Pubdate: Wed, 25 Jul 2012
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2012 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Ben van der Meer


The Sutter County Board of Supervisors moved one step closer to its 
own medical marijuana ordinance on Tuesday, with nary a contrary view 
aired by a meeting attendee.

Still, two supervisors voted against the ordinance on its first 
reading, with Supervisor James Gallagher saying he had too many 
concerns about unintended consequences, including how it could be 
seen as the county giving tacit approval to marijuana growing.

"I still feel we're not saying it, but we're allowing it to happen," 
he said. He was joined in the vote against the ordinance by 
Supervisor Larry Montna, who'd expressed similar views at an earlier meeting.

What was approved Tuesday was a revised version of the ordinance, 
with changes to make the limit 12 mature plants for parcels of any 
size and a requirement for growing on less than 20 acres to be either 
indoors or in a ventilated greenhouse.

Because of those amendments, Tuesday's action was a first reading, 
meaning supervisors will have to hear and approve the ordinance again 
before it goes into effect.

The ordinance retains other aspects from its original form, such as 
allowing appeals to grow more plants, and an outright ban on growing 
near places where children gather, such as schools and parks.

Unlike past meetings in both counties, no one spoke to oppose the 
ordinance, though Jim Burris, a Yuba City resident and medical 
marijuana user, did bring a model of a greenhouse for growing 
acceptable under Yuba City's similar ordinance.

"This here is a mid-sized unit, and it'll handle 12 plants for the 
patient," Burris said, showing how a cover on the greenhouse would 
allow sunlight in but keep prying eyes out.

In a humorous tone, he later added, "You could even put your kids in 
there and lock 'em up if you can't find a babysitter."

On a separate 5-0 vote, supervisors approved administrative penalties 
for failure to comply with the ordinance. Those penalties include 
notices of an issue, outside abatement, and being charged for those 
abatement costs.

Supervisors on both sides of the vote said they recognized the 
medical marijuana issue is far from resolved as a conflict between 
state and federal law.

But for now, Supervisor Stan Cleveland said, the ordinance addresses 
what the county can control.

"Really, this has been a long and not enjoyable process, but we try 
to do the best we can," he said.

The board did not specify when the ordinance will come up for a second reading.

Interim County Administrative Officer Shawne Corley said a related 
issue, creating a card program for medical marijuana patients, is 
also going to come before the board soon.


WHAT HAPPENED: On a pair of votes, the Sutter County Board of 
Supervisors Tuesday approved a medical marijuana nuisance ordinance 
and administrative penalties for defying the ordinance.

WHAT'S NEXT: Tuesday's action was a first reading, with the second 
reading as yet unscheduled. If approved then, the ordinance would go 
into effect a short time later.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom