complain that drug 
dealers are gaming the system to grow weed in bulk. That endangers 
nearby residents as thieves try to pilfer the cash crop and stinks up 

"Lots of plants smell. Lots of things smell. Maybe your neighbor has 
a compost pile or a dog that poops too much," said Robert Walsh of 
Yuba City. "We can complain all day long. Everybody's got something 
that bothers them."

Most patients were in more of a mood to compromise.

"I do believe there is a happy medium," said Beau Green, who grows 
for his ailing father and two others. However, he doesn't think the 
best compromise was what City Manager Steve Jepsen was pushing 
Tuesday night. Jepsen said he thought a ban supporters might go for 
limiting patients to six plants on 50 square feet in their backyards, 
so long as growers keep plants 10 feet away from their neighbors' property.

"Six plants wouldn't be enough," Green said.

However, he was willing to join many of the growers at Tuesday's 
meeting who were willing to compromise by limiting how many plants he 
did grow. Many growers said they could work with an 18-plant limit on 
100 square feet and could keep their plants 10-feet away from their 
neighbors' yards.

Medical marijuana activist Eric Salerno, who threatened to make the 
city pay if it went through with a ban, said the 18-plant limit was 
"a good place to start."

Jepsen still has to bring the proposal to the ban supporters at 
Thursday's meeting, and he is not so sure the two sides can reach a 
compromise. Another proposal allowing a patient to grow 20 plants in 
a normal-sized back yard would be a nonstarter for ban supporters, Jepsen said.

"It will not fly," he said.

Kathie Thelen, 52, of Yuba City, encouraged Jepsen and the City 
Council to "create a compromise for all your citizens, not just a 
select group."

"There are going to be people who are never going to agree with you 
on both sides," she told Jepsen. "That's life."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom