Pubdate: Sun, 03 Jun 2012
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2012 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Ben van der Meer


A medical marijuana nuisance ordinance took effect Friday in Yuba 
County, but it may not be in force for long.

The president of the Yuba County Growers Association, and a San Diego 
attorney specializing in such cases, said they expect several legal 
filings in the next week, including an injunction against the 
ordinance that would prevent it from being enforced.

"There's going to be a slew of legal action," said Growers 
Association president Sam McConnell, though he said he didn't know 
the exact timing of the filings.

In addition to filings by the Growers Association, he said, he was 
aware of other growers who planned to file suits on their own in 
consultation with other attorneys.

Jeffrey Lake, an attorney who urged Yuba County supervisors not to 
adopt the ordinance in its current form at a meeting last month, said 
a complaint for injunctive relief would be filed the week of June 8, 
unless the board implements reasonable amendments before then.

When asked why growers were going to court, he said in an email: 
"Because the ordinance as written attempts to pre-empt (Proposition) 
215 by prohibiting safe access to many qualified patients."

The ordnance county supervisors adopted May 1 restricts outdoor 
growing to parcels with homes on them, and with a defined setback to 
keep plants from public view.

Additionally, the number of plants a marijuana patient can grow is 
limited by the size of the parcel, with six plants the maximum 
allowed on parcels of less than an acre. Growing on those parcels 
would be limited to a 10-by-10-foot growing area.

Lake said he's confident the ordinance won't hold up in court, 
because a judge in neighboring Nevada County found fault with a 
similar ordinance on such issues as square footage limitations and 
taking of vested rights.

"Adopting a reasonable ordinance is the best solution," Lake said in 
the email. "Alternatively, the courts will decide what is permitted and where."

County supervisors passed the ordinance in response to more than 200 
complaints to law enforcement from county residents last year, many 
of them over the strong smell of marijuana growing outside.

Though an ad hoc committee of two supervisors met with growers to try 
to write an ordinance everyone could live with, the discussions 
apparently achieved little, though the committee remains in effect.

Supervisors have agreed to continue studying the issue and to review 
the ordinance in six months for possible revisions.

County spokesman Russ Brown said Friday the county does not comment 
on litigation.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom