Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jul 2015
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2015 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Andrew Creasey


As the dust surrounding Yuba County's controversial marijuana 
ordinance settles, it can be easy to forget Sutter County passed a 
similar ordinance late in 2013.

While it wasn't accompanied by prolonged public meetings filled with 
passionate public comment or recall notices of county supervisors, 
the ordinance did elicit concern from medical marijuana patients that 
the ordinance eliminated their ability to grow the medicine they 
claimed to need.

The ordinance prohibits marijuana cultivation within 2,000 feet of 
schools, churches, parks and child care centers and establishes 
setback requirements from property lines for crops to mitigate the 
plant's odor.

While the ordinance was welcomed by many residents who claim the 
plant increases crime and lowers their quality of life with its 
pervasive odor, it also had some medical marijuana users crying foul, 
saying the law impinges on their legal ability to treat a variety of 
aliments with the crop.

To address the concerns, Sutter County formed an ad hoc committee 
tasked with looking for ways to improve the ordinance.

After more than a year of meetings, Michael Clayton, a member of the 
committee and president of the Sutter County Medical Marijuana 
Grower's Association, will present those findings, along with 
recommedations for changes to the ordinance, to the Board of 
Supervisors. There is no set date for the presentation, although 
Clayton said it could be near the end of August.

While the recommended changes are not final, Clayton said, he will be 
recommending minor changes to the setback requirements and the 
no-grow zone within 2,000 feet of certain areas.

"The purpose of the ordinance was to eliminate the nuisance and 
crime, but it was not to discriminate against the medical marijuana 
patients to be able to provide medicine for themselves, which it 
does," Clayton said. "We're trying to set an ordinance that still 
allows patients to grow but reduces the nuisance factor and doesn't 
make it worthwhile for commercial growers."

Sutter County Development Services Director Danelle Stylos was also 
on the committee. Members of local law enforcement also attended the 
meetings at times, Clayton said.

Supervisor Jim Whiteaker was present at the latest meeting, also 
attended by County Administrator Jim Arkens, which determined Clayton 
would present the findings to the board.

Whiteaker said the presentation will be addressed as an information 
item, and the board can decide to give direction to change the 
ordinance if it desires.

"The ordinance seems to be working in favor of Sutter County," 
Whiteaker said. "If it needs some minor changes to make it better, 
I'm open to addressing those issues, as brought before the board."
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