Pubdate: Thu, 19 Nov 2015
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2015 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Eric Vodden


Yuba County Supervisor Mary Jane Griego said this week the county may 
eventually revisit its marijuana growing regulations to address the 
needs of patients who legitimately need cannabis for medicinal reasons.

But the Olivehurst supervisor, who is chairwoman of the board, 
emphasized there is no going back to the ordinance in place before 
action last spring to dramatically tighten regulations.

"It's clear people don't want to follow the rules," Griego said 
during a presentation on cultivation statistics.

Griego said the number of "profiteers" that grew from the previous, 
less restrictive ordinance "is not acceptable." However, she also 
said there may be room for a review to make allowances to help those 
who legitimately use cannabis for medical reasons.

"I felt that we needed to get the (growing) season under our belt and 
then look at what we do now," Griego said.

Griego at the time the new ordinance was adopted noted it could be revisited.

Her comments Tuesday came as Jeremy Strang, the county's supervising 
code enforcement officer, presented enforcement statistics showing 
his department opened more than 350 marijuana cultivation cases from 
May through October. Enforcement of the new ordinance banning outdoor 
plants began in earnest in May.

Of 353 cases, all of which were generated by complaints, 203 of the 
complaints were legitimate, 81 were unfounded, and 75 were in areas 
not accessible to officers, according to the stats.

Marijuana plants totaling 9,556 were eradicated by code enforcement 
during the six-month period. That's in addition to more than 4,800 
plants seized this year by the Yuba County Sheriff's Department.

Yuba County's previous ordinance allowed 18 outdoor plants on an acre 
or less and as many as 99 on 20 acres or more. The new ordinance 
allows no outdoor growing, a dozen indoor plants in a qualified 
accessory structure and requires growers to register with the county.

The ordinance, and the way it has been enforced, has sparked 
signature-gathering for ballot initiatives, a recall effort and 
multiple lawsuits.

The most complaints were generally divided evenly from within the 
Linda (58), Olivehurst (59) and Yuba foothills (56) supervisors 
districts with 23 from the West Linda portion of the Marysville 
district and only eight in unincorporated areas outside Wheatland to 
the south. The ordinance doesn't affect Marysville and Wheatland.

There have already been a dozen appeals or cost accounting hearings 
heard before the Board of Supervisors with another 50 potential 
hearings in the pipeline.

Regardless of whether the board revisits the ordinance or not, Strang 
said he believes the need for enforcement won't go away. He noted in 
the stats there have only been two applications to register marijuana 
grows in the county and that none have been issued.

"I think there's a clear need for enforcement," he told the board. "I 
don't think that's going to go away.

"Arguably, Yuba County had the most generous ordinance in the state 
of California previous to this, and people didn't follow it."

Supervisor John Nicoletti noted the county has a "backlog of other 
needs" because of the emphasis it has needed to put on code enforcement.

The county hired two new code enforcement officers earlier this year 
- - bringing to three the number of field officers dedicated to 
responding to marijuana cultivation complaints.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom