Pubdate: Mon, 29 Jun 2015
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2015 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Ryan Olson, Chico Enterprise-Record


OROVILLE - As the first year of Measure A enters the summer, the 
number of cases involving Butte County's regulation of the size of 
medical marijuana grows has hit 512.

As of Monday, the vast majority of the cases, 402, pertain to the 
size of the cultivation area, according to development services 
director Tim Snellings. He told the Board of Supervisors during last 
week's meeting most of the cases involve growing areas considerably 
larger than the sizes set by the voter-approved measure.

Under Measure A, growing area dimensions in unincorporated Butte 
County are based on parcel size. Properties of a half-acre or less 
may have indoor growing areas of up to 120 square feet. Larger 
parcels may have indoor or outdoor grows, ranging from 50 square feet 
for properties less than 5 acres to 150 square feet for lots 10 acres 
or larger.

Thus far, 60 of the cases have resulted in citations, totalling 
$145,500 in fines. Officials have received $27,870.

There are 69 active cases and 73 cases pending review. More than 45 
percent of cases are monitored but were in compliance at last check.

Officials have closed 52 cases, which include properties that removed 
their gardens or didn't have one. Snellings said some of these cases 
are residents who grew last year, but didn't in 2015.

Currently officials are receiving 40 to 50 new cases each week. 
Snellings expected that rate to continue through September as plants 
grow taller and begin to emit a stronger scent.

In addition to garden sizes, Measure A also amended the county codes 
to include requirements for properties with grows, such as having an 
occupied residence, renters having permission from landowners and a 
permitted water source or connection.

The residency rules is the second highest type of Measure A case, 
with 63 cases. There have also been 11 cases for no permits, seven 
cases each for grows in public view and inadequate setbacks.

Snellings said nearly all growers checked have Proposition 215 
doctor's recommendations. There is only one case involving recommendations.

Several residents have written the Chico Enterprise-Record to 
complain officials are entering properties without warrants, checking 
for items beyond grows and issuing citations for unrelated items.

Snellings said officials on a property to check a growing area may 
issue citations if they see other code violations, including for 
illegal structures, unpermitted water supply and wastewater disposal. 
The Sheriff's Office may take over cases where alleged criminal 
activity is spotted.

Officials follow a specific process when investigating cases, 
according to Snellings. With a sheriff's deputy or District 
Attorney's Office investigator standing by, code enforcement 
officials will first go to the door and ask for entry. If the 
resident refuses, officials can see an inspection warrant.

After a resident is served with an inspection warrant, they often 
have up to 24 hours to grant entry.

Snellings said most of the residents grant entry without the warrant.

Only nine inspection warrants have been served, according to code 
enforcement supervisor Chris Jellison.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom