Pubdate: Thu, 12 Mar 2015
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2015 Appeal-Democrat


We can't imagine a prominent public issue that's all at once more 
emotional, more all-or-none, and more weird than marijuana 
cultivation. There are dozens of conflicts - including what's right 
and wrong, as well as legal and not legal.

It seems impossible for people involved in debates on related issues 
to not delve into the mode of goading the other side.

For instance, winner of this week's hyperbole contest was a website 
comment from a reader who wrote: "This is an act of political 
arrogance worthy of the worst days of Stalin." Of course it's hard to 
tell, with online comments, when a commenter is smiling to himself 
and when he's being as serious as can be.

Either way, the comment sort of sums up the tenor of discussions 
about the cultivation of medical marijuana in Yuba County.

Yuba County supervisors Tuesday voted 4-1 to pass a tougher medical 
marijuana cultivation ordinance. Not only that, but they attached an 
urgency clause so the new law becomes effective immediately.

Opponents were upset by that addition, just before the final vote, of 
the urgency clause. Many of them had been organizing to counteract 
the ordinance, which everyone had expected to be passed, with the 
gathering of signatures to force a referendum. They would have had 30 
days to get signatures. Many believe the clause was added in the last 
moments simply to spoil their chances.

In fact, the one supervisor to vote against the measure, Mary Jane 
Griego, did so, she said, because she felt it was unfair to preclude 
the opposition from having the opportunity to gather signatures.

In the more logical portion of that online commenter's comment, he 
said: "What a cheap shot! How small, petty and bent are the 
supervisors of Yuba County.... Citizens had announced their intent to 
circulate a petition for a referendum, why not let them at least try? 
This has been one of the most divisive matters to come before the 
board in years, and yet, throughout the entire farce the board has 
ignored the many citizens who bothered to show up and express themselves."

That's the feeling of the opponents, in general, who believe a 
majority of citizens actually are on their side. There was even the 
issue of the dueling petitions - a couple hundred signatures from a 
group wanting tougher ordinances versus a couple thousand from those 
in favor of liberal pot growing rules.

Still, there's an overriding assumption that the greater portion of 
the voting constituency agrees with supervisors and the tougher 
ordinance, which will, immediately, outlaw outdoor growing operations.

So why the urgency clause?

Some assign that decision to issues echoed in a letter the board 
received from Gay Todd, Marysville Joint Unified School District 
superintendent. It said that students are fearful of unattended guard 
dogs at grow locations near bus stops and that the increased traffic 
around schools makes for a more dangerous environment. But we don't 
know why they wouldn't have done something about mean dogs and 
traffic control problems endangering kids prior to this.

Maybe supervisors are right to just get it out of the way and over 
with. Or maybe opponents do have a valid gripe.

We're just suggesting that we all keep in mind the one constant piece 
of the chatter on this topic: what will happen in 2016. It's widely 
suspected that legalization of recreational use and some sort of 
commercial production or distribution will be decided. It's widely 
believed that such a measure will have a decent chance of passing in 

A law legitimizing production of marijuana might solve the problem, 
since it was believed that Yuba County's rather liberal medicinal 
marijuana cultivation ordinance was somehow encouraging illegal grows.

Or maybe not.

It's not as serious as Joseph Stalin, we're pretty sure. But it's 
pretty evident that it's serious business to a lot of folks, and we'd 
better get ready for another wave (maybe several waves) of 
marijuana-related issues.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom