Pubdate: Thu, 09 Apr 2015
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2015 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Eric Vodden


An appellate court has denied an appeal by Yuba County marijuana 
growers to overturn a judge's ruling that blocks a voter referendum 
on the county's new pot cultivation ordinance.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal on Wednesday "summarily denied" the 
appeal filed by Yuba Patients Coalition and six growers. The 
emergency writ was filed Tuesday morning in response to Yuba County 
Superior Court Judge Benjamin Wirtschafter's denial of a temporary 
restraining order for the new ordinance.

The ruling leaves intact an "urgency" designation made by the Board 
of Supervisors when it approved the new, more restrictive ordinance. 
That eliminated the 30-day period for it to take effect and for 
circulating referendum petitions.

Deputy County Counsel John Vacek, representing Yuba County in the 
hearing, called the ruling a win for the county.

"I think the law is pretty clear on this particular issue and that 
was my argument to Judge Wirtschafter," Vacek said. "The courts can't 
overturn a legislative action."

Joe Elford, attorney for Yuba Patients Coalition and the individual 
growers, decried the appellate court denial.

"It is shameful that the citizens of Yuba County have to fight so 
hard just to have their democratic beliefs heard," he said.

Elford could file an appeal with the state Supreme Court, though 
today is the deadline for which referendum petitions could be filed 
with election officials.

Though precluded from filing already-gathered referendum signatures, 
opponents still have the option of seeking a voter initiative. 
Instead of overturning the new law, an initiative would ask voters to 
approve a whole new ordinance.

The previous ordinance allowed 18 plants on an acre or less and as 
many as 99 on 20 acres or more. The new one allows no outdoor plants, 
12 inside a qualified accessory structure and none in residences.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom