Pubdate: Sat, 11 Oct 2014
Source: Union, The (Grass Valley, CA)
Copyright: 2014 The Union
Author: Jim Ciaffoni
Note: Jim Ciaffoni is a semi-retired public utilities manager. He 
lives in Nevada City.


Measure S: the sensible solution? Solution to what? Certainly not the 
problems faced by those whose complaints led to the existing county 
ordinance in the first place, the ordinance which Measure S proposes 
to replace.

Setting aside for the moment the widely-held perspective that the 
local "medical" marijuana front is mostly a smoke-screen for huge 
profiteering in the recreational black market, proposed Measure S has 
removed any real protection afforded to neighbors related to odor, 
increased traffic, and crimes involving roaming "patch pirates" and 
deals gone wrong.

Where these concerns are vaguely addressed, the treatment is 
ineffective. The measure includes language such as "precautions shall 
be taken to mitigate" (lessen), and "is encouraged." This kind of 
weasel wording never works. Elsewhere, numerous terms go undefined, 
adding to the ambiguous form of the measure.

Another serious problem was the unauthorized use of a landlord's 
property for growing marijuana, subjecting the landlord to extra risk 
for legal action by association, or property forfeiture. Other 
concerns were additional water use, plumbing or electrical 
alterations, etc., all done in secret and without any consideration 
of the fact that the owner of a property should always be in a 
position to authorize the specific use of his property and receive 
compensation for it.

Measure S would prohibit outside growing on residential parcels of 
less than two acres, but would double the amount allowed indoors 
under the current ordinance. Just what a landlord would want larger 
amounts of vegetation growing inside his house, that he doesn't even 
know about?

The original draft of the existing ordinance included some common 
sense protections requiring a grower to provide a notarized, 
permission letter from the landlord to the Sheriff. However as a 
concession to the promoters of Measure S, the notary and delivery to 
the Sheriff requirements were dropped, leaving it to the grower to 
produce a letter from the landlord if he ever got busted. Other 
concessions were allowing someone to grow "medical" marijuana for 
multiple others, without requiring the multiple others to reside on 
the property, and allowing grows inside actual residences, rather 
than in a detached structure. So, it's not like the advocates of 
Measure S have not already been granted great concessions in the 
current ordinance.

Why is this such a big issue?

Well consider this: By very conservative estimates of marijuana plant 
yields, space requirements, and values, offered by both law 
enforcement and the marijuana industry alike, under Measure S the 
following amounts of cash could be generated on the following parcel 
sizes every year: Less than 2 acres - $45,000; 2-5 acres - $90,000; 
5-10 acres - $140,000; 10-20 acres - $165,000; 20-30 acres -$225,000; 
greater than 30 acres  $270,000. Seriously! In fact, the current 
ordinance allows amounts that are in the range of 40-75 percent of 
these figures for parcels less than 5 acres, and about 50-100 percent 
for larger parcels.

So, we already have a huge problem here created by the profit motive. 
Why would we want to make it worse by replacing a fairly well thought 
out ordinance with a less enforceable one that would be ripe for abuse?

By allowing more plants on practically every parcel regardless of 
zoning, and even allowing grows on unimproved parcels, the measure 
guarantees a greater future incentive for crime and a continuance of 
this silly charade. Can you imagine living next to an unimproved 
parcel, void of any security provided by the existence of a dwelling, 
with this much potential cash flow hanging in the balance?

Some local political aspirants have acquired a bad habit of pitting 
the interests of common county residents, especially in the outlying 
rural areas, against those of select, town-based business interests 
such as dining, libations, and entertainment, under the theory that 
the spin-off economic activity - even if it is black market criminal 
activity - warrants the degradation of the quality of life outside 
the city limits. These misguided, opportunistic people would be well 
advised to envision a basis of our local economy that does not depend 
on dope running.

Legitimate medical marijuana patients need to be able to receive 
their medication from a regulated source that cannot easily divert 
its product to the much larger and more lucrative illegal, 
recreational market. Any true "solution" would have this feature as a 
minimum. Measure S does not have this; in fact, it offers the opposite.

Please join me on Nov. 4 in voting "No" on Measure S.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom