Pubdate: Mon, 28 Jan 2013
Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2013 Record Searchlight
Author: Alayna Shulman


Shasta County supervisors have yet to decide who will make up a
medical marijuana advisory committee they voted to form earlier this
month, how many members it will have or any other specifics.

But the supervisors and community members agree the eventual group
needs a balanced roster with a tight budget.

"I just think both sides need to be represented on the committee,
whether you're pro-medical marijuana or you're against medical
marijuana," said Betty Cunningham, executive director of anti-drug
group Shasta County Chemical People.

The county's first growth ordinance was adopted in 2011 and limited
indoor grows to detached, nonresidential structures while capping
outdoor grows to between 60 and 360 square feet based on parcel size.

But county department heads recommended earlier this month that the
board consider banning outdoor gardens altogether because of
complaints about their smell and potential to attract thieves.

Supervisors decided to form the committee rather than immediately make
a change to the ordinance, which people on the other side of the
debate have also frequently criticized for being too rigid.

County Executive Officer Larry Lees said the board will discuss how
they want the group to work at the Feb. 5 meeting.

"Because this is not a committee that is in place and there has been
no previous process, we need to, you know, get direction from the
board as it relates to how they want to go forward with this," Lees

Community members who want to ease up on growing restrictions also
said they're in favor of a group with equal representation.

"I told them I would be interested in serving...That's (a group)
actually something I've been pushing for since they started discussing
that," said Rodney Jones, a medical marijuana advocate who says the
county's current growth ordinance is too strict. "They need an equal
number of people for it and people against it; they need growers, they
need collective owners, they need patients and they need the people
that are against it."

Supervisors David Kehoe and Pam Giacomini also mentioned the need for
a balance from both sides of the issue, but both of them had another
criteria too.

"I'm very concerned about how much it'll cost, and so...let's try to
make sure the folks that come together come together quickly on some
concepts to go forward on an ordinance that will work," Giacomini
said. Kehoe had similar concerns, and that's why he said he wants the
group to meet over a short period of time to quickly resolve the issue.

"I'm not supportive of an approach that would just have endless
meetings...and the same point made over and over and over and over,"
he said. "Personally, I am interested in a deliberative process rather
than an extended filibuster by any one group or another."

But Lees said he won't know how much it'll cost to manage the
committee until supervisors decide how big it should be and how often
it will meet, and he isn't recommending a spending limit at this point.

"That has yet to be determined," he said.

Besides the finances and makeup of the group, supervisors and
community members already have other ideas for the committee.

Kehoe said he wants it to be open to the public under the Brown Act,
the state's open meeting law. He also said he sees the group being
made up of community members alone instead of local officials - such
as law enforcement - in some spots.

"I have a high level of confidence in the residents of our community,"
he said. "From my perspective, I see no need to make this an elitist
type thing."

Cunningham, however, said she likes the idea of having a
representative from Shasta County Public Health on the group to
address those concerns.

The group also needs to have members who are knowledgeable about
medical marijuana and the county's ordinance for it to be effective,
Cunningham said.

"I think it's important that whoever they get knows the issues, knows
what ordinances are in effect now, knows what the impact of medical
marijuana is on the community," she said. "I think that if the
committee is assembled is very possible that they can
come out with a solution that works for everyone. Not everybody will
be happy, but not everybody will be unhappy. This is the kind of issue
that won't have a one-size-fits-all."

Though she said equality is crucial, Giacomini also said if the board
decides the group will use a voting system, it's important to have an
odd number of members so they don't deadlock.

Kehoe and Giacomini said they haven't decided who they'll recommend
for spots in the group, but Giacomini said people have been calling
her asking to join, so anyone else who wants to should contact her.



What: Shasta County Board of Supervisors meeting When: 9 a.m. Feb. 5
Where: 1450 Court St., Suite 263 in Redding Agenda includes:
Discussion of the formation of a medical marijuana advisory committee
in Shasta County
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