Pubdate: Wed, 13 Mar 2013
Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2013 Record Searchlight
Author: Alayna Shulman


Shasta County supervisors Tuesday added a $75,000 code enforcement 
job to the county's roster to help deal with medical marijuana violations.

The vote comes about a month after supervisors discussed the 
suggestion from County Executive Officer Larry Lees at a meeting 
where they rejected the idea of forming a pot committee to help 
tackle the growing needs and concerns from county residents.

Resource Management Director Rick Simon said recruitment for the 
position will start this week, and he hopes the job will be filled by June.

The $75,000 allocated for the job includes benefits, Simon said.

The new position will be dedicated to enforcing the county's medical 
marijuana ordinance alone, while another code enforcement officer 
will handle complaints on nuisances and other violations. The pot 
issue has repeatedly come up at supervisors meetings, with Sheriff 
Tom Bosenko at times citing the thousands of illegal plants seized in 
the last year alone.

But Supervisor Bill Schappell said it's not a cure-all solution to 
the county's ongoing issue of balancing growers' rights while 
limiting criminal activity.

"I think we have a long way to go...the 215 card gives them carte 
blanche," he said, referencing California's medical marijuana law. 
"There's absolutely no control. Will that one person help all of this? No."

But Schappell said the officer may at least make a significant dent 
in illegal grow activity.

"I'm hoping it (adding the position) will help," he said.

Schappell said the real answer may be amending the county's growth 
ordinance to be more conservative.

The county's current growth ordinance has attracted criticism from 
both sides of the medical pot debate, with some saying it's too 
restrictive and others saying it puts neighbors at risk for robberies 
or other nuisances.

Among other things, that ordinance limited indoor grows to detached, 
nonresidential structures and put caps on outdoor grows. Depending on 
the size of the parcel, those were held to maximums of between 60 
square feet and 360 square feet.

"We've got to start tightening some things up so that we don't have 
99 plants growing on three or four different parcels," Schappell said.

Lees said after Tuesday's meeting the newly created position doesn't 
have a sunset date, but like all county jobs, it could be removed if 
its determined its no longer needed. On the other hand, he said, 
supervisors could decide the county needs another code enforcement 
officer dedicated solely to the medical marijuana program.

"We could find the need will be greater," he said.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom