Pubdate: Sun, 05 Jul 2015
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2015 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Eric Vodden


 From Yuba County officials' perspective, there is a bit of a domino 
effect that comes into play when talking about regulating medical 
marijuana cultivation.

The notion is growers were pushed out of Butte County and into Yuba 
when the former enacted tighter growing regulations and when voters last year

"It was presented to people that it was all but legalized here (Yuba 
County)," said Supervisor John Nicoletti.

That has at least been partially borne out when growers at times went 
before the board last year, appealing fines and saying they weren't 
aware of county regulations.

Likewise in Nevada County, voters last November turned away Measure 
S, portrayed by opponents as a loosening of enforcement regulations. 
It followed a campaign that was "rife with controversy," the Union of 
Grass Valley reported.

It all goes to show Yuba County is hardly acting in a vacuum when it 
comes to challenges to its new, stricter marijuana cultivation ordinance.

In reality, Yuba County is just a piece of a confusing patchwork of 
different local ordinances in different communities, proposed state 
legislation and potential 2016 ballot measures.

Trying to keep track of it all requires constant vigilance and a 
mammoth spreadsheet.

Yuba's ordinance, being challenged in court, bans outdoor growing and 
limits indoor growing to a dozen plants in a qualified accessory 
structure. While there is no outright ban on dispensaries, there is 
also no planning designation through which to apply for one.

A Democratic legislator whose bill regulating medical marijuana was 
passed by the Assembly has referred to the numerous local debates as 
"the Wild West."

"I think we can all agree that stronger regulation is needed ... and 
is long overdue," said Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda.

There have been victories on both sides, though the recent tote board 
seems to favor tightening restrictions.

Still, Placer County supervisors, faced with standing-room-only 
crowds, recently backed off on banning grows. Tulare County 
supervisors also declined to impose a complete ban and decided to 
instead focus on enforcement of its existing law.

"A lot are holding back now," said Roger Morgan of the anti-medical 
marijuana organization Take Back America. "They are being told it 
will be legal anyway and have decided to wait and see what happens."

Officials for the pro-medical marijuana group California Norml could 
not be reached for this report.

Others have followed the example of Yuba County - or rather Yuba 
County has followed them.

Shasta County voters last year upheld a new ordinance under which 
much of Yuba's is based. Sacramento County also bans outdoor cultivation.

In Southern California, voters in Yucca Valley and Riverside recently 
rejected allowing marijuana dispensaries in their cities.

But, with all of the political fights in cities and counties, there 
is also proposed state legislation that would give the state more 
control over regulating medical marijuana. AB 266, already passed by 
the Assembly, would create an Office of Marijuana Regulation within 
the governor's office and increase state involvement when locals 
consider regulations.

Area Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Nicolaus, opposed the bill, 
saying it would diminish local control. He has said it would likely 
undergo revisions before being considered by the Senate.

"There is a role for the state to play, but my feeling is it creates 
an overreaching state bureaucracy that could usurp local control," 
Gallagher said earlier.

All of the local battles and the state legislation may end up being 
moot anyway if any of five proposed statewide measures or 
constitutional amendments make it to the 2016 ballot. Four would 
legalize marijuana statewide for recreational use, Morgan said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom